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    Aug. 14, 1997

    Notre Dame Volleyball Ranked 17th in Preseason USA Today Coaches Poll

    Irish Check in at 18th in Preseason Volleyball Magazine Poll

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame women's volleyball team is a consensus top-20 team heading into the 1997 season, following the release of the preseason polls by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and Volleyball magazine.

    Notre Dame, which returns five of six starters from the 1996 team that finished 22-12, is ranked 17th in the preseason USA Today/AVCA preseason poll and 18th by Volleyball magazine. The '97 Irish finished 25th in the final AVCA poll, re-entering the poll after a five-game loss to then-#12 Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

    The Irish made the biggest jump of any team receiving votes in the final '96 AVCA poll, rising eight spots, while UCLA has re-entered the AVCA poll (at 21st) after suffering through an off-year in 1996.

    Notre Dame entered the '96 season as a consensus top-10 team in both polls for the first time in the program's history. Major injuries to three starters, including current senior setter Carey May and current senior hitter Angie Harris, took their toll on the '96 Irish, who fell out of the AVCA top 25 on Nov. 12, 1996 (ending a streak of 66 consecutive weeks in which the Irish were ranked).

    Eight opponents on Notre Dame's 1997 schedule are among the AVCA preseason top 25, including #4 Florida, #5 Long Beach State, #7 Washington State, #9 Texas, #12 UC Santa Barbara, #13 Texas A&M, #18 Wisconsin and #23 Colorado. Seven other teams on Notre Dame's '97 schedule received votes from among the 60 AVCA voters: Louisville (83 votes/29th overall), Houston (21/35th), Pittsburgh (7/42nd), Georgia (5/43rd), North Carolina (5/43rd), Oral Roberts (5/43rd) and Illinois State (4/46th).

    Defending NCAA champion Stanford is #1 in the AVCA preseason poll, after receiving 58 of 60 first-place votes. Penn State is #2 and received the other two first-place votes while 1995 NCAA champion Nebraska is ranked #3 in the AVCA preseason poll. The AVCA poll's other top-10 preseason teams include #6 Michigan State, #8 Brigham Young and #10 University of the Pacific.

    Volleyball magazine's preseason poll matches the AVCA top five, with the following changes in the rest of the top 10: #6 BYU, #7 Michigan State, #8 Washington State and #9 Texas A&M (the magazine also has UOP in the 10th spot). Other '97 Notre Dame opponents in the Volleyball magazine preseason top 20 include #11 UCSB and #13 Texas (Wisconsin and Louisville were two of three other teams that received votes in the preseason Volleyball magazine poll).

    Notre Dame's 1997 home schedule includes eight teams that received votes in the preseason AVCA poll. The Irish open their season by playing host to the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-30), which will include 1996 NCAA Tournament teams Louisville, Oral Roberts and Wisconsin. Notre Dame will play host to five teams that participated in the 1996 NCAAs, including Florida (Sept. 8) and Texas A&M, which will take part in the Tournament of Champions on Sept. 19-20 at the Notre Dame Joyce Center. The '97 home slate includes three other matches against teams that received votes in the preseason AVCA poll: Illinois State (Oct. 7), North Carolina (Oct. 17) and Pittsburgh (Nov. 9).

    Notre Dame's remaining 1997 matches against teams that received votes in the preseason AVCA poll are as follows: vs. Washington State (at Spokane Spikeoff, Sept. 6), vs. Georgia (at Colorado Invitational, Sept. 12), at Colorado (Sept. 13), at Texas (Oct. 21), at Houston (Oct. 22), vs. UCSB (at Long Beach Tournament, Nov. 28), at Long Beach State (Nov. 29).


    NOTRE DAME'S HISTORY IN THE AVCA POLL
    First Ranking: 1988 (15h in final poll)
    Highest Ranking: 7th (10/16/95)
    Highest Final Ranking: 12th (1994)
    Consecutive Weeks Ranked: 66 (9/9/92 - 11/5/96)

    YEAR    PRESEASON    HIGHEST             FINAL
    1992    N.R.         20th (final poll)   20th
    1993    19th         11th (10/26/93)     17th
    1994    17th         11th (11/15/94)     12th
    1995    11th         7th (9/19/95)       14th
    1996    9th          8th (9/3/95)        25th
    1997    17th 
    1997 AVCA/USA TODAY  PRESEASON POLL
    School (1996 record)          Pts (1st-place votes)   Final 1996 Rank
     1.  Stanford (31-2)          1,498 (58)              1
     2.  Penn State (31-3)        1,369 (2)               5
     3.  Nebraska (30-4)          1,354                   3
     4.  Florida (37-2)           1,289                   4
     5.  Long Beach State (33-3)  1,220                  10  
     6.  Michigan State (26-7)    1,074                   6
     7.  Washington State (27-6)  1,039                   7 
     8.  Brigham Young (27-7)     1,000                   8
     9.  Texas (23-7)               933                  11
    10.  U. ofPacific (26-7)        897                  12
    11.  Hawaii (35-3)              802                   2
    12.  UC Santa Barbara (23-9)    707                  17
    13.  Texas  A&M (25-8)          663                  19
    14.  Ohio State (27-6)          649                  13
    15.  USC (21-9)                 617                  14
    16.  Loyola Marymount (26-3)    613                   9
    17.  NOTRE DAME (22-12)         567                  25
    18.  Wisconsin (25-8)           555                  15
    19.  Washington (23-8)          485                  18
    20.  Arizona (20-10)            402                  23
    21.  UCLA (17-14)               254                  NR
    22.  South Florida (27-5)       195                  22
    23.  Colorado (19-10)           166                  NR (26)
    24.  Colorado State (23-11)     162                  NR (31)
    25.  Arkansas (26-11)           157                  NR (30)

    Others receiving votes: George Mason (153), Georgia Tech (95), Maryland (93), Louisville (83), Minnesota (80), Kansas State (76), Northern Illinois (35), Duke (33), San Diego (27), Houston (21), San Diego State (19), Texas Tech (19), South Carolina (17), Oregon State (14), Rhode Island (12), Pepperdine (8), Pittsburgh (7), Georgia (5), North Carolina (5), Oral Roberts (5), Arizona State (4), Idaho (4), Illinois State (4), Miami, OH (4), Ball State (3), Massachusetts (2), Auburn (1), Butler (1).

    1997 VOLLEYBALL MAGAZINE PRESEASON POLL
    School  1996 record Final 1996 Rank
     1.  Stanford                  31-2     1
     2.  Penn State                31-3     5       
     3.  Nebraska                  30-4     4
     4.  Florida                   37-2     2   
     5.  Long Beach State          33-3     7
     6.  Brigham Young             27-7    NR (votes)
     7.  Michigan State            26-7     8
     8.  Washington State          27-6     9   
     9.  Texas A&M                 25-8    16
    10. University of the Pacific  26-7    12
    11. UC Santa Barbara           23-9    14
    12. UCLA                       17-14   NR
    13. Texas                      23-7    10
    14. Southern California        21-9    11
    15. Ohio State                 27-6    13
    16. Loyola Marymount           26-3     6
    17. Washington                 23-8    17
    18. NOTRE DAME                 22-12   NR
    19. Arizona                    20-10   NR (votes)
    20. Hawaii                     35-3     3

    Others receiving votes: South Florida, Wisconsin, Louisville.
    Note: Teams in italics indicate teams on Notre Dame's 1997 schedule.

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