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Brewster having stellar season

Heather VanHoegarden | Monday, November 3, 2003

She leads the nation in blocking, dominated the voting for Big East Player of the Week and leads the Irish in hitting percentage and points.

Middle blocker Lauren Brewster has been simply outstanding.

It all started over fall break when Brewster registered a double-double against the North Carolina Tar Heels, with a career high 20 kills and 10 blocks.

“I think that she just had a great match all the way around at North Carolina,” head coach Debbie Brown said.

Brewster carried the team over fall break, garnering Big East Player of the Week honors for the third time in four weeks. The week that Brewster did not receive the honor, the Irish were idle.

“It has been a real honor,” Brewster said. “If you look at the people in the Big East, there are a lot of talented girls. There are a lot of talented girls just on our team.”

Amongst the great talent of the Irish, Brewster has emerged as a young leader of sorts. Senior setter Kristen Kinder has not hesitated to set Brewster the ball when the Irish need a kill, and the rest of the team has elevated their play since Brewster has boosted the offense.

“There’s just something about it when you have someone who is playing at such a high level for a long time,” Brown said. “The confidence that it allows the rest of the team to have is huge.”

Brewster leads the nation with an average of 1.83 blocks per game, and leads the Irish with a .373 attack percentage. She also leads the Irish with an average of 4.93 points per game. Brewster is second on the team in kills per game, with 3.54, behind Emily Loomis’ 3.56 average.

However, for Brewster, her strong play is not about the numbers.

“I am having a lot more fun,” Brewster said. “Playing with the girls on the team is amazing and it’s so fun playing with them.”

Brewster is accustomed to success. At Brentwood High School in Tennessee, she was a four-time state champion in volleyball and was named MVP of the state tournament her junior and senior year. By the time she graduated, she had set Tennessee state records for kills in a season and kills in a career. Brewster earned all-state honors her last two seasons before coming to Notre Dame.

Last season, Brewster made an immediate impact as a true freshman, leading the Irish to the top blocking ranking in the country. She was named honorable mention all-Big East as a result of her efforts.

But this year, Brewster had no idea she would play this well.

“I’m not really sure what I thought coming into this season,” she said. “I was really unsure, so obviously this season has exceeded my expectations thus far.”

Brewster credits a new mentality for her recent successes.

“I just try to be more focused now,” Brewster said. “I set more goals for myself, just for motivation.”

Brown loves the fact that Brewster has been making the effort needed to get better.

“You see her getting better and better, and that’s nice,” Brown said.

But that’s not her favorite part about Brewster, who is only a sophomore.

“[Brewster’s age] is what is really nice,” Brown said with a smile.

But despite the awards and the praise, Brewster doesn’t dwell on her success – she just wants to play volleyball.

“I love it when someone on our team does something really, really well, and you look over and the whole team is really excited – the girls on the court, the girls on the bench,” Brewster said. “It’s just the best feeling in the world.”