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Loomis, Brewster dominate middle

Anne Loughery | Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Just for the record, they’re winners – not wishers.

For junior Lauren Brewster and senior Emily Loomis, there are no what-ifs or should-have-been’s.

The two middle blockers aren’t ones to talk up their game; their achievements speak volumes.

Coach Debbie Brown said both Brewster and Loomis are two of the leading blockers on the team.

Last year, Brewster’s 1.78 block average earned her the NCAA blocking title.

An All-American, Brewster’s blocking average was a mere .01 off the school record.

She led the Irish in kills (372/3.58) and was runner-up in service aces (27/0.26).

Loomis shined as well last season, though she made her contributions as an outside hitter.

Brown decided to move the senior to the middle hitter position, describing Loomis as one of the team’s strongest blockers.

Loomis, also an All-American, led the Irish in kills (387/3.55) and was second in points (472.5/4.33).

Further, last season, she shattered two school records – consecutive matches with 10 or more kills and most kills in a match without an error.

“The statistical impact they made on the team last year was huge,” Brown said.

Together, the duo makes for an intimidating tag-team.

“Other teams know they’re good blockers and that’s especially intimidating for opponent hitters,” Brown said. “The hitters have to try something different because they don’t want to be blocked and commit errors.”

At practice, the two have been honing their skills through scrimmages on opposite sides of the net.

The duo view practice as a time to challenge the other, and to learn from each others’ strengths and weaknesses.

“[Brewster] is such a big presence in the front row. We almost take her for granted. You really notice the difference when she’s not playing,” Loomis said. “Every day I play her in practice, I know I’m playing the best.”

Both Brewster and Loomis are quick to credit their teammates for the team’s success and seem almost uncomfortable with the praise they garner.

“Our outside hitters do such a great job of setting the block up. It’s really a combined effort at the net. Because the setters do such a great job with ball placement, we can do our job,” Brewster said.

The combined Irish efforts at the net in conjunction with a solid back row are what Brown believes will put the Irish among the top teams in the country.

She looks to Brewster and Loomis to lead the charge.

“This year, I’m hoping they can dominate at the net, and I think they can,” she said “They both hit and block effectively and their presence at the net will be hard for their opponents to adjust for.”