Nov. 4, 1997
Irish Back Home Vs. West Virginia and Pittsburgh, With Chance to Clinch First Place in BIG EAST
A WEEKEND AT HOME: The Notre Dame volleyball team (17-6)--winners of 11 of its last 12 matches--returns home this week for its final regular season home matches, vs. West Virginia (Nov. 7) and Pittsburgh (Nov. 9) ... the Pittsburgh match will be televised on a delayed basis by South Bend-based WHME-TV 46 (interested viewers should consult local listings) ... the Irish sit atop the BIG EAST Conference standings (7-0) and can clinch a spot in the six-team BIG EAST Tournament with one more conference win or one more loss by Seton Hall and Rutgers (which are tied for seventh at 3-4) ... Notre Dame--which concludes the BIG EAST regular season next week at Rutgers and Seton Hall--could this week clinch the regular season title, needing two wins this weekend and one loss by Villanova (the 6-1 Wildcats are at Seton Hall and Rutgers) ... the other teams currently in line for the BIG EAST Tournament include Connecticut (5-2), Pitt (5-2), Syracuse (4-3) and West Virginia (4-3) while 2-5 Georgetown could surge into a spot, as the Hoyas finish vs. Rutgers, Seton Hall, Boston College (1-6) and Providence (2-5) ... the Irish have won the last two BIG EAST titles and are 33-0 vs. BIG EAST teams over the past three seasons ...11 of Notre Dame's final 14 regular season matches are on the road (plus two potential BIG EAST championship matches) ... each of Notre Dame's six losses in '97 have come against ranked opponents, including four who are ranked in this week's AVCA top 10: #5 Wisconsin, #10 Washington State, #4 Florida and #8 Texas (the Irish also have lost to current #14 Texas A&M and #22 Colorado) ... Notre Dame's non-conference schedule includes eight teams in this week's AVCA top 20 and six in the top 10 (the above teams, plus #1 Long Beach State and #6 UC Santa Barbara) ... Notre Dame has not lost to a conference opponent during the tenure of head coach Debbie Brown (since 1991), going 70-0 over that stretch for the nation's longest active conference win streak ... in two-plus years of BIG EAST play, the Irish have posted three-game wins in 28 of 33 matches (Pitt has forced the Irish to four games three times while Villanova stretched the Irish to five in '96 and Boston College took a game from Notre Dame two weeks ago).
SENIOR SALUTE: Notre Dame's class of 1998--hitters Jaimie Lee and Angie Harris, setter Carey May and middle Molly McCarthy--will be playing the final regular season home matches of their career this weekend ... during their four-year career, Notre Dame has compiled a record of 99-29 for a .773 winning percentage that ranks fourth among all-time Irish classes (the class of '97 won 77.9 percent of its matches while the class of '95 won 79.5 percent) ... the senior class has helped Notre Dame advance to the NCAAs during each of the past three seasons, including a trip to the regional round in 1994 ... the Irish have gone 46-0 vs. conference opponents in the last four seasons, winning 138 of 146 conference games during that time ... each member of the senior class has posted at least one Dean's List semester at Notre Dame and the foursome has combined for eight Dean's List semesters ... the Irish have visited 20 different states--plus Washington, D.C. and Germany--during the seniors' career, with those trips including visits to Colorado, Florida, Georgia Hawaii, Nebraska, Texas and several cities in northern and southern California.
HARRIS-LEE MAKE CASE AS BEST KILL COMBO IN IRISH HISTORY: Notre Dame senior hitters and team co-captains Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee have turned in an impressive 1997 season that has established them as one of the top offensive duos in Notre Dame volleyball history ... in 1995, Harris (3.27) and Lee (3.91) became the only Irish teammates ever to average 3.9 kills-plus per game in the same season and this season they are on pace to both average above 4.1 kpg (Lee is at 4.22, Harris 4.14) ... Harris (1,412) and Lee (1,251) rank third and fifth on the Irish career kills list and their 2,663 combined kills rank just one behind 1989 graduates Zanette Bennett (1,471) and Maureen Shea (1,193) for the most combined kills ever between Notre Dame classmates ... Harris and Lee also rank first all-time among Notre Dame classmates for the following combined career statistics: 6.96 kills per game (Harris 3.93, Lee 3.03), 136 double-digit kill matches (Harris 78, Lee 58), 26 matches with 20-plus kills (Harris 16, Lee 10), 323 service aces (Harris 222, Lee 101) and 0.862 aces per game (Harris .618, Lee .245) ... Harris (32) and Lee (31) have combined for 63 matches with 10-plus kills and 10-plus digs, third-most by Irish classmates ... the all-time Irish classmate record for combined digs is held by 1993 graduates Jessica Fiebelkorn (1,324) and Alicia Turner (1,196), who totaled 2,520, followed by '95 grads Christy Peters (1,640) and Nicole Coates (638), who totaled 2,278, and Lee (1,054) and Harris (923), who take a combined did total of 1,977 into this week's action ... Harris needs 77 more digs for Harris and Lee to join Fiebelkorn and Turner as the second pair of Irish classmates in Notre Dame's 1,000 kills/1,000 digs club ... finally, Lee (.930) and Harris (.809) own a combined career-games-played percentage of .869 that trails only Shea (.918) and Bennett (.833), who appeared in a combined 87.6 percent of Notre Dame's games during their careers.
BROWN GOES FOR 300: Debbie Brown is 182-55 (.768) in six-plus seasons as head coach at Notre Dame and 299-138 (.684) in 11-plus seasons as a Division I head coach ... if Notre Dame wins its next three, Brown's 300th career coaching victory will come at home against West Virginia on Nov. 7 ... Brown 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 ... she 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 ... her 1993 Notre Dame team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals while the 1994 and '95 Irish squads advanced to the regional round of the NCAAs.
BIG EAST BESTS: Notre Dame's 7-0 start in BIG EAST play can be traced to the team's dominating statistical performances ... three Irish players sit atop the BIG EAST hitting pct. charts for conference games: senior hitter Jaimie Lee (.461), sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.444) and freshman opposite Christi Girton (.394) while senior hitter Angie Harris is sixth at .325 ... Lee's 4.55 kills per game in conference action ranks fourth in the BIG EAST ... Harris owns the second-best ace average (0.62/gm) in BIG EAST play ... Notre Dame's conference-leading .363 hitting pct. in BIG EAST matches is more than 100 points ahead of second-place Seton Hall (.249) ... the Irish also lead the BIG EAST with 17.00 kills/gm in league action (Villanova is next, at 15.54) while ranking fifth in both aces (1.64/gm) and blocks (2.64/gm) ... for the overall 1997 season, Notre Dame players ran among the BIG EAST leaders in kills (Lee is second, at 4.22/gm and Harris third at 4.14), aces (Harris is first, 0.53/gm), blocks (Leffers is first, 1.33/gm) and assists (freshman Denise Boylan is first, 11.90/gm) ... Leffers ranks fourth in overall hitting (.309) ... Notre Dame also leads the BIG EAST in overall hitting pct. (.269) and kill average (16.12/gm) while ranking fourth in blocks (2.73/gm).
CONFERENCE CALL: Notre Dame has won 70 consecutive matches against conference opponents--the longest active streak in the nation--beginning with the first conference match of the Debbie Brown era: a 3-0 win at Butler on Oct. 18, 1991 ... the current streak includes Notre Dame's final 37 matches in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (10 of which came in the MCC Tournament) and the first 33 in the BIG EAST (four coming in the BIG EAST Tournament) ... the Oct. 12 win at Providence moved Notre Dame past Nebraska (66, 1982-87) into fourth place on the list of all-time longest Division I women's volleyball conference win streaks (AIAW and NCAA), behind Western Michigan (98, 1982-89), Arkansas State (97, 1976-81) and Texas (73, 1984-91) ... the Irish could win six more matches vs. conference teams in 1997, which would push the streak past Texas's 73 into third all-time ... the current 70-match conference win streak has included 57 three-game wins (nine in postseason), 11 four-game wins (four in postseason) and just two five-game matches: vs. Loyola at the 1991 MCC Championship match, held at Butler (15-10, 7-15, 15-1, 14-16, 15-10) and at home vs. Villanova on Oct. 6, 1996 (13-15, 9-15, 15-9, 15-12, 15-12) ... 28 of Notre Dame's 33 BIG EAST wins have been 3-0, with the Irish beating Pittsburgh 3-1 three times (in '95 regular season and tournament and in '96 tournament) and topping Boston College 3-1 this season ... Central Florida has a current 61-match conference winning streak.
TOUGH IN THE MIDDLE: Notre Dame's starting middles--junior Lindsay Treadwell (Austin ,Texas) and sophomore Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.)--have established themselves as two of the top hitting leaders in Notre Dame volleyball history ... Leffers owns a .309 season hitting pct. that would rank fifth in Irish history ... Leffers' career hitting pct. has slipped back to .288, just behind Treadwell's .293 and Zanette Bennett's .289 (1985-88) among the top three spots in the Irish record book ... Treadwell is hitting .275 through 21 matches in 1997, after hitting .253 as a sophomore ... Leffers also ranks second in Irish history with for career block average (1.39/gm).
SETTING THE TABLE: Denise Boylan--the first freshman to open the season as Notre Dame's setter since 1988--has helped the Irish surge to a BIG EAST-leading .269 season hitting pct., which would rank second in team history (behind the 1995 team's .271) ... behind Boylan's setting and a veteran corps of hitters, the Notre Dame offense is running away with the BIG EAST offensive statistics ... the Irish are averaging .363 hitting (Seton Hall is second at .249) and 17.00 kills per game in league action (Villanova is next, at 15.54) ... Boylan leads the BIG EAST in overall matches with 11.90 assists/gm, which would rank fourth in Irish history ... she also ranks fourth on the '97 Irish squad with 152 digs (2.08/gm) while her other season totals include 50 kills on .275 hitting, 14 service aces (third on the team) and 43 blocks (two solos) ... Boylan is averaging an impressive 62 assists per ballhandling error during her freshman season (869/14) ... she is one of three members of Notre Dame's freshman class who were named to the Volleyball magazine national Fab 50 (the others are frontline players Christi Girton and Jo Jameyson).
LEE JOINS 1,000-DIGS/1,000-KILLS CLUB: Senior hitter Jaimie Lee assisted on a block on Sept. 20 vs. Texas A&M to move into a tie for 10th on the Notre Dame career blocks list and, in the process, became the only player in the Notre Dame career top 10 for hitting, kills, digs, aces, blocks and digs ... while Lee was reaching her milestone, freshman setter Denise Boylan bumped '97 grad Jenny Birkner from the same distinction ... Boylan's 28 assists at Colorado on Sept. 13 gave her 347 in her young career, moving her into 10th place on the Irish career assists list (a spot formally occupied by Birkner, who had 339; Boylan now is 7th with 869) ... Lee--who played middle as a freshman and served as a fill-in setter for the first half of '96--holds down the following career rankings at Notre Dame: 5th in digs (1,054), 5th in kills (1,251), 6th in hitting pct. (.270), 9th in assists (731), 9th in aces (101) and 9th in blocks (267) ... Lee heads into the week 48 kills behind Jessica Fiebelkorn (1,299; 1989-92) on the Irish career kills list ... her 10 digs at Texas on Oct. 21 pushed Lee over 1,000 for her career, allowing her to join Alicia Turner (1989-92), Fiebelkorn (1989-92), Christy Peters (1991-94) and Birkner as the fifth Notre Dame player ever to total 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs ... Lee has appeared in 97.7% (125 of 128) of Notre Dame's matches in her career, third best in Irish volleyball history ... she has played in 413 of 444 career games (.930), ranking behind only Birkner (.965) in Irish history ... 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.
23-MATCH CHECKUP: With the end of the regular season approaching, several Irish players remain on pace for noteworthy statistical campaigns ... senior hitters Jaimie Lee (4.22 kills/gm) and Angie Harris (4.14 kpg) currently own the fourth and fifth-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 over 3.9-kills per game in the same season (doing so in 1995, Harris at 4.27 kpg and Lee at 3.91) and each currently ranks among Notre Dame's top-four career kill average leaders (Harris is first at 3.93 kills/gm, Lee is fourth at 3.03 kpg) ... Harris (78) and Lee (58) also are the first Irish teammates to both post more than 50 career double-digit kill matches ... sophomore middle Mary Leffers' retains a .309 season hitting pct. that would rank fifth in Irish history ... Harris has posted five 20-plus kill matches in 1997, fifth-most in Irish history ... freshmen setter Denise Boylan's assist average of 11.90/gm would rank fourth in Irish history ... Harris' season ace avg. (0.53/gm) would be fourth in Irish history (she already owns the top three averages) ... Lee is averaging 3.16 digs/gm, giving her a combined kill/dig average of 7.38/gm that would rank third in Irish history .... as a team, Notre Dame's 16.12 kills per game would rank second in Irish history (just behind the '95 team's 16.32) while the team hitting pct. of .269 also would rank second, just behind the .271 mark in '95 ... the Irish passers have allowed just 1.31 opponent aces per game, which would rank fifth-best in team history.
IRISH NOTES: Notre Dame has averaged .329 team hitting during the current 11-1 run ... Notre Dame's starting lineup has an average height of 6-1 ... after going just 2-5 in five-game matches last season, the Irish have won all three of their five-game matches this season: vs. Oral Roberts (15-9 in the fifth game), Illinois State (15-9) and Houston (15-8) ... Notre Dame is 18-9 in five-game matches during the past six seasons (1992- ) ... the Irish returned 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 ... the Notre Dame volleyball team averaged 27.5 wins per season from 1991-96.
TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE: The 1997 Notre Dame volleyball team includes some of the best hitting combinations in the program's history ... senior hitters Jaimie Lee (4.22 kills/gm) and Angie Harris (4.14) are on pace to become the first Irish teammates to average over four kills per game in the same season ... sophomore middle Mary Leffers (2.77 kills/gm) gives the Irish the program's second-best hitting threesome, behind the 1987 trio of Zanette Bennett (4.03), Kathy Cunningham (3.43) and Maureen Shea (3.12) ... with junior middle Lindsay Treadwell (2.19) and surging freshman opposite Christi Girton (1.98) thrown into the mix, the Irish have one of its best ever group of starting hitters ... during the current 11-1 run, the production of Harris (4.15), Lee (3.97), Leffers (3.03) and Girton (2.65) is comparable to that of the '87 team (when Mary Kay Waller rounded out that foursome with 2.63 kpg), with Treadwell also averaging 2.18 kills/gm over the last 12 matches ... during the current 12-match run, Lee (.364), Girton (.357), Leffers (.342) and Harris (.326) all have posted impressive hitting pct. numbers, with Girton hitting .435-plus in seven of those matches.
ACE IN THE HOLE: Senior hitter Angie Harris continues to add to her prominence in the Irish record book ... she owns seven service ace records (including 222 in her career, a career average of 0.618/gm and nine in a match) while her career kill average of 3.93/gm would set a new Irish record in that category, surpassing the 3.82 set by '95 grad. Christy Peters ... Harris has 1,412 kills in her career, which trails only Peters (1,683) and Zanette Bennett (1,471; 1985-89) on the Irish career kills list ... her 78 career matches with double-digit kills rank 2nd only to Peters (80) ... Harris also ranks 2nd to only Peters (19) with 16 career 20-plus kill matches, including five in 1997 ... in terms of career double-double matches (kills/digs), Harris ranks 4th with 32, just two behind former teammate Jenny Birkner (1993-96) ... her career dig average of 2.57/gm ranks 7th all-time at Notre Dame ... Harris' 923 career digs rank 10th all-time, 13 behind Kathy Cunningham (1986-89), 36 behind Maureen Shea (1985-88) and 39 behind Brett Hensel (1992-95) ... Harris needs 77 digs to join classmate Jaimie Lee as the sixth Notre Dame player with 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.
DID YOU KNOW?: The Notre Dame volleyball, women's soccer and women's basketball teams posted a combined 148-38-2 record during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons (for a combined .790 winning percentage) ... Jaimie Lee was part of a Notre Dame team that travelled over 28,000 miles during the summer and fall of '96 ... after travelling to the Canada Cup and '97 World University Games, Lee could travel nearly 30,000 miles (from Aug. 4-Nov. 30) to play the game she loves.