Nov. 2, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The fifth-ranked University of Notre Dame women's volleyball team defeated Saint Louis University (13-13) 30-13, 30-23, 30-23 Wednesday evening in the Joyce Center to become the first squad in program history to open the season 21-1. Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) led the Irish - already sporting their highest-ever ranking in the AVCA poll - to a .417 attack percentage, including .410+ in every game. ND has won 14 consecutive matches, the second-longest winning streak in program history.
Tarutis' offense finished with its third-highest hitting mark of the season, and she registered 48 assists, a career high for a three-game affair. The Irish posted 54 kills - one shy of ND's season best for a three-game match - and made 11 errors on 103 attempts. Senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) led all players with 14 kills on 23 attempts for a .565 hitting mark. Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) added 13 kills, extending her streak of consecutive matches with nine or more kills to 12.
Senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and sophomore OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) had nine each. The younger player took just 15 swings for a .467 hitting mark, while Brewster hit .444 and has now had nine or more kills in 11 straight contests. Heintzman hit over .400 for the fourth time in the last seven matches. Senior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) turned in the top attack percentage of her career, converting 11 errorless attempts for a .727 hitting mark. It was the highest attack percentage for any Irish player with five or more kills since Kristy Kreher had 13 kills and no errors on 17 attempts for a .765 mark on Nov. 4, 2001.
The Irish had 14 kills on .417 hitting in game one and then posted 20 kills apiece in the final two games. Notre Dame hit .410 in the second game and .425 in the third and made no more than four errors in any of them.
Defensively, ND used 42 digs and 10 blocks to hold Saint Louis to .188 hitting. Senior co-captain and libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) led all players with 14 digs, while junior DS Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) added seven and senior DS/S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School) turned in a season-high six.
Seven of Notre Dame's 10 blocks were of the solo variety. Brewster - the BIG EAST leader in the category and the 2003 NCAA champ - led all players with four blocks, while Stasiuk took part in four. Both had a pair of solo blocks.
ND also continued to serve well, posting more aces than errors for the third consecutive match. The Irish had three aces - one each from Kelbley, Tarutis, and Cooper - and made only two service errors.
Notre Dame now leads the all-time series with the Billikens 8-4.
The Irish will return to action this weekend, playing at West Virginia on Saturday at 2 p.m. (EST) and at Pittsburgh on Sunday at the same time. Notre Dame is the only team undefeated in BIG EAST Conference play.
Saint Louis (13-12) 13-23-23 #5 Notre Dame (21-1) 30-30-30