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ND VOLLEYBALL: Rutgers, Georgetown finish up regular slate

Tom Dorwart | Monday, November 14, 2005

The Irish clinched it.

Saturday, No. 8 Notre Dame (24-2, 13-1 Big East) downed Villanova 30-13, 30-25, 30-23, and Sunday, the Irish swept Rutgers 30-23, 30-19, 30-27 to finish the regular season 13-1 in the Big East Conference in a tie with Louisville, a team the Irish beat in four games a little over two weeks ago.

This earns the Irish the No. 1 seed for this weekend’s Big East tournament.

“There’s definitely no time to celebrate because we’re really not satisfied at all,” sophomore outside hitter Adrianna Stasiuk said. “We’re just hungry to keep doing well and keep working hard.”

Still, the Irish say they aren’t pleased they have to be considered, technically, co-champions.

“It’s more motivation,” Stasiuk said. “We don’t want to share the title. It just fires us up to be first and beat Louisville again.”

Against Rutgers, Notre Dame tallied 48 kills. Senior Lauren Kelbley and Stasiuk led the way with 10 apiece. Senior Lauren Brewster added nine, while freshman Mallorie Croal spiked eight.

On the defensive side, senior Carolyn Cooper had four blocks – one solo and three assisted. Stasiuk had four blocks – two solo and two assisted – while Brewster added two.

Rutgers, which was playing for a spot in the conference tournament, needed a win and a Villanova loss to qualify. The Scarlet Knights fell to 11-16 overall and 6-8 in the conference.

Saturday, Villanova fell to 20-10 overall and 7-6 in the conference.

Kelbley led the Irish again with 13 kills, while Brewster and Cooper each pounded 10. Stasiuk added seven.

As usual, sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis paced the offensive attack with 46 set assists.

After a win Sunday at DePaul, the Wildcats (21-10, 8-6 Big East) earned the No. 8 seed in the tournament.

Notre Dame will face Villanova in the first round of the conference tournament this Friday in Louisville.

After playing the Wildcats and sweeping them Saturday, the Irish consider it a positive to be playing them again so soon.

“I think it is [good] because you’re familiar with the team,” Stasiuk said. “They’re pretty fresh in your minds. I think we felt good on the court playing them, and we’re confident that we can play well and [win] again on Friday.”

It’s back to practice today as the Irish are determined not to slip up, saying they are determined to win the conference title outright.

Since losing their first and only conference match of the season a little over a week ago at Pittsburgh, the Irish have won two straight.

Friday, they hope to keep their streak going in a tournament in which they’ve had great success – Notre Dame has won the conference tournament eight of the past 10 years.