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ND VOLLEYBALL: Irish dominate, sweep visiting Seton Hall, 3-0

Tom Dorwart | Monday, September 26, 2005

After a one-week layoff, the Irish (8-1, 1-0 Big East) showed no signs of rustiness in their Big East opener against Seton Hall Sunday afternoon – which they won rather quickly.

“We played a great first game,” coach Debbie Brown said. “We played very aggressively. It was a good effort all around.

“Our hitting percentage was above .300, and overall, we [played with] great intensity.” The Irish swept the Pirates in what was a clinic of an offensive performance.

Notre Dame jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, winning the first game, 30-12.

During the next two games, the Irish energy level might have dropped a little, but their level of play hardly fell. They won 30-23, 30-26.

“We came out really strong,” senior Lauren Brewster said. “Everyone got to play; everyone got in at least one game.”

Brown was pleased to get everyone some playing time in the same match – for the first time this season.

“All 13 on our roster played,” she said.

Some of the seldom-used players who saw action included freshmen Justine Stremick – who had two quick blocks when she entered the first game – and fellow freshman Annie Mokris.

Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis got the offense rolling. She led the Irish to a .319 match hitting percentage and their 11th consecutive Big East opener victory.

In addition to the solid hitting percentage, Tarutis had 40 set assists and 10 digs for her 19th career double-double and seventh in the first nine matches.

Notre Dame finished with an astounding 48 kills. Brewster bolstered that category with 14. She also hit for a match-high .448 percentage.

Often overshadowed by her All-American teammate, senior Lauren Kelbley – a pre-season All-Big East pick – once again played like a top player in a major conference. She pounded 13 kills.

Sophomore Adrianna Stasiuk and freshman Mallorie Croal both hit for .417 hitting percentages.

While the offense steamrolled, the defense overpowered.

In total, the Irish defense had 65 digs. Senior Meg Henican led the Irish with 17 digs, and Stasiuk notched five blocks and 13 digs.

A respectable crowd of 1,411 watched the Irish dominate.

“It was good-sized,” Brewster said. “We really appreciate it.”

Fans are starting to pick up on the Irish and their winning ways.

After one of the best nine-match starts in school-history, Notre Dame is gaining fans, recognition and depth.