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Phillips leads Irish to win

Ellyn Michalak | Monday, September 17, 2007

Although the Irish lost more than they won this weekend at the Bronco Invitational in Santa Clara, Calif., they still accomplished one of their major goals.

“Hopefully we can pull off a couple of upsets this weekend,” senior captain Adrianna Stasiuk said Friday.

The Irish won their first match of the tournament Sunday, upsetting No. 22 Santa Clara 3-2 (30-19, 15-30, 28-30, 31-29, 15-11). The Irish were led by sophomore outside hitter Serinity Phillips and freshman middle blocker Kellie Sciacca. Phillips led the team with 18 kills, while Sciacca had 16 of her own and a .625 kill percentage. The duo had nine and six digs, respectively.

The Broncos star player, Krista Kelley, had 25 kills, but the Irish worked together as a team and played solid defense that allowed them to win the close match. The Broncos went 0-3 while hosting the tournament.

“We showed a tremendous amount of heart today,” Irish coach Debbie Brown told und.com. “It really was a total team effort. We played a lot of different people and went with several different lineups. Everyone was called upon to step their game up, and they did so at different points throughout the match.”

The Irish began the weekend Friday afternoon when they battled and lost 3-1 (30-22, 27-30, 30-28, 30-22) to UC Santa Barbara. The team won the first game and although Stasiuk matched her season best record with 14 kills and 21 digs, the Irish were unable to hold off the offensive attacks of the Gauchos.

Santa Barbara’s Lauren McLaughlin and Rebecca Saraceno had 21 and 17 kills, respectively. The Gauchos finished the tournament with wins over both Santa Clara and the Irish.

The Irish fought through five games and eventually lost in a close match to No. 11 California to start the tournament Saturday. Despite dominating the first two games, the Irish fell 3-2 (23-30, 24-30, 30-28, 30-24, 15-11) to the Golden Bears. The Irish offense was led by Phillips and Stasiuk, who each had 13 kills, while junior Justine Stremick and sophomore Megan Fesl each earned 12.

“This tournament was a good experience for us,” Brown told und.com. “We were pushed in every match that we played, and each one made us a better team. After starting out 0-2, you need to have strong character and a strong will to come out and get it done, and that’s what we were able to do.”

The Irish will begin their conference season play with a 4-6 record when they travel to Pittsburgh next weekend. Last season the Irish fell 3-1 to the Panthers. The Panthers hold an overall season record of 5-5.