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Irish face off with Big East rivals

Pat O'Brien | Friday, October 12, 2007

Notre Dame looks to improve its conference record this weekend with matches at Marquette and Syracuse.

Notre Dame (7-8, 3-2 Big East) travels first to Milwaukee today to face the Golden Eagles at 8 p.m. The Irish then go east to take on Syracuse at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Notre Dame beat both Big East foes last year in the Joyce Center. Marquette lost 3-1 (30-17, 30-17, 21-30, 30-24), while Notre Dame downed Syracuse 3-0 (30-25, 30-22, 30-22).

The Irish are led by senior captain Adrianna Stasiuk. She has recorded 187 kills and has team highs in service aces and digs with 18 and 207, respectively.

Four other Notre Dame players have notched more than 100 kills this season. Sophomore outside hitter Serinity Phillips has 206, sophomore outside hitter Megan Fesl has 185, freshman middle blocker Kellie Sciacca has 146 and junior middle blocker Justine Stremick has 137.

Senior setter Ashley Tarutis and sophomore setter Jamel Nicholas lead the Irish in assists with 583 and 169, respectively.

Phillips has 114 digs, and Fesl has 135. Tarutis has 146 digs, while freshman libero Angela Puente is second on the team with 173.

“We all have confidence that we’ve learned from our losses and we will finish on the top of the Big East,” Stasiuk said. “We need to work on our defense and offense, and things will fall into place.”

Marquette (6-8, 3-2) and senior outside hitter Kimberly Todd are trying to get win number 399 coach Pati Rolf. Todd is second in the Big East with 4.82 kills per game. Junior defensive specialist Terri Angst is sixth in the Big East with 4.50 digs per contest, while senior setter Katie Weidner ranks seventh in the Big East with 11.54 assists per game.

“[We got] a scouting report on Marquette,” Nicholas said. “They are a strong team, and I’m sure that it will be a good game.”

Senior outside hitter Cheryl Cobbina and sophomore outside hitter Kacie MacTavish lead Syracuse (11-9, 2-3). Cobbina has 262 kills and 202 digs and MacTavish has 243 and 228, respectively, this season. Senior defensive specialist Joscie Kaup tops the team with an impressive 339 digs, and junior setter April Quigley leads the Orange with 609 assists.

“Marquette and Syracuse are both very competitive teams, and we will have to

pass very well and play with a lot of enthusiasm,” Stasiuk said.