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Big East home win streak at 51

Heather VanHoegarden | Monday, September 29, 2003

Not only did the Irish dominate the competition this weekend at the Joyce Center, but they also had fun while doing it, as they extended their home winning streak in Big East play to 51 games.

“When we have fun, we play great,” sophomore middle blocker Lauren Kelbley said.

Kelbley led the Irish attack over Georgetown (4-11, 0-2) Sunday, hitting a scorching .706 en route to 12 kills with no errors. The 17th ranked Irish (10-2, 2-0) dominated the whole way, winning in three games (30-20, 30-23, 30-14).

“We came out with great confidence, and our passing was right on,” Kelbley said. “This left every option open on every play.”

The 16-point margin of victory in the third game was the biggest of the season for the Irish.

Libero Meg Henican led the Irish defensive corps with 12 digs. Henican has had nine or more digs in every match of 2003.

Meanwhile, senior Jessica Kinder added nine digs, contributing to the Hoyas’ abysmal .079 hitting percentage.

“We played well this season, but we still hadn’t had a really, really great match, and tonight I felt we played all-around great,” Kelbley said.

Sophomore Lauren Brewster added to the well-balanced attack, with 16 kills on .464 hitting, to go along with 21 points and a career high three aces.

As a team, the Irish hit .405 with 40 kills on 79 attempts, while the Hoyas had 33 kills on 119 attempts.

Senior setter Kristen Kinder dished out 39 assists to go along with four kills and 10 digs.

“Our setter could take the ball pretty much anywhere she wanted to, and this kept the blockers on the other side of the net on their toes,” Kelbley said.

Friday night, the Irish opened Big East play against Villanova (3-10, 0-1). The Wildcats took the first game, but the Irish took the next and never looked back, as they won 3-1 (33-35, 30-16, 30-26, 30-15).

Emily Loomis was the story of the night for the Irish, as she led the team in virtually every category.

The Irish played a 5-1 rotation for the first time this year, and Loomis played back row. The results were stellar, as she registered 17 kills, a .435 hitting percentage, 23.5 service points, and 11 digs. Loomis also bested a career high with three aces.

Setter Kristen Kinder dished out 51 assists in her expanded role as the only setter.

Meanwhile, senior Kim Fletcher made the most of her second start of the season, slamming 11 kills and registering three aces with a career high 13 points.

Blocking was the key to the match for the Irish, as they registered 20 as a team.

Kelbley was in on nine of them, and Loomis took part in seven. Kelbley also hit .345, good for 14 kills.

Every player saw action for the Irish, who are favored to win the Big East this season.

“We just have to go out there with the mindset that were going to have fun and dominate the team were playing,” Kelbley said.