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ND VOLLEYBALL: Irish sweep Hoyas, extend winning streak to 11

Tom Dorwart | Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Notre Dame is a streaky team – in a good way.

On a day of many streaks, the Irish kept perhaps their most important one going – their 11-match winning-streak.

Sunday afternoon, No. 9 Notre Dame (18-1, 8-0 Big East) swept Georgetown (6-15, 2-7 Big East) 30-12, 30-22, 30-20 in the 300th match at the Joyce Center. Other notable streaks include Notre Dame’s 77-match winning-streak at the Joyce Center against conference opponents and its 15 consecutive seasons with a winning home record.

“We are playing really well right now,” coach Debbie Brown said. “It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve played at a high level.”

Against the Hoyas, the Irish offense continued to click. Three players finished with double-digit kills – seniors Lauren Kelbley (10) and Lauren Brewster (10) and sophomore Adrianna Stasiuk (14).

The defense did its part, as well.

Sophomore Ashley Tarutis finished with 10 digs. Stasiuk added 10. Junior Danielle Herndon dug 12 and senior Meg Henican notched 15.

“I think that our offense has been really, really good,” she said. “Our defense has been really, really good. It hasn’t really mattered who’s on the other side of the net, the face that we’re continuing to play at a high level is really important to us.”

Over fall break, the Irish also swept DePaul and South Florida and beat non-conference foe Illinois State 3-1. The wins set up a showdown with No. 6 Louisville (20-0, 8-0 Big East) Saturday at the Joyce Center.

Brown says her team needs no added incentive in Saturday’s match for the Big East driver’s seat. While her team has prepared well for every opponent, she’s glad the “big one” is finally here.

“The team will be motivated for sure,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anything we need to do. There’s going to be plenty of motivation. We know what’s at stake. It’s going to be great.

“I’m glad it’s finally here, and we can talk about it and prepare for it.”

She and the Irish will have plenty of time to prepare. Their match against the undefeated Cardinals is their next one. They’ll have the entire week to practice and break down film.

“Well, we’ll have tape of them on Tuesday,” Brown said. “We actually have a TV match that they played a week or so ago that we have not looked at yet, so now’s the time to start planning and see what to adjust, to work on whatever their strengths or weaknesses are that we feel like we can take advantage of.”

Though her team is on a long winning-streak, she is wary of the streaking Cardinals. And she certainly knows the Cardinals’ streak is longer.

“There’s plenty to work on,” she said. “We know we’re going to have to have a good game-plan against their offense and against their star player, who’s just been playing very, very well.

“[6-3 Outside hitter] Lena Ustymenko – she’s very, very good,” Brown said. “I think that’s going to be key for us. We’re going to have to neutralize her for sure, but they have other weapons as well. It will be fun to look at some tape and then come up with a plan and be able to just get out and play again against a very, very good team.”

Last season, the Irish won both the Big East regular season and conference tournament championships. The Irish have won the Big East regular season title nine of the past 10 years and the tournament title eight of the past 10 years.

So, all other streaks aside, an Irish win Saturday would keep much more than just their winning streak in tact. It would sustain their lengthy Big East championship streak.