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Brown up for 500th career win

Kyle Cassily | Friday, September 29, 2006

A victory Saturday over Seton Hall would be No. 500 for Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown, but to her it’s just another stop on the schedule.

“I feel like we’re very well prepared to play Seton Hall,” she said. “I actually haven’t thought at all about what number win it is. We are prepared to go in and have a good match and I’m very much looking forward to that.”

The Irish (8-5, 2-0 Big East) will travel to New Jersey for the second straight week to play Seton Hall in the second weekend of both team’s conference schedule. The Pirates (9-6, 1-1 Big East) split their opening conference matches with a win over Georgetown and a loss to South Florida.

And if that 500th win does come Brown’s way, there won’t be a celebration afterwards.

“Just hanging out with the team like we always do,” she said.

Junior co-captain Adrianna Stasiuk was named Big East Player of the Week Monday after she led the Irish in wins over Rutgers and Villanova last weekend. Stasiuk tallied 26 kills and 25 digs in Notre Dame’s opening conference matches and had a hitting percentage of .737 against Rutgers – the highest percentage since Malinda Goralski hit .833 Sept. 22, 2000.

“I thought [Stasiuk] had a really good week, not just in her physical play but in leading the team,” Brown said. “Whenever someone gets singled out for player of the week, certainly the team is a huge part of that, but definitely it’s good for Adrianna and good for the program.”

It was the second-time that Stasiuk earned Player of the Week honors. She also won the award Oct. 24, 2005.

The Pirates are an experienced team with seven juniors and seniors – compared to four for Notre Dame – but have thrived off the superb play of their underclassmen.

Freshman Allie Matters and sophomore Tricia Meyers have provided a one-two punch on the attack from the middle blocker position all year. Meyers leads Seton Hall in kills with 181 and averages 3.69 per game. Matters tallied 179 kills in her first 15 collegiate matches and averages 3.51 per game.

Matters specializes not only on the attack but also as a defensive and set-up player. She is second on the Pirates in digs with 163 – team leader Jessica Pompei has mined 281 digs for 5.11 per game.

Brown said Notre Dame has scouted Seton Hall well and is determined that its greatest weakness lies in receiving the serve – something the Irish excel in delivering, with 80 aces on the season for an average of 1.7 per game.

“We’ve been a very strong serving team, and we can continue to use that as a very strong weapon for us,” Brown said. “We’ve spotted a couple of players that we think are a little weak in the way that they receiver serves.”

It will be the first weekend that the Irish will have only one game to play since the season started with a one-game stand Aug. 26 against Bowling Green. The past four weekends has seen the team play four, three, three and two matches apiece.

“I know that the academic load is getting a lot tougher,” Brown said. “I think it’s the perfect time for us to have a weekend with one match. It’s a much needed break for the team right now.”

The match will take place Saturday at noon in South Orange, N.J.