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ND Volleyball: Irish take care of Billikens

Tom Dorwart | Thursday, November 3, 2005

The maintenance crew at the Joyce Center didn’t have much cleaning to do Tuesday night as the No. 5 Irish swept another opponent on their home court – defeating St. Louis 30-13, 30-23, 30-23.

It was the sixth time in nine home matches that the Irish won in three straight games.

Coach Debbie Brown kept her team ready after two huge Big East wins over the weekend.

They were not about to take the Billikens lightly, but Brown wasn’t sure how her team would start the non-conference match after the high-emotion weekend.

From the looks of the 30-13 score, the Irish came ready.

“It was a really good first game,” Brown said. “We executed well. We served really tough.

“I think St. Louis wasn’t really sure what to expect, and then I think they played a little bit better in games two and three.”

Notre Dame had five players with eight or more kills. Senior outside hitter/middle blocker Lauren Kelbley led the way with 14, and fellow senior Lauren Brewster added nine. Sophomore outside hitter Adrianna Stasiuk pounded 13. In total, the Irish had 54.

Notre Dame hit for a .417 percentage in the match.

Senior Meg Henican once again led the way defensively with 14 digs. The Irish also had 10 blocks on the day.

Notre Dame won its 14th straight match. They’re in the top five – likely headed for the No. 1 seed in both the Big East and NCAA tournament.

But Brown says to hold on.

“We’ve talked about where we are right now, and we’ve talked about not getting ahead of ourselves,” she said. “[We’re] taking it one match at a time and [still] enjoying it along the way because it’s not like it’s not happening because it’s really fun.

“We’ve had some great wins. We’re working really hard, so we’re trying not to get ahead of ourselves. We’re putting ourselves in a really good position to finish strong and finish well, and that’s what we want to do.”

There’s plenty of work to do.

This weekend the Irish will hit the road for the first time after playing at home since Oct. 21. Considering they are the defending Big East regular season and tournament champions, and given their No. 5 rank in the nation, the Irish expect the best from their opponents.

“West Virginia will be challenging for us,” Brown said. “Any time you play in the Big East, we always have a big target on our backs, so the teams play up for us for sure.

“We’re on the road, so that’s a little more of a challenge too. Pittsburgh is one of the top teams in the conference. They’ve got very good outside hitters. We’ll have to get a good practice in and a good film session in and be on the road and play well again.”

One more practice and the Irish will be ready to go again. They have something special going this season.

Later this week, they hope to keep rolling.