Aug. 22, 1997
Notre Dame's Jaimie Lee Serves 15 Straight Points
CATANIA, Sicily - Notre Dame senior outside hitter Jaimie Lee (Spokane, Wash.) again played a major role as the United States posted a 15-3, 15-0, 15-3 victory over New Zealand in Thursday's first-day action of the 1997 World University Games (WUG) before downing Estonia 15-2, 15-1, 15-2 on Friday.
The two victories assure the U.S. of a spot in the quarterfinals. The U.S. continues in pool play on Saturday against Russia, with the winner of that match going on to a likely match against Switzerland in the quarterfinal round on Monday, Aug. 25. The loser of the U.S.-Russia match likely will face China in Monday's quarterfinal action. The tournament next week will play out all spots, from #1-#16, with the semifinals/5th-8th matches held on Aug. 27 and the finals (to determine 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th) held on Aug .29. The U.S. will have off days on Aug. 24, 26 and 28 (the #9-#16 spots will be determined on Aug 26-28).
Lee, the recently-named USA team captain, put on an impressive serving exhibition by opening the second game with a rare 15 straight service points, including five aces. Lee, who set a Notre Dame record in 1996 for service ace-to-error ratio (2.00-to-1), added three kills and no errors on eight attempts (for a .375 hitting percentage), plus four digs.
The U.S. posted a dominating .491 team hitting pct. against New Zealand, with 10 aces, eight service errors and nine blocks. Outside hitter Demetria Sance, a junior at the University of Texas, led the U.S. offense with 13 kills on .615 hitting (no errors on 13 attempts), plus three digs and a block assist.
Lee became the Team USA captain after setter Laura Davis (Ohio State '96) was removed from the roster due to a wrist injury suffered in last week's Canada Cup. Davis has been replaced on the 12-member squad by another WUG veteran, former Brigham Young setter Charlene Johnson. Johnson fueling big offensive efforts by the U.S. against New Zealand and Estonia while chipping in two aces, two blocks and two digs in the first match.
The U.S. offense also received noteworthy offensive contributions in e first match from UOP junior hitter Elsa Steggemann (5K-1E-6A/.667), UCLA sophomore middle blocker Liz Bachman (4K-0E-6A/.667) and Long Beach State junior middle Benishe Dillard (4K-3E-8A/.125). Dillard had a hand in five of the nine U.S. blocks (including two solos). Steggemann, Bachman and 1997 Iowa graduate Jen Webb each served an ace in the opening match. Full statistics were not yet available from the U.S.-Estonia match. Another balanced U.S. offensive attack, behind Johnson's setting, led to a .408 team hitting pct. against Estonia.
The other WUG volleyball pool play groups are as follows: China-Switzerland-Cuba-Algeria; Italy-Brazil-Turkey-TPE; and Japan-Canada-Romania-France (the top-two in each group advance to the quarterfinals).
Due to her commitments at the WUG, Lee will miss Notre Dame's season opener on Friday, Aug. 29 against Louisville in Notre Dame's annual Shamrock Invitational. She also is likely to miss the second match, Aug. 30 against Oral Roberts, but could be on hand for the final match of the Shamrock Invitational, when the #17-ranked Irish will face #18 Wisconsin (7:30 p.m. start time). The U.S. volleyball contingent is scheduled to return from Sicily and land in Chicago at 4:30 p.m. on the 30th.