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Volleyball: Win streak hits 11 with sweep

Heather VanHoegarden | Thursday, October 30, 2003

The middle blockers of the Irish cannot be stopped, as Illinois State found out Wednesday night at the Joyce Center. Sophomore middle blockers Lauren Brewster and Lauren Kelbley combined for five blocks and 22 kills en route to the 3-0 Irish sweep of the Redbirds (30-23, 30-18, 30-20).

The Redbirds (11-13) lost to the Irish for the fifth straight year, as they hit -.008 on the match, largely due to the dominating Irish blockers, who finished with 16.5 team blocks to the Redbirds’ five.

“I think we were confident [coming into today’s game],” coach Deb Brown said. “I think that we feel like we knew that if we played well, we were capable of winning in three [games].”

Brewster led the Irish with her impressive .524 hitting percentage, as she had 11 kills in 21 attempts with no errors. She ended game three, and the match, with her strong serving (17 points on the match). Meanwhile, Kelbley hit a strong .444 with her 11 kills. Jessica Kinder also added nine kills to round out the offense.

However, this was after a horrendous first game, in which the Irish ended with a .044 hitting percentage.

“I just think that our set location wasn’t as good as it could have been and it got much better in games two and three,” Brown said.

The Irish didn’t come to play in game one, making it easy on the Redbirds, as the Irish made mistakes on their side of the net. However, Illinois State didn’t do much better, as they hit a meager -.130 in the first game.

“I think it was more unforced errors than anything,” Brown said. “But it was certainly uncharacteristic of this team and not the way we wanted to start game one.”

Game two saw the Irish begin to play their game, as setter Kristen Kinder led her offense to a stellar .531 hitting percentage. The Irish closed the match hitting a respectable .333 in game three. Kinder finished with 29 assists on the match to go along with her 12 digs.

“I was pretty pleased with game two, and game three I thought we could have played better,” Brown said.

Defensively, Meg Henican once again led the Irish, as the libero registered 17 digs.

In the end, the Irish got the job done, as they increased their win streak to 11 games, and they look forward to Syracuse on Sunday, when they resume Big East play.

“I don’t want to sound like the coach who’s never pleased, but we need to be better,” Brown said. “We are preparing to play at a higher level – to play in the NCAA tournament. What we’re looking for is more consistent play from the beginning to the end of the match.”