No.21 Irish to Face Georgia, No. 22 Colorado at CU Invitational
HEADING FOR THE MOUNTAINS
- Treadwell named BIG EAST player of the week
- CU match to be Notre Dame's third vs. ranked team in eight days
- Lee remains hot after returning from World University Games
: #21-ranked Notre Dame departs on its second of nine '97 roadtrips this week, to participate in the University of Colorado Invitational ...the Irish face Georgia on Friday, Sept. 12 before tangling with the hosts and #22-ranked CU, which will be the squad's third match vs. a ranked team in the span of eight days ... senior hitter Jaimie Lee and head coach Debbie Brown both have special volleyball ties to the state of Colorado, as Lee spent the summer of '97 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs (Brown also spent time at the Training Center as a U.S. national team player and assistant coach) ... last week's Spikeoff Spokane served as a homecoming for Lee, who attended Ferris High School ... the Spikeoff tournament was held at the Spokane Arena, which later this season will serve as the site of the 1997 NCAA Championship (the Spikeoff usually is played at Gonzaga University's Martin Centre) ... Washington State will serve as the host of the '97 NCAA Championship semifinals and final and the Spikeoff served as a dry run for the NCAA organizing and operations committees ... the Irish opened the 1997 season by playing host to the Shamrock Invitational, which featured four teams that participated in the 1996 NCAAs (Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Louisville and Oral Roberts) ... the Irish beat Louisville (3-1) and Oral Roberts (3-2) before losing to then-#18 Wisconsin in the championship match (1-3).
DEBBIE BROWN owns a record of 169-52 (.765) in six-plus seasons as head coach at Notre Dame and is 286-135 (.679) in 11-plus seasons as a Division I head coach ... Brown heads to the Colorado Invitational 14 wins shy of her 300th career win ... she has been named conference coach of the year in five of her first six seasons at Notre Dame and has led 10 of her 12 Division I teams to the NCAA Tournament ... Brown was head coach at Arizona State University from 1983-88 and served as a U.S. national team assistant before accepting the head coaching position at Notre Dame in 1991.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS AND BUFFS: Georgia has won all three previous matches against Notre Dame but the last meeting between the teams came way back in 1985 ... the Bulldogs are 3-3 after opening with wins over William & Mary (3-0), Radford (3-0) and Arkansas-Little Rock (3-0) before losing to three ranked teams: Texas A&M (0-3), Wisconsin (1-3) and Ohio State (2-3) ... Notre Dame also lost to Wisconsin in four games this season ... Georgia returns all six starters from its 1996 team that went 12-18 ... Notre Dame leads the series with Colorado 3-1, including two wins over the then-#15 Buffs at Notre Dame early in the 1995 season (15-13, 15-1, 16-14; 15-0, 15-9, 15-4) ... the Irish also won at CU in 1994 (3-1) .. the Buffs return five starters from their 1996 team that went 19-10 and advance to the second round of the NCAAs (where they lost to Hawaii) ... CU has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances ... the Buffs are 2-1 this season, with wins over Utah (3-0) and Villanova (3-1) and a loss at USC (2-3) ... the Irish also own a 3-0 win over Utah ... CU senior middle Alison Koepke played with Notre Dame's Jaimie Lee on the Griffins Volleyball Club (based in Northern California).
SPIKEOFF/FLORIDA RECAP: Notre Dame last week went 2-1 at the Spikeoff Spokane before hustling home for a match against #2 Florida ... the Irish opened with a 15-10, 15-7, 15-0 victory over host Gonzaga behind Lee's 18 kills and a .352-.121 hitting edge ... Lee's 14 kills paced a 15-1, 15-8, 17-15 win the next day over Utah before the Irish lost to #6 Washington State (9-15, 8-15, 14-16) ... Lee and the squad's starting middles--junior Lindsay Treadwell and sophomore Mary Leffers--were named to the all-tournament team ... Lee totaled 44 kills in the Spikeoff (4.89/gm) on .254 hitting ... Treadwell, who also earned BIG EAST Conference player of the week, totaled 31 kills and team-bests of .386 hitting and 17 blocks, plus 23 digs ... Leffers had 27 kills, .344 hitting and 15 blocks in the Spikeoff ... Lee's 20 kills could not avert a 7-15, 15-10, 6-15, 3-15 loss to the Gators, who benefitted from a balanced hitting attack of four players with 10-plus kills.
LOSING STREAKS RARE: Notre Dame has lost three or more consecutive matches just three times during the seven-year tenure of current head coach Debbie Brown ... in Brown's first season (1991), the Irish dropped matches on the road at Miami, Ohio (1-3), #1 Stanford (0-3) and San Jose State (2-3 at Stanford) ... in 1995, Notre Dame dropped four straight on the road to ranked teams, at #25 Georgia Tech (2-3), vs. #11 Texas (1-3 at Ga. Tech), at #4 Stanford (1-3) and at #14 Long Beach State (1-3) ... finally, in 1996, the Irish dropped a four-game match at Cal State Northridge before losing a pair of three-game matches at #1 Hawaii.
HARRIS MAKES THUNDERING RETURN, EARNS BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame senior hitter Angie Harris was an all-district performer as a sophomore before suffering through various knee problems as a junior ... Harris left little doubt that she was back to full strength heading into the 1997 season opener, after tying classmate Jaimie Lee's Irish record by totaling 20-plus kills in three consecutive matches ... Harris had 23 kills in the Shamrock Invitational opener against Louisville, including 10 kills in the decisive fourth game ... her .388 hitting against Louisville (nine err., 54 att.) is the second-best hitting effort in a four-game match during her career (she ironically hit .484 against Louisville in 1994) ... Harris then totaled a career-best 27 kills against Oral Roberts before capping the week with 21 kills versus then-#18 Wisconsin ... her 71 kills during the Shamrock factored out to 5.46 per game.
LEE HAS RARE MISS ... BUT FOR GOOD REASON: Senior hitter Jaimie Lee--the '96 BIG EAST player of the year--did not play in the first two matches of the Shamrock Invitational, as she was busy wrapping up competition as captain of the U.S. team that captured the silver medal in Sicily, Italy at the World University Games ... Lee played in 104 of 105 matches during her first three seasons with the Irish program ... she has appeared in 97.3% (109 of 112) of Notre Dame's matches during her career, the third-best percentage of matches played in Irish volleyball history ('97 grad. Jenny Birkner played in all 145 matches of her career while Janelle Karlan played in all 140 from 1990-93) ... prior to missing the '97 opener against Louisville, Lee had appeared in 62 consecutive matches, stretching back to the Sept. 15, 1995 matchup against North Carolina State at the Purdue Premier ... Lee also has played in 360 of 389 career games for a 92.6% games played that ranks third in Irish history behind Birkner (96.5%) and Karlan (92.8%) ... Lee needs to play in 105 games this season to become the fifth Irish player ever to log 450 in her career ... she needs to appear in 34 matches to move into fifth on that all-time list ... Lee earned MVP honors at the '96 Shamrock while serving as the teams emergency fill-in setter.
LEE RETURNS WITH SILVER MEDAL IN TOW: Notre Dame's Jaimie Lee returned to the Irish program after captaining the United States to a silver-medal finish at the '97 World University Games, held the final week of August in Catania, Sicily ... Lee, who suffered from food poisoning before the gold-medal match, endured a 21-hour, 5,000-mile return trip to South Bend and entered the Joyce Center in the second game of the Aug. 30 match against then-#18 Wisconsin ... the Irish were trailing 4-2 at that point but had worked to an 11-10 lead when Lee checked into the match, after filling out the needed eligibility forms and quickly going over some plays with the Irish coaches ... Lee's return and insertion into the lineup helped complete a 9-1 Irish run as Notre Dame won game two (15-10) ... the Irish lost in four games, with the weary Lee totaling eight kills and nine errors on 29 swings ... earlier in the week, Lee had a team-best 18 kills to lead the U.S. to a five-game win over Canada in the WUG semifinals (Aug. 27) ... the U.S. lost the gold medal match to Russia in three games, with Lee inserted at setter midway through the second game and during the third game in an attempt to jumpstart the U.S. offense ... Lee totaled 57 kills in six WUG matches, second to Demetria Sances 65 (Sance is a junior at Texas, which will play host to the Irish on Oct. 21) ... Lee also led the U.S. in Sicily with 11 service aces during the first five matches while ranking third in digs (31) ... Lee totaled 84 kills over the course of the three-match Canada Cup (where the U.S. also took the silver) and in the six WUG matches, just behind Sance's team-leading 86 ... Lee is scheduled to face former WUG teammate Benishe Dillard on Nov. 29, when Notre Dame completes its regular season at Long Beach State (Dillard is a junior middle for the 49ers).
SHE CAN FLY 1,000 MILES ... AND SHE CAN FLY 1,000 MORE: Senior Jaimie Lee was part of a Notre Dame team that travelled over 28,000 miles during the summer and spring of 1996 (highlighted by a July trip to Germany) ... after making another trip to Europe for the recent World University Games (in Sicily, Italy), Lee is on pace to cover 17,017 air miles from Aug. 4 (when she checked out of the Olympic Training Center and headed to Winnipeg for the Canada Cup) to Sept. 14 (when Notre Dame is set to return from the Colorado Invitational) ... with at least seven more roadtrips on tap for the Irish after returning from Colorado, Lee could travel nearly 30,000 miles (from Aug. 4-Nov. 30) in order to play the game she loves ... Lee's current six-week, jet-setting streak breaks down as follows:
Date Depart - Arrive Miles
8/4 Colorado Springs - Winnipeg 850
8/12 Winnipeg - Chicago 717
8/14 Chicago - Sicily 5,125
8/30 Sicily - South Bend 5,175
9/4 South Bend - Spokane, Wash. 1,580
9/7 Spokane, Wash. - South Bend 1,580
9/11 South Bend - Boulder, Colo. 995
9/14 Boulder, Colo. - South Bend 996
Total Eight trips 17,017
QUICK NOTRE DAME TEAM NOTES: The Irish return five starters and 11 total players from the 1996 BIG EAST championship team that went 22-12 and advanced to the second round of the NCAAS ... the Irish have eight players who are six feet or taller on the 1997 roster, including a noticeable boost on the rightside block due to a pair of new 6-1 starters: sophomore opposite Emily Schiebout and freshman setter Denise Boylan ... the Irish volleyball team averaged 27.5 wins per season from 1991-96 ... Notre Dame has not lost a match to a conference opponent during the Debbie Brown era (since 1991), going 63-0 over that stretch ... in two years of BIG EAST Conference play, the Irish have won 22 of their 26 matches against conference foes in three games (Pittsburgh has forced the Irish to four games on three occasions while Villanova stretched the Irish to five games in '96).
MOVING ON UP: Senior hitter Angie Harris continues to add to her prominence in the Irish record book ... she owns seven Notre Dame service ace records (including 188 in her career, a career average of 0.614/gm and nine in a match) while her career kill average of 3.88/gm would set a new Irish record in that category, surpassing the 3.82 set by '95 grad. Christy Peters ... Harris has 1,189 kills in her career and this past week moved into fifth on the Irish career kills list, moving past Alicia Turner (1,162; 1989-92), former teammate Jenny Birkner (1,171) and '89 graduate Mary Kay Waller (1,188) ... Harris is just six kills shy of moving into fourth place, which is currently occupied by '89 grad. Maureen Shea (1,193) ... Harris owns 64 career matches with double-digit kills, third-most in Irish history behind Peters (80) and Zanette Bennett (68) ... Harris also ranks behind Peters (19) and Bennett (16) with 14 career 20-plus kill matches ... in terms of career double-double matches (kills/digs), Harris ranks fifth with 28, just one behind Turner and six behind Birkner ... her career dig average of 2.61/gm is tied with Kathy Cunningham (1986-89) for sixth all-time at Notre Dame ... Harris (.235) has fallen out of the Irish career hitting pct. top 10 ... her 800 career digs leave her 45 shy of 10th place on that Irish all-time list.
DID YOU KNOW?: The Notre Dame volleyball, womens soccer and womens basketball teams posted a combined 148-38-2 record during the past two seasons (for a combined .790 winning percentage) ... Notre Dame was one of four Division I schools which saw its womens soccer, mens soccer and volleyball teams all advance to the 1996 NCAAs (the others were George Mason, Maryland and Washington) ... Notre Dame and Maryland won in both soccer tournaments and the Irish were the only school to post a win in each of those three fall NCAA tournaments ... Notre Dame sophomore opposite Emily Schiebout and freshman outside hitter Adrienne Shimmel have a unique connection, as each has a twin brother.
SEVEN-MATCH CHECKUP: With one-fourth of the regular season in the books, several Irish players are on pace for record-setting campaigns ... senior hitters Jaimie Lee (4.50 kills/gm) and Angie Harris (4.00 kpg) are on pace for the second and sixth-best kill averages in Irish history and could become the first Notre Dame teammates ever to average four-plus kills per game in the same season ... Lee and Harris already are the only Irish teammates ever to both average 3.9-kills per game in the same season (doing so as sophomores in 1995) ... Lee could challenge the Irish season kill average record of 4.59, set by Christy Peters in 1994 ... junior middle blocker Lindsay Treadwell is hitting .336, which would rank third on the Irish single season list (her .367 mark as a freshman is second all-time) ... Treadwell's current block average (1.35/gm) would tie for eighth in Irish history ... another Irish middle, sophomore Mary Leffers (.306) is on pace for the ninth-best Notre Dame season hitting pct. while her 1.38 blocks/gm would rank seventh in Irish history ... freshman setter Denise Boylan is averaging 11.88 assists/gm, which would factor out to fourth-best ever at Notre Dame and best by an Irish freshman ... Boylan leads the Irish in 1997 with nine aces (0.35/gm), which would rank ninth in Irish history .. as a team, Notre Dame is on pace for the fourth-best season block average (3.08/gm) in Irish history.
LEFFERS READIES FOR ANOTHER RANKED TEAM: 6-4 freshman middle Mary Leffers emerged as one of the top first-year players in the BIG EAST Conference and the nation during 1996, earning a spot on the BIG EAST all-rookie team ... Leffers finished '96 with 1.43 blocks/gm--28th in the nation and 5th all-time at Notre Dame (bettered only by the four seasons turned in by Mary Kay Waller from 1985-88) ... her 160 blocks in '96 are the most ever by an Irish freshman (fifth overall) ... she led the Irish in blocks 19 times during '96, led the team in hitting pct. a team-best 10 times and in kills six times ... she posted nine matches with .400-plus hitting and hit below .100 just three times ... some of Leffers' best rookie performances came vs. ranked teams, including Stanford, Louisville and Penn State ... she had 12 blocks (one solo) in the five-game loss to then-#19 Louisville, the most blocks by an Irish player since Molly Stark had 15 at Western Michigan on Oct. 2, 1993 ... vs. then-#2 Stanford, Leffers hit .348 (10 kills, 2 errors, 23 att.), with five block assists ... the former prep All-American had a solid match vs. then-#5 Penn St., hitting .333 (13 kills, 3 errors, 30 att.) while coming up with a season-high 12 digs plus seven blocks (one solo) ... Leffers also had a solid pair of matches at then-#1 Hawaii, hitting .357 in the first match (six kills, one error, 14 att.) before adding 10 kills on .269 hitting the next day, plus six blocks ... she equaled her season-high with 12 blocks (two solos) in the NCAAs vs. then-#12 Ohio State ... Leffers managed just five kills on .000 hitting this season vs. then-#18 Wisconsin but assisted on six blocks ... she capped an all-tournament performance at the recent Spikeoff Spokane by totaling nine kills and six blocks vs. #6 Washington State ... most recently, the Tampa, Fla. native had nine kills on .308 hitting against #2 Florida, plus six blocks ... Leffers five kills on as many swings in game two of that match helped the Irish even the match with the Gators ... in 12 career matches vs. ranked team (see below), Leffers has averaged .190 hitting (.250 or higher in eight of the 12), plus 1.93 kills and 1.67 blocks per game.
Mary Leffers' career stats vs. nationally-ranked teams
K-E/ATT PCT. BS-BA/TB DIG ACE
9/4/96 #2 Stanford 10-2/23 .348 0-5/5 4 0
9/6/96 #19 Louisville 11-4/28 .250 1-11/12 9 1
9/3/96 #5 Penn State (@Chicago) 13-3/30 .333 1-6/7 12 1
10/24/96 at #1 Hawaii 6-1/14 .357 0-0/0 0 1
10/25/96 at #1 Hawaii 10-3/26 .269 1-5/6 2 0
11/9/96 #18 George Mason 11-4/25 .280 0-3/3 5 1
11/29/96 #11 Washington St. 3-0/12 .250 0-5/5 3 0
11/30/96 at #12 UOP 7-5/17 .118 1-4/5 1 0
12/8/96 #12 Ohio State (NCAAs) 3-4/17 .059 2-10/12 3 0
8/30/97 #18 Wisconsin 5-5/22 .000 0-6/15 7 0
9/6/97 #6 Washington State 9-3/33 .182 2-4/6 2 0
9/10/97 #2 Florida 9-1/26 .308 1-5/6 3 0
TOTALS 12 matches (45 games) 87-35/273 .190 9-66/75 (1.67/gm) 51 4
HIT OR MISS: The 1996 Notre Dame volleyball team was consistent in its serving and serve receive, setting team records for service ace-to-error record (1.03) and fewest service errors per game (1.68/gm) while posting the third-best ace average in Irish history (1.73/gm) ... the '96 team also allowed just 1.11 opponent aces per game, a mark bettered just once previously in Irish history (the '95 team allowed 1.08) ... in each of Notre Dame's losses this season, there has been a discernible dropoff in service and receiving efficiency ... against then-#18 Wisconsin, the Badgers held a 9-4 ace average over the Irish, who committed more than twice as many serve errors (9) as aces ... against #6 Washington State. the Cougars posted an 8-2 ace advantage while Notre Dame was guilty of seven service errors ... finally, vs. #2 Florida, the Gators also held an 8-2 ace advantage while the Irish totaled an agonizing 15 service errors ... in its three 1997 losses, Notre Dame has eight aces (vs. 25 for the opposition) and 31 service errors ... for the entire 1997 season, Notre Dame is averaging 1.31 aces/gm (lowest by a Notre Dame team since 1985) while averaging 2.85 service errors per game (most by an Irish squad since '89).
BOYLAN EARNS RARE STARTING NOD: Newcomer Denise Boylan became the first freshman to start the season opener as Notre Dame's primary setter since Julie Bremner opened the 1988 season against Indiana ... Janelle Karlan split time as a freshman with senior Amy White as the Notre Dame setters in the 1990 opener against Montana ... Boylan had a solid debut, running an Irish offense that hit .299 while dispatching Louisville in four games ... she came back the next day to pace a .253 hitting effort against Oral Roberts ... Boylan's 6-1 frame has helped her post 22 kills, on .328 hitting, while her tough serving has produced a team-best nine service aces (0.35/gm) ... the 1996-97 Gatorade high school player of the year also ranks second on the team with 62 digs (2.38/gm), has assisted on 12 blocks (plus one solo) and is averaging 11.88 assists per game ... she also is averaging an impressive 103 assists per ballhandling error (309/3) ... Boylan is one of three members of Notre Dame's freshman class who were named to the Volleyball magazine national Fab 50 (the others are versatile frontline players Christi Girton and Jo Jameyson).
LEE NEARS SPOT ON SIX MAJOR CAREER TOP-10 LISTS: Senior hitter Jaimie Lee heads to the Colorado Invitational just three blocks shy of joining former teammate Jenny Birkner (1993-96) as the only players in the Notre Dame career top 10 for hitting percentage, kills, digs, aces, blocks and digs ... at the same time that Lee is moving into the blocks top 10 list, Birkner could be losing the rare six top-10 distinction, as freshman setter Denise Boylan needs just 31 more assists to bump Birkner from the 10th spot on the Irish all-time assists list ... Lee's other top-10 career ranking at Notre Dame include: 5th in hitting pct. (.263), 8th in assists (714), 9th in kills (1,066), 9th in digs (884) and 10th in aces (85) ... she is just two aces shy of tying Maureen Shea (1985-88) for ninth on that Irish career list.
SCHIEBOUT SLOPES INTO STARTING LINEUP: Lost amidst the hoopla surrounding several of her teammates has been the performance of sophomore opposite Emily Schiebout, who is taking over on the right side after the graduation of Jenny Birkner, who played at the position for all of Notre Dame's 140 matches from 1993-96 ... Schiebout opened her career as a starter by earning a spot on the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team ... she has assisted on 24 blocks this season, plus one solo, for 1.00 blocks/gm (third on the team and well ahead of Birkner's 0.76/gm career average) ... Schiebout hit .370 in the Shamrock (she is now at .277) and totaled 37 kills in the season-opening, three-match tournament (she now is averaging 2.16 kills/gm) ... the 6-1 lefthander also has been a tough server, totaling six aces (third-most among the '97 Irish) ... Schiebout appeared in just 10 matches as a freshman, totaling 13 kills, seven digs, two blocks and one ace.
ODEN MOVES TO DIVISION I COACHING RANKS: The 1997 season-opening Shamrock Invitational served as the Division I debut for two assistant coaches: Notre Dames Elaina Oden and Wisconsins Christy Johnson ... both players earned All-America honors while leading their teams to NCAA titles ... Oden was an All-American middle blocker at UOP in 1985, 1986 and 89 while leading the Tigers to NCAA titles in 85 and 86 ... Johnson was an All-American setter at Nebraska in 1994 and 95 and directed the Cornhuskers offense that captured the 1995 NCAA title ... Oden and Johnson have limited past coaching experience on the high school and club levels but both had their first taste of Division I coaching on Aug. 29 when Notre Dame opened against Louisville and Wisconsin faced Louisville ... a two-time first team All-American and member of two NCAA champion squads at the University of the Pacific (UOP), Oden has been a member of the United States womens volleyball national team program since 1986 ... the 6-1 middle blocker represented the United States at 15 major international competitions, including the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and the 1995 World Grand Prix, where the U.S. turned in a gold-medal performance ... Oden earned first team All-America honors as a freshman and sophomore, after leading UOP to a two-year record of 75-6 and the 1985 and 1986 NCAA championship titles ... Volleyball Monthly magazine recognized Oden as its 1986 national player of the year ... in the summer of 1987, she suffered a major knee injury but ultimately was able to return for a fifth year of eligibility, earning second team All-America and Big West Conference player of the year honors in 1989 ... a native of Irvine, Calif., the 30-year-old Oden hails from a well-known volleyball family ... her sister Kim was NCAA player of the year at Stanford in both 1984 and 85 and teamed with Elaina on the bronze-medal-winning U.S. team at the 92 Olympics ... her sister Bev earned NCAA player of the year honors at Stanford in 1990 and was a teammate of Elainas at the 96 Olympics ... each of the Oden sisters was named to the NCAA All-Decade Team for the 1980s, with Kim earning player of the decade honors ... Elaina was further honored in 1990 as a member of Volleyball Monthlys All-Time Fab 50 elite ... Odens jersey is one of three to be retired by the UOP volleyball program ... she maintains career records at the school for kills (1,485) and hitting percentage (.341) while ranking second in kills per match (12.1) and third in blocks (534) and digs (1,209) ... as a freshmen in 1985, she set still-standing UOP records for kills (547) and hitting percentage (.380) while her 1986 hitting mark of .357 remains second in the UOP record book.
STACKING THE DECK: Notre Dames 1997 schedule includes eight opponents who are ranked in the current AVCA top 25: #2 Florida, #3 Long Beach State, #6 Washington State, #7 UC Santa Barbara, #12 Texas, #14 Wisconsin, #16 Texas A&M and #22 Colorado ... seven other 97 Irish opponents received votes in the preseason poll: Louisville, Houston, Pittsburgh, Georgia, North Carolina, Oral Roberts and Illinois State ... of the 19 potential non-conference opponents on Notre Dames 97 schedule, only five did not receive votes in the preseason AVCA poll (Gonzaga, Utah, California, New Mexico and Marquette).
A LOOK BACK AT '96: The 1996 Notre Dame volleyball team (22-12) ended its season with a five-game loss to #12 Ohio State, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Joyce Center (15-8, 15-11, 11-15, 11-15, 8-15) ... the Irish made their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and sixth in nine years, after capturing a second straight BIG EAST Tournament title ... Notre Dame beat Hofstra in the NCAA 1st round (15-2, 15-4, 15-2), the fewest points (8) allowed by the Irish all season and third-largest margin of victory (37 points) in NCAA Tournament history ... after four weeks out of the AVCA top 25 poll, the Irish finished 25th in the final poll, marking the fifth straight season and sixth in seven years in which the team was in the final AVCA top 25 ... 10 of Notre Dame's final 13 regular season matches, plus the BIG EAST Tournament, were away from home ... a promising starting lineup played just one full match together--Oct. 24 at Hawaii--after a trio of starters (setter Carey May, hitter Angie Harris and middle Jennifer Rouse) missed a combined 44 matches due to injury ... Notre Dame's 19-match non-conference schedule included 14 vs. teams that received votes in the AVCA coaches poll ay some time during 1996 ... an emphasis on blocking landed the Irish among the nation's top blocking teams (2.77/gm) ... the '96 team became the first Irish squad ever to total more aces than serve errors (206/200). INDIVIDUAL NOTES FROM '96: Middle blocker Lindsay Treadwell was named BIG EAST Tournament MVP after hitting a combined .610 vs. Syracuse and Pitt (26 kills, one error) ... hitter Jaimie Lee was named BIG EAST player of the year while rightside hitter Jenny Birkner joined Lee as a 1st team all-BIG EAST selection ... 6-4 freshman middle Mary Leffers was named to the BIG EAST all-rookie team ... Leffers finished 28th in the nation with 1.43 blocks/gm ... Lee and Birkner also repeated as all-district selections while Lee earned an invitation to train with the U.S. volleyball program during the summer of '97, before ultimately earning a spot on the U.S. World University Games team ... setter Carey May made her first start of the season Oct. 11 vs. Providence, the first time the Irish opened with their full starting lineup all season ... junior Angie Harris--who missed 17 matches due to knee problems--led the nation in aces (0.67/gm) prior to missing the final 13 matches of the season, while Notre Dame as a team ranked as high as 5th before finishing the season with 1.73 aces/gm ... Birkner did not miss a match in her Notre Dame career (140) and played in 150 straight games ... Lee--who filled in at setter when May was injured--averaged 3.78 kills/gm after returning to hitter ... Notre Dame hit .261 in 18 matches with May at setter, .209 with her on the bench.
IRISH VOLLEYBALL CONTINUES TO EXCEL IN THE CLASSROOM: The Notre Dame volleyball team again turned in a solid academic showing during 1996-97, with eight players earning a spot on the Dean's List during the fall or spring semester, including six who posted a 3.20 GPA or higher in both semesters ... the Irish volleyball program posted a spring team GPA of 3.18, fourth-highest in the 25-sport Notre Dame athletic department behind women's lacrosse (3.27), women's soccer (3.25) and men's fencing (3.19) ... the volleyball team owns a 2.97 cumulative team GPA, with 12 other Irish teams owning cumulative team GPAs of 3.00 or higher ... the Irish volleyball class of '97 went out in style, as all four players graduated from Notre Dame with a cumulative GPA of 3.12 or higher ... senior OH Jen Briggs--an Academic All-America candidate--graduated with a 3.52 cumulative GPA as a double major in psychology and sociology, posting a 4.00 mark in her final semester ... senior opposite Jenny Birkner (business administration) also earned a spot on the Dean's List the past two semesters, including a 3.60 GPA in the fall of '96 ... senior OH Kristina Ervin joined Briggs as an Academic All-America nominee, graduating with a 3.49 cumulative GPA as an art studio major ... Ervin posted a 3.46 fall GPA before doing her student teaching in the spring ... senior MB Jennifer Rouse (sociology) ended her career with consecutive Dean's List semesters, including a 3.67 in the spring ... junior OH Jaimie Lee (sociology) also posted two Dean's List semesters during 1996-97, with a 3.60 in-season GPA during the fall ... Lee takes a 3.32 cumulative GPA into her senior season as a solid Academic All-America candidate ... Lee's classmate, setter Carey May (finance/computer applications), also has Academic All-America qualifications, with a 3.49 cumulative GPA after back-to-back semesters with a GPA above 3.50 ... junior MB Molly McCarthy (economics) turned in a Dean's List semester in the spring of '97 while sophomore MB Lindsay Treadwell (College of Arts and Letters) posted two semesters of 3.40 or better during 1996-97.
NOTRE DAME SIGNS ANOTHER TOP CLASS: The Notre Dame volleyball team has welcomed four highly-touted high school seniors to national letters of intent: 6-1 setter Denise Boylan (Lisle, IL), 6-3 middle blocker/outside hitter Christi Girton (Muncie, IN), 6-1 middle blocker/outside hitter Jo Jameyson (Alvin, TX) and 5-10 outside hitter Adrienne Shimmel (Mission Viejo, CA) ... Boylan, Girton and Jameyson were among Volleyball magazine's yearly list of Fab 50 high school recruits, boosting the Irish total to eight former Fab 50 selections among its 12 scholarship players for the 97 season ... Notre Dames three Fab 50 signees equaled the most by any school in the nation among the '97 recruiting class, matching the number signed by Stanford, Hawaii, Nebraska and UCLA ... the Irish lose 43% of their kills, 43% of their digs, 36% of their blocks and 33% of their aces with the departure of four seniors from the '96 team. IN THE FAMILY: Denise Boylan and Jo Jameyson both come from athletic families ... Boylans sister, Susan, will be a junior in 1997 on the volleyball team at Marquette University while her father, Michael, played basketball at Assumption College and in the American Basketball Association with the Kentucky Colonels (her uncle, Jim Boylan, played for Marquettes 1977 national championship basketball team) ... Jameysons sister, Katy, was a two-time volleyball All-American at the University of Texas and currently serves as an assistant at Alvin High School while her father, Jack, played football at the University of Houston. FROM NEAR AND FAR: The addition of the class of 2,001 gives Notre Dame five players from the state of Indiana (years based on 1997 status): senior hitter Angie Harris (Fort Wayne), senior middle Molly McCarthy (Indianapolis), sophomore hitter Mandi Powell (Monrovia), sophomore DS Theresa Seidle (Muncie) and freshman hitter/middle Christi Girton (Muncie), plus freshman setter Denise Boylan (Lisle) and sophomore opposite Lauren Stettin (Burr Ridge) from the Chicago area ... the remaining eight players hail from all parts of the country, including: three from California (senior setter Carey May, San Diego; junior DS Audra Duda, Woodland Hills; and freshman hitter Adrienne Shimmel, Mission Viejo); two from Texas (junior middle and Austin-native Lindsay Treadwell and freshman Houston-area native Jo Jameyson), plus one each from Minnesota (sophomore opposite and Blaine native Emily Schiebout), Florida (sophomore middle and Tampa native Mary Leffers) and Washington (Spokane native and senior hitter Jaimie Lee).