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Volleyball: Potent Irish offense awaits visiting teams

Heather VanHoegarden | Friday, October 10, 2003

Domination has been key for the Irish of late.

Last weekend’s Big East play saw the Irish cruise on the East Coast, defeating St. John’s and Connecticut.

“Our passing was very good,” senior Kim Fletcher said. “Offensively, we’re always a good team and when the passing is there, we just dominate.”

Dominate they did, as the Irish (12-2, 4-0 in the Big East) out hit St. John’s .369 to .236 Saturday, and they out hit Connecticut .244 to .129 Sunday.

Lauren Brewster led the hitters with 24 kills on .457 hitting to go along with 15 blocks on the weekend. Brewster’s efforts garnered her the Big East Co-Player of the week. She was the fourth Notre Dame winner in the six weeks of this season’s awards.

Brewster stepped it up Sunday, matching a career high with 17 kills on .596 hitting percentage.

She made just one error in 27 attempts, along with her eight blocks. Brewster ranks sixth in the nation in blocks per game, with 1.61. As a team, the Irish are ranked second, with a team average of 3.44.

But there is no time to dwell on the wins for the Irish.

“We work hard every week in practice,” Fletcher said. “This weekend is going to be a big one.”

This weekend finds the Irish in the Joyce Center tonight against Seton Hall (14-6, 0-3) and Sunday afternoon against Rutgers (7-10, 1-2). Both teams would love a win over Notre Dame.

In fact, one Seton Hall player has the single goal of beating the Irish before she graduates.

“They’re going to come out ready to play,” Fletcher said. “Seton Hall always comes out strong when they play us.”

The Irish will counter with some firepower of their own. Emily Loomis has hit double digit kills in the last 20 consecutive matches.

Also leading the offense is senior setter Kristen Kinder. Kinder has taken over the setting duties after the Irish switched their rotation to the 5-1.

“It’s always hard when there’s two setters to adjust to having different setters, and for the setters to adjust to having different hitters,” Fletcher said.

The Irish have really caught fire with the new offense.

Lauren Kelbley had 15 kills and was in on five blocks for the Irish against Connecticut. Against Rutgers she had 11 kills on .429 hitting percentage.

“When we have good passing, it’s easier to get the offense going,” Fletcher said.

For the Irish, winning the Big East is just another step in the right direction.

“Our goal is to win the Big East and with the Big East Tournament because that gets us a NCAA bid,” Fletcher said.

With their 4-0 record in Big East play, the Irish are on the right track, but still have a long road ahead.