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Irish sweep the Orange in 3 sets

Mike Gilloon | Monday, October 4, 2004

Sometimes small changes produce big differences. This held true for the Irish this weekend as Carolyn Cooper made her first start of the year and helped the Notre Dame volleyball team sweep Syracuse 30-23, 30-24, 30-17 on Saturday in Manley Field House.Irish coach Debbie Brown decided to put Cooper in at middle blocker in place of Emily Loomis, who moved to the outside hitter spot where she had played for the previous two seasons. Meg Henican, who had started at outside hitter against Michigan, was placed back in her normal libero position. The roster shakeup helped the Irish win their Big East opener for the tenth consecutive season while sparking Notre Dame to its best defensive performance of the season. The Irish came up with a season-high 16 blocks, seven of which came from the front row combination of Cooper and Lauren Brewster, despite only playing a three-game match. Adrianna Stasiuk added a season-high five blocks while Loomis had four. Syracuse as a team was only able to tally seven. Another bright spot for the Irish was the fact that they did not allow a service ace by Syracuse while notching six for themselves. Henican had a lot to do with that as she led the Irish for the tenth time this year in digs, notching 16, while Stasiuk chipped in 12.Notre Dame played steadily against a mistake-prone Orange team. The Irish jumped out to a lead of 5-1 in the first game and held Syracuse to a .017 hitting percentage for the match while hitting .198 themselves. An error by Syracuse, one of 33 on the day for the Orange, ended the first game in favor of the Irish. After shooting out to a 12-4 lead in game two, the Irish witnessed a Syracuse rally that scraped the Irish lead down to 16-15. The Orange offensive surge was headed by Morgan Jones, who hit .400 for the match to go along with seven kills. Erin McQuillin hit .300 with five kills while Joscie Kaup recorded 11 digs to keep the Irish offense in check. But five kills by Brewster in the frame delivered game two to Notre Dame. The third game was tight as the teams were knotted at 10-10 early on. But the Irish pulled away with a 9-0 run to seal the victory. Notre Dame will return to the court next weekend with Big East road matches with Rutgers and Seton Hall.