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Eagles take conference win

Anne Loughery | Monday, November 8, 2004

This weekend’s Big East conference matches proved to be bittersweet for Notre Dame.

The Irish (14-7, 7-1) registered a key conference win against Connecticut on Friday 3-1, but fell to Boston College 0-3 in a heartbreaking loss on Sunday.

“It was a huge letdown for us, losing to [Boston College],” Irish coach Debbie Brown said. “There wasn’t any aspect of the game we did well in.”

In contrast to Sunday’s Boston College match, Friday’s home crowd saw a team poised for victory take the courts against Connecticut (16-8, 5-2). The Irish dominated the net with a .345 hitting percentage.

Ashley Tarutis totaled 44 assists, five kills, and racked up a .714 hitting percentage. But Tarutis’s contributions were not limited to offensive plays. The freshman also chipped in 11 digs for her seventh double-double.

Juniors Lauren Kelbley and Lauren Brewster, freshman Adrianna Stasiuk, and senior Emily Loomis each finished with more than 10 kills to lead the Irish offensive effort. Kelbley had a match-high 16 kills on .387 hitting although she sat out the first 30 points of the third game when Notre Dame’s advantage in the matchup was apparent.

The team’s defense kept Connecticut in check, limiting their opponents .162 on attack percentage. Stasiuk added a season-best 18 digs, while junior captain Meg Henican finished with 17. Sophomore Danielle Herndon and Brewster also notched nine digs each.

On defense, the Irish finished with 12 blocks for the match. Brewster recorded two solo blocks and three block assists. Kelbley excelled defensively as well, recording a match-high 20 points, two solo blocks and two block assists. Cooper and Stasiuk added three blocks each.

Connecticut kept the first two games competitive, but Notre Dame quickly regained control of the matches. In the first game, the Irish hit .375 and finished the game with a 10-point margin on their opponents for a 30-20 win. In the second game, the Irish built on a 20-7 en route to a 30-15 win in which the team had 16 kills on .419 hitting.

Connecticut saw their first and only win of the matchup, leading throughout the match and finishing eight points ahead of the Irish 22-30. The Husky defense held the Irish to .135 on hitting, notching 25 digs and five blocks. Offensively, the team hit for more than .400 throughout the game and had 18 kills on .326 hitting.

The Irish maintained the lead for much of the fourth game, securing the 30-20 win and were 21 kills on .347 on hitting.

However, Sunday’s game against Boston College (18-11, 4-4) featured an unsteady Irish team, which hit .080 on the match. Prior to the match, the Irish were 58-0 in Big East play at home since 1995. Boston College hit .305 on attacks, making only 10 attack errors.

The loss put the Irish in a three-way tie in Big East Conference standings with Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

Ellen Heintzman stepped in for the injured Kelbley at outside hitter, garnering a team-high 11 kills. Brown had only words of praise for the freshman.

“She took some good swings,” Brown said. “She did the job we needed her to do. We just didn’t have enough support around her.”

Brewster matched Heintzman’s efforts with 11 kills and junior Carolyn Cooper led the team on hitting with .211 and seven kills.

Defensively, Henican led the team with 15 digs, followed by Stasiuk with 12 and Tarutis with 10. Brewster led the team in blocks with four.

Boston College built off of an early 12-4 lead for the win the first game 30-14, collecting 14 kills and a .464 attack percentage. During the second game, Boston College capitalized on its strong blocking game, causing nine of Notre Dame’s 11 hitting errors.

The Irish returned to the courts in game three with a sense of purpose, winning four of the first five points of the match. After the Irish took a 25-21 advantage, Boston College rallied to collect four straight points and went on to win the match 30-28.