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    Sept. 2, 1997

    Notre Dame Volleyball Slips to 20th in AVCA Poll

    Three Ranked Opponents, Including No. 2 Florida, Await Irish over Next Two Weeks

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame women's volleyball team slipped four spots in the weekly USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches Association of America poll while several upcoming Irish opponents moved up in the poll.

    Notre Dame, which opened the season ranked 17th, is ranked 20th in the Sept. 1 poll after defeating Louisville and Oral Roberts over the weekend at the Shamrock Invitational and losing to Wisconsin. The Baders were 18th in the preseason poll and have moved up to 14th after winning the Shamrock Invitational.

    Notre Dame's challenging schedule continues over the next two weeks, as the Irish will face three ranked teams--#6 Washington State, #2 Florida and #22 Colorado--in their next six matches.

    The Irish this week head to the Spikeoff Spokane (Wash.), which will be held at the Spokane Arena, the site of the 1997 NCAA Championship. Notre Dame faces host Gonzaga on Sept. 5 and Utah on Sept. 6 before facing current #6 Washington State in the tournament's final match. WSU moved up from #7 after opening with a 4-0 record and winning its own Cougar Challenge.

    After returning from Spokane, the Irish are slated to play host to the nation's #2-ranked team for the second year in a row, as Florida will come calling on Monday, Sept. 8 (7:00 p.m.). Stanford played at Notre Dame last season when the Cardinal were ranked #2 in the country (Stanford went on to capture the NCAA '96 title). Florida is 3-0 after a marathon three-hour win over current #5 Nebraska. The Gators return four starters from a 1996 team that was ranked #1 for much of the season and posted a 37-2 record, after falling to Hawaii in the NCAA semifinals.

    Notre Dame's regular season-ending opponent, Long Beach State, has moved up from #5 to #4 after wins over then-#8 BYU and Georgia Tech. The Irish will faces the 49ers and current #9 UC Santa Barbara at the LBSU Thanksgiving Tournament. UCSB moved up from its preseason #12 ranking thanks to its own wins over Georgia Tech and BYU.

    Two other teams on Notre Dame's 1997 schedule remain in the AVCA top 25. Texas A&M slipped from 13th to 17th, after losses to Stanford and BYU three wins at the Georgia Invitational. Colorado moved up spot to #22 after an opening win over Utah.

    Two final '97 Irish opponents--Louisville and Georgia--were among other teams that received votes in the Sept. 1 poll. The Irish will face Georgia and Colorado at the CU Invitational on Sept. 12-13.

    Five Irish opponents that received votes in the preseason poll did not receive votes in the most recent balloting. Houston suffered an 0-3 loss to #25 Arkansas while Illinois State opened with losses to Hawaii and Kansas State. North Carolina opened with four wins but did not receive any votes while Pittsburgh suffered season-opening losses to Auburn and Clemson. Oral Roberts lost all three of its matches at the Shamrock Invitational.

    1997 AVCA/USA TODAY  COACHES POLL (SEPT. 1)
        School (1997 record)            Pts          Last Week
     1. Penn State (3-0)                1,499 (59)   2   
     2. Florida (2-0)                   1,409        4   
     3. Stanford (1-1)                  1,390 (1)    1   
     4. Long Beach State (2-0)          1,304        5   
     5. Nebraska (2-1)                  1,285        3
     6. Washington State (4-0)          1,134        7
     7. University of the Pacific (3-0) 1,059       10
     8. Texas (0-0)                     1,029        9
     9. UC Santa Barbara (2-0)            999       12
    10. USC (3-0)                         936       15
    11. Hawaii (3-0)                      849       11
    12. Michigan State (2-1)              836        6
    13. Brigham Young (1-3)               732        8
    14. Wisconsin (3-0)                   699       18
    15. Loyola Marymount (3-0)            667       16
    16. Texas  A&M (3-2)                  640       13  
    17. Ohio State (3-1)                  510       14
    18. Washington (3-0)                  491       19
    19. Arizona (2-0)                     417       20
    20. NOTRE DAME (2-1)                  378       17
    21. UCLA (0-0)                        317       21
    22. Colorado (1-0)                    217       23
    23. Maryland (4-0)                    191       NR
    24. Colorado State (3-0)              171       24
    25. Arkansas (3-0)                    106       25

    Others receiving votes: South Florida (76), Kansas State (38), Minnesota (37), George Mason (18), Northern Illinois (14), Texas Tech (12), Georgia Tech (9), Pepperdine (9), University of San Diego (7), Arizona State (4), Duke (3), Louisville (3), Georgia (1), Clemson (1)

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