Oct. 30, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The seventh-ranked University of Notre Dame women's volleyball team (20-1, 10-0 BIG EAST) kept rolling with a 30-24, 30-27, 30-27 victory over Cincinnati (16-8, 7-3) Sunday afternoon in the Joyce Center. The Irish have now won 13 in a row and stand alone atop the conference standings. Notre Dame will conclude a five-match homestand on Wednesday, when it plays host to Saint Louis at 7 p.m. (EST) in a non-conference match. The Irish will be looking to become the first team in program history to begin the season with 21 victories in the first 22 matches.
One day after prevailing in four games over #6 Louisville in one of the biggest showdowns in Irish volleyball history, Notre Dame avoided a letdown on Sunday by once again coming through at the ends of games. The Irish finished game one on an 8-2 run, won four of the last six points in game two, and did not allow the Bearcats to get closer than two points in the third game en route to victory.
Notre Dame figures to earn its highest-ever ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll when it is released on Monday. The Irish have never been higher than seventh, which they had also been for one week in 1996.
Senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) and sophomore OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) paced the Irish offense with 13 kills apiece. It was the second-highest output of Heintzman's career, while Kelbley turned in a team-best .357 hitting mark. Both ended with 15 points.
Senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) both added nine kills while senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) posted five.
A strong defensive performance from the Irish - who finished with 13 blocks (4.33 per game) and 57 digs (19.00) - held Cincinnati to a .174 attack percentage. Brewster - the BIG EAST leader in the category and the 2003 NCAA champ - led the way by taking part in eight blocks, including a pair of solos. Cooper had five block assists, and Stasiuk notched four. Heintzman and sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) finished with three each.
Senior co-captain and libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) had a dozen digs and shared team honors with junior DS Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.). Stasiuk just missed her eighth double-double of the season, adding nine digs to her nine kills, while Tarutis had eight kills and Cooper posted six, matching her second-best output of the season. Senior DS/S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School) tied her season-best total with five digs.
Notre Dame also continued to excel at the service line, finishing with seven aces and just three errors. It was the eighth time this season the Irish have had more aces than errors. Kelbley, Cooper, and Henican all had a pair of aces, and Stasiuk added one.
Tarutis had 43 assist and a kill, while leading her offense to a .206 hitting mark.
The Irish have won all four all-time meetings with Cincinnati.
Sunday marked the first time that a volleyball match was televised live from the Joyce Center, as well as ND volleyball's debut on ESPNU. The match will be replayed on Tuesday at 7 a.m. (ET) and on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ESPNU is channel 609 on DirecTV and channel 148 on Dish Network.
The Irish won the first four points of the match and led the entire way in the opening game. Notre Dame went up by as many as seven (17-10), but Cincinnati rallied to tie the score for the first time at 22-22. Notre Dame responded by using Cooper's serve to win seven consecutive points to put the game away. The Irish had 21 digs in the game and held Cincinnati to 13 kills and 10 errors (.065 hitting).
Game two was tight, featuring 14 ties and five early lead changes. Notre Dame edged ahead at 24-23 with an ace by Henican and would not relinquish that advantage.
The Irish took the lead in the third game for good at 7-6 and held on the rest of the way. In the third game, A Heintzman kill finally ended the affair.
Cincinnati (16-8, 7-3) 24-27-27 #7 Notre Dame (20-1, 10-0) 30-30-30
Kills: UC 48 (Pongonis & Maldo 16), ND 51 (Heintzman & Kelbley 13) Attack Percentage: UC .174 (Maldo .359), ND .206 (Kelbley .357) Assists: UC 45 (Olson 43), ND 48 (Tarutis 43) Service Aces-Errors: UC 3-6 (Custer 2), ND 7-3 (three players, 2) Digs: UC 46 (Zenz 13), ND 57 (Herndon & Henican 12) Blocks: UC 14 (Nevitt 7), ND 13 (Brewster 8) Points: UC 65 (Maldo 20), ND 71 (Heintzman & Kelbley 15) Attendance: 976