Nov. 23, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Notre Dame volleyball team secured its 21st consecutive winning season under head coach Debbie Brown with a 3-1 (30-21, 30-20, 23-30, 30-19) win at the Stokely Center against Tennessee on Friday.
Sixteen kills from senior Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South) and junior Justine Stremick (Langdon, N.D./Langdon Area) paced an Irish (15-13) offensive attack that posted a .316 hitting average.
The win over the Lady Volunteers (11-18) was the first ever for Notre Dame. Notre Dame dropped the inaugural match between the two programs during the Irish Thanksgiving Invitational in 2005. The visitors close the regular season with a 2-2 mark against Southeastern Conference teams after taking a contest from Alabama earlier this season.
Notre Dame also wraps up the 2007 campaign with five consecutive regular-season wins.
Sophomores Serinity Phillips (Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center) and Megan Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) also recorded double-digit kills with 10 and 14, respectively. Fifty-six of the team's 67 assists were handed out by senior Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos), who also finished with two aces and four kills.
Tarutis (13), Stasiuk (12), and freshman Angela Puente (11) (Redondo Beach, Calif./Bishop Montgomery) paced the team in digs.
A match-high seven blocks came from Stremick. Phillips and freshman Kellie Sciacca (Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer) each totaled five stops.
The first three points of the opening game went Notre Dame's way. Stremick converted on a floater to the weak side of the floor (7-3) and Fesl caressed a shot off one foot to put the Irish in the black by five (12-7). Off the quick set from Tarutis, Sciacca scored (15-9) and then Puente got in on the action when her dig bounded over the net and fell for the 16th point of the game. The lead expanded to eight with a bullet from Stasiuk (28-20) and her attack from the right side was good for the game's final point.
Stremick had five kills on six attempts to lead all scorers in the frame.
Tarutis started the second game with a dump in the hole and followed with a pair of aces. The Irish would tack on three more aces before winning the frame, with one from Phillips and a pair by Fesl. Sophomore Kim Kristoff (Carmel, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit) came through with a gritty, diving dish which Fesl turned into a kill at 24-15. The last two Irish kills were by Stremick which brought her two-game total to eight. Notre Dame posted a .459 hitting percentage in the frame.
The Lady Vols came out of the break and took a 5-2 advantage, though Notre Dame was able to tie things at 6-6. Once again, UT ran ahead to a 12-8 lead but Sciacca's kill on the loop (13-10) and a Lady Vol hitting error brought the Irish within a deuce (13-11). Four unmatched scores by Tennessee (17-11) gave them a lead they would hold on to until the end. They led by as many as ten (28-18).
Notre Dame struck gold in the fourth and final game with a .324 hitting percentage, 18 kills, and 7.0 blocks.
Fesl had a quartet of kills midway through the stage to help the Irish construct a 13-5 lead. A diving save by Stasiuk on the Lady Vol tip kept the play alive long enough for her to convert her 14th kill of the match (18-11). On the next play, she braced with Stremick for the block (19-11). Stasiuk pulled a reverse bump out of her back pocket that landed inside the line (27-17) for one of the more entertaining scores of the season.