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ND Volleyball: Hoyas give ND chance to end losing streak

Pat O'Brien and Ellyn Michalak | Friday, November 2, 2007

There is no better time than right now for Notre Dame to play Georgetown. Notre Dame will try to halt a three-game skid it suffered over fall break, when it lost contests at LSU, Connecticut and No. 22 St. John’s.

The Irish (9-12, 5-5 Big East) dropped the Hoyas (5-21, 1-9) last season by a 3-0 margin, and this season, Georgetown has lost 12 of its last 13 contests.

“We have had a really good week of practice and all we can do is look ahead,” sophomore setter Jamel Nicholas said.

Notre Dame is headed by senior captain Adrianna Stasiuk, who has recorded a team-best 291 digs this season and remains second with 265 kills. Stasiuk said the Irish still have a lot to work on before they play Georgetown.

“We need to learn how to play consistently throughout an entire match, and our defense needs to improve,” Stasiuk said.

Sophomore outside hitter Serinity Phillips leads the Irish with 283 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Megan Fesl, junior middle blocker Justine Stremick and freshman middle blocker Kellie Sciacca all have reached the 200-kill plateau this year.

Senior setter Ashley Tarutis has also been crucial to this Irish squad this year. She leads the team with 822 assists and places second in digs with 197.

Even though the season hasn’t gone as well as they hoped, Stasiuk said, the Irish are still determined to work hard.

“Against Georgetown, we hope to show resilience and play great even though our record would suggest otherwise,” Stasiuk said. “We are definitely not ready to quit.”

Georgetown is led by the triple-headed attack of sophomore right side hitter Dana Dumas, sophomore outside hitter Jessica Hardy, and sophomore outside hitter Kortney Robinson. The three sophomores have combined for 664 kills and 628 digs.

Notre Dame continues its home weekend schedule with a match on Sunday against South Florida. The Irish dropped the Bulls by a score of 3-0 last year. This season, South Florida has won three of its last four matches.

South Florida (15-7, 6-4) is led on the attack by sophomore outside hitter Marcela Gurgel and senior middle blocker Kristina Fabris. Gurgel has notched 357 kills while Fabris has 305. Gurgel also has recorded 57 service aces.

Nicholas said that staying perfect the rest of the season has kept the team motivated.

“I think winning out [the last four Big East games] is a big goal that we have,” Nicholas said. “It would give our team more confidence – just to know that we ended on a good note playing the best that we can.”