Nov. 19, 1997
Irish Look to Claim Third Straight Big East Title
BACK TO GARDEN STATE: The Notre Dame volleyball team (21-6, 11-0 BIG EAST)--winners of eight straight and 15 of its last 16--heads back on the road this week for its eighth of nine roadtrips of the season ... the Irish--who won last week at Rutgers and Seton Hall--will make a return to Seton Hall's Walsh Gymnasium for the six-team BIG EAST Tournament, with the winner claiming an automatic NCAA Tournament bid ... the Irish hit .513 in the win at Seton Hall, second-best in team history and best since 1986 ... senior hitter Angie Harris was named BIG EAST co-player of the week after hitting .531 and averaging 5.17 kills/gm, including a .720 hitting day at Seton Hall (18 Kills, 0 errors on 25 swings) ... freshman opposite Christi Girton was named BIG EAST rookie of the week, after hitting .615 (17-1-26) ... Notre Dame, in quest of its third straight BIG EAST Tournament tile, will face the winner of the Saturday's first-round match between #4 seed Syracuse (24-11, 6-5) and #5 seed Pittsburgh (14-12, 6-5) in Saturday night's first semi-final (5:00 p.m.), with the championship match slated for Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ... the Irish are 37-0 vs. BIG EAST teams the past three seasons ...11 of Notre Dame's final 14 regular season matches are on the road (plus two potential BIG EAST Tournament 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 12: #5 Wisconsin, #12 Washington State, #4 Florida and #10 Texas (the Irish also have lost to current #17 Texas A&M and #22 Colorado) ... Notre Dame's non-conference schedule includes eight teams in this week's AVCA top 25 and six in the top 12 (the above teams, plus #1 Long Beach State and #6 UC Santa Barbara) ... Notre Dame has not lost to a conference opponent in the tenure of head coach Debbie Brown (since '91), going 74-0 for the nation's longest active conference win streak and third-longest in Division I women's volleyball history.
BIG EAST TOURNAMENT NOTES: #2 seed Villanova (19-7, 9-2) will play in the 7:00 p.m. semifinal and awaits the winner of the first-round match between #3 seed Connecticut (21-12, 8-3) and #6 West Virginia (15-12, 5-6) ... Notre Dame won at Syracuse on Oct. 25 (15-5, 15-7, 15-9) and leads its all-time series with Syracuse 5-1 ... Syracuse beat UConn in a memorable first-round BIG EAST match last season (winning 19-17 in game five) before losing to the Irish in the semi-finals (15-9, 15-6, 15-2) ... Notre Dame has lost just seven individual games vs. BIG EAST teams during the past three seasons, with Pittsburgh owning four of those game victories (during the 1995 and '97 regular season and in the '95 and '967 BIG EAST title matches) ... Villanova is the only BIG EAST team ever to extend the Irish to five games, doing so at Notre Dame on Oct. 6, 1996 (13-15, 9-15, 15-9, 15-12, 15-21) ... Notre Dame's other all-time series records vs. the BIG EAST field are as follows: Pittsburgh (9-3), Villanova (4-0), UConn (3-0) and West Virginia (4-1) ... Syracuse is hitting .188 as a team overall, .174 in BIG EAST play while averaging 1.57 aces/gm ... Syracuse's top players include Desiree Hobbs (tied for overall conference lead with 1.33 blocks/gm) and Julie Nicolson (fourth with 1.25 bpg) ... Rachel Watson (3.7 kills/gm, .192) and Dana Fiume (2.9, .202) are Syracuse's go-to hitters while the team's top servers are Hobbs (32 aces), Carrie Urton (31) and Shannon Jensen (24) ... Pittsburgh ranks fifth in the BIG EAST for hitting pct. in conference matches (.225) but is hitting just .205 overall ... the Panthers rank second in conference ace avg. (1.86/gm) and fourth in overall ace avg. (1.78/gm) ... Pitt's Jessica Van Der Maille ranks fourth in the BIG EAST with 0.40 overall aces/gm (32 total) while Peggy Meinhart's 1.26 blocks/gm in conference play ranks fourth ... Pittsburgh's attack is led by Marcia Thiesen (3.01 kpg, .195) and Van Der Maille (3.11, .202) ... Villanova is fourth in the BIG EAST for overall (.216) and conference hitting (.227) ... VU's Stacy Evans leads the BIG EAST with 4.87 kills/gm in conference play while her .313 hitting ranks seventh ... Marisa Davidson ranks third in the BIG EAST with 0.49 aces in conference play.
TOUGH SLATE: Notre Dame's 18-match 1997 non-conference streak includes eight teams currently in the AVCA top 25 and seven others--Louisville, Oral Roberts, Utah, Georgia, Illinois State, North Carolina and Houston--who have received votes in the AVCA poll during the '97 season ... the only Irish non-conference opponents who have not received AVCA poll votes this season are Gonzaga, New Mexico and Marquette.
ON A ROLL: Notre Dame has won 15 of its last 16 matches (eight straight) and could emerge from this week's BIG EAST Tournament with the program's first 10-match winning streak since the 1994 team won 12 straight from Oct. 26 to Nov. 20 of that season ... the potential 10-match winning streak would rank fourth in Irish history, behind a 17-match run in 1996, the 12-match streak in 1994 and an earlier 11-match run in '94.
FEARSOME FOURSOME: Notre Dame has hit .337 during its current 15-1 run, with four of its five starting hitters checking in with a hitting pct. of .340 or higher during that stretch: senior hitter Jaimie Lee (.380, 3.98 kills/gm), freshman opposite Christi Girton (.369, 2.60), sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.342, 3.02) and senior hitter Angie Harris (.349, 4.25) ... the fifth starting hitter, junior middle Lindsay Treadwell, has hit just .267 in the last 16 matches while averaging 2.04 kpg ... Treadwell ironically fared much better versus non-conference opponents this season than vs. BIG EAST teams, as she hit .298 and averaged 2.26 kills/gm in 16 matches vs. non-conference teams (including six AVCA top-25 teams) while hitting just .221 and averaging 1.84 kpg in 11 BIG EAST matches.
SENIOR SALUTE: Notre Dame's class of '98--hitters Jaimie Lee and Angie Harris, setter Carey May and middle Molly McCarthy--has helped the Irish volleyball team compiled a four-year record of 103-29 for a .780 winning pct. that ranks third among all-time Irish classes ... 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 50-0 vs. conference opponents in the last four seasons, winning 150 of 157 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 CLASSMATE COMBO: Notre Dame senior hitters and team co-captains Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee have established themselves as one of the top classmate duos in Irish volleyball history ... in '95, Harris (3.27) and Lee (3.91) became the only Irish teammates ever to average 3.9 kills-plus/gm in the same season and this season are on pace to both average above 4.1 kpg (Harris is at 4.20, Lee 4.19) ... Harris (1,471) and Lee (1,303) rank second and fourth on the Irish career kills list and their 2,774 combined kills rank first all-time among Irish classmates, passing the previous record held by '89 graduates Zanette Bennett (1,471) and Maureen Shea (1,193), who totaled 2,664 ... Harris and Lee rank first all-time among Notre Dame classmates with a 7.01 career kill average (Harris 3.95, Lee 3.06), 143 double-digit kill matches (Harris 82, Lee 61), 27 matches with 20-plus kills (Harris 16, Lee 11) and 328 service aces (Harris 228, Lee 100) ... Harris (33) and Lee (31) have combined for 64 matches with 10-plus kills and 10-plus digs, third-most by Irish classmates ... Harris needs 39 more digs for Harris and Lee to join Fiebelkorn and Turner as the second pair of Irish classmates the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs club ... finally, Lee (.932) and Harris (.814) own a combined career-games-played percentage of .873 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 GETS 300TH WIN: Debbie Brown is 186-55 (.772) in six-plus seasons as head coach at Notre Dame and 303-138 (.687) in 12-plus seasons as a Division I head coach ... Brown's 300th career victory came in the Nov. 7 home win over West Virginia (3-0) ... 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 11-0 finish in the BIG EAST regular season can be traced to the team's dominating statistics ... three Irish players finished atop the BIG EAST hitting charts for conference games: senior hitter Jaimie Lee (.451), sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.410) and freshman opposite Christi Girton (.401) while senior hitter Angie Harris finished sixth (.362) ... Lee's 4.33 kills/ gm in conference action ranked sixth in the BIG EAST ... Harris owns the second-best ace average (0.56/gm) in BIG EAST play ... Notre Dame's conference-leading .363 hitting pct. in BIG EAST matches was nearly 120 points ahead of second-place Seton Hall (.246) ... the Irish also led the BIG EAST with 16.69 kills/gm in league action while ranking third in aces (1.80/gm) and fifth in blocks (2.43/gm) ... for the overall '97 season, Notre Dame players rank among the BIG EAST leaders in kills (Harris is third at 4.20/gm, Lee fourth at 4.19), aces (Harris is second, 0.52/gm), blocks (Leffers is third, 1.32/gm, just .01 out of first) and assists (freshman Denise Boylan is first, 11.76/gm) ... Leffers ranks third in overall hitting (.312) while Lee is fourth at .305 and Girton fifth at .298 ... Notre Dame leads the BIG EAST in overall hitting pct. (.281, well ahead of Seton Hall's .243) and kill average (16.13/gm) while ranking fourth in blocks (2.64/gm).
CONFERENCE CALL: Notre Dame has won 74 straight 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 37 in the BIG EAST (four coming in the BIG EAST Tournament) ... the Nov. 16 win at Seton Hall moved the Irish past Texas (73, 1984-91) into third place on the all-time Division I volleyball conference win streak list (NCAA and AIAW) behind Western Michigan (98, 1982-89) and Arkansas State (97, 1976-81) and Texas (73, 1984-91) ... the current 74-match conference win streak has included 60 three-game wins (nine in postseason), 12 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) ... 29 of Notre Dame's 35 BIG EAST wins have been 3-0, with the Irish beating Pittsburgh 3-1 four times (including last weekend) and topping Boston College 3-1 earlier this season ... Central Florida currently owns a 61-match conference winning streak.
TOUGH MIDDLES: 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 .312 season hitting pct. that would rank fifth in Irish history ... Leffers' career hitting pct. of .291 ranks second in Irish history, just behind Treadwell's .292 ... Treadwell's season hitting in 1997 stands at .272, after hitting .253 as a sophomore and .367 as a freshman (third in Irish history) ... Leffers, who hit .272 as a freshman, ranks second in Irish history with for career block avg. (1.38/gm) and eighth for career kill avg. (2.62/gm).
LEE A STANDARD: Senior hitter Jaimie Lee assisted on a block on Sept. 20 vs. Texas A&M to move into a tie for 10th on the Irish career blocks list, becoming 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 988) ... 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: 4th in kills (1,303), 5th in digs (1,076), 6th in hitting pct. (.275), 9th in assists (733), 9th in aces (100) and 10th in blocks (270) ... Lee's 10 digs at Texas on Oct. 21 pushed her 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% (129 of 132) of Notre Dame's matches in her career, third best in Irish volleyball history ... she has played in 426 of 457 career games (.932), ranking behind only Birkner (.965) in Irish history ... Lee needs to play in 24 more games this season to become the fifth Irish player ever to log 450 in her career ... she needs to appear in seven more matches to move into fifth on that all-time list.
SETTING THE TABLE: Denise Boylan--the first freshman to open the season as Notre Dame's setter since '88--has helped the Irish surge to a BIG EAST-leading .281 season hitting pct., which would best the team record of .271 set in '95 ... behind Boylan's setting and a veteran hitting group, the Irish offense ran away with the BIG EAST offensive stats ... the Irish hit .363 (Seton Hall was second at .246) and averaged 16.69 kills/gm in league action ... Boylan leads the BIG EAST in overall matches with 11.76 assists/gm, which would rank fourth in Irish history ... she also ranks fourth on the '97 Irish squad with 160 digs (1.90/gm) while her other season totals include 59 kills on .287 hitting, 21 service aces (second on the team) and 48 blocks (three solos) ... Boylan is averaging an impressive 52 assists per ballhandling error during her freshman season (988/19) ... 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 hitters/middle blockers Christi Girton and Jo Jameyson).
27-MATCH CHECKUP: With the end of the regular season approaching, several Irish players remain on pace for noteworthy statistical campaigns ... senior hitters Angie Harris (4.20 kpg) and Jaimie Lee (4.19 kills/gm) 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 3.95 kills/gm, Lee is fourth at 3.06 kpg) ... Harris (82) and Lee (61) also are the first Irish teammates to both post more than 50 career double-digit kill matches ... sophomore middle Mary Leffers' owns a .312 season hitting pct. that would rank fifth in Irish history and second-best by a Notre Dame player since 1991 ... Harris has posted five 20-plus kill matches in 1997, fifth-most in Irish history ... freshmen setter Denise Boylan's assist average of 11.76/gm would rank fourth in Irish history ... Harris' season ace avg. (0.52/gm) would be fourth in Irish history (she already owns the top three averages) ... Lee is averaging 2.93 digs/gm, giving her a combined kill/dig average of 7.12/gm that would rank third in Irish history .... as a team, Notre Dame's 16.13 kills per game would rank second in Irish history (behind the '95 team's 16.32) while the team hitting pct. of .281 is on pace to best the team record (.271) set in '95 ... the Irish passers have allowed just 1.22 opponent aces per game, which would rank third-best in team history.
TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE: The '97 Notre Dame volleyball team includes some of the best hitting combinations in the program's history ... senior hitters Jaimie Lee (4.19 kills/gm) and Angie Harris (4.20) are on pace to become the first Irish teammates to average over four kills per game in the same season ... sophomore middle Mary Leffers (2.80 kills/gm) gives the Irish the program's second-best hitting threesome, behind the '87 trio of Zanette Bennett (4.03), Kathy Cunningham (3.43) and Maureen Shea (3.12) ... with junior middle Lindsay Treadwell (2.11) and surging freshman opposite Christi Girton (2.06) in the mix, the Irish have one the best groups of starting hitters in the program's history ... during the current 15-1 run, the production of Harris (4.25), Lee (3.98), Leffers (3.02) and Girton (2.60) is comparable to that of the '87 team's season totals (when Mary Kay Waller rounded out that foursome with 2.63 kpg), with Treadwell also averaging 2.04 kills/gm over the last 16 matches ... during the current 15-1 run, Lee (.380), Girton (.369), Harris (.349) and Leffers (.342) have posted impressive hitting numbers, with Girton hitting .435-plus in nine of those matches .. the team is hitting .337 in the current run while the Irish have held the opposition to a combined .174 hitting during those 16 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 228 in her career, a career average of 0.613/gm and nine in a match) while her career kill average of 3.95/gm would set a new Irish record in that category, surpassing the 3.82 set by '95 grad. Christy Peters ... Harris has 1,471 kills in her career, which ties her with Zanette Bennett (1985-89) on the Irish career kills list, trailing only Peters (1,683) ... Harris' 82 career matches with double-digit kills bested Peters' record (80) ... Harris 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 33, just one behind former teammate Jenny Birkner (1993-96) ... her career dig average of 2.59/gm ranks 7th all-time at Notre Dame ... Harris' 961 career digs rank 8th all-time, one behind Brett Hensel (1992-95) ... Harris needs 39 digs to join classmate Jaimie Lee as the sixth Notre Dame player with 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.
No. Player Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown/High School 1997 Stats 2 Denise Boylan S 6-1 Fr. Lisle, IL/Benet Academy .281 team hitting, 988 asts/19 BHE, 11.76 apg, 21 aces, 1.90 digs/gm 4 Jaimie Lee OH 5-11 Sr. Spokane, WA/Ferris 4.19 kills/gm, .305 hitting, 2.93 digs/gm, 19 aces 6 Angie Harris OH 6-0 Sr. Fort Wayne, IN/Bishop Luers 4.20 kills/gm, .283 hitting, 48 aces (0.52/gm), 2.62 digs/gm 7 Christi Girton OPP 6-3 Fr. Muncie, IN/Muncie Central 2.06 kills/gm, .298 hitting, 1.49 digs/gm, 51 blocks (0.73/gm) 8 Mary Leffers MB 6-4 So. Tampa, FL/Berkeley Prep 2.80 kills/gm, .312 hitting, 1.32 blocks/gm, 16 aces 13 Lindsay Treadwell MB 5-11 Jr. Austin, TX/Austin 2.11 kills/gm, .272 hitting, 2.20 digs/gm, 13 aces, 1.04 blocks/gm No. Player Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown/High School 1997 Stats 1 Audra Duda DS 5-7 Jr. Woodland Hills, CA/Louisville 3 aces, 6 digs 3 Carey May S 5-9 Sr. Rancho Santa Fe, CA/Torrey Pines 231 assists (10.04/gm), 6 kills, 41 digs, 9 block assists 5 Emily Schiebout OPP 6-1 So. Blaine, MN/Concordia 1.84 kills/gm, .216 hitting , 0.95 blocks/gm, 8 aces 9 Jo Jameyson MB 6-1 Fr. Alvin, TX/Alvin 21 kills, .282 hitting, 25 digs, 3 aces, 6 block assists 10 Lauren Stettin OPP 6-0 So. Burr Ridge, IL/Hinsdale 11 Mandi Powell OH 6-0 So. Monroeville, IN/Monrovia 28 kills, .084 hitting, 63 digs (1.47/gm), 2 aces, 2 block assists 12 Adrienne Shimmel OH 5-11 Fr. Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley 49 digs (0.75/gm), 8 kills, 2 block assists 14 Molly McCarthy MB 6-0 Sr. Indianapolis, IN/Cathedral 22 kills, 103 digs (1.41/gm), 1 ace, 6 block assists 16 Katie Ward MB 6-0 Fr. Chicago, IL/Degina Dominica 1 kill, 1 ace USA Today/AVCA Top 25 (11/18) Team (1st place votes) W-L Points 1. Long Beach St. (45) 25-1 1481 2. Penn State (6) 25-1 1424 3. Stanford (8) 26-2 1395 4. Florida (1) 28-1 1334 5. Wisconsin 24-2 1256 6. UC Santa Barbara 26-3 1200 7. USC 20-4 1134 8. Brigham Young 23-5 1071 9. Arizona 19-5 964 10. Texas 21-4 952 11. Nebraska 21-6 866 12. Washington State 22-6 791 13. Pepperdine 22-3 764 14. Hawaii 23-5 675 15. Washington 16-9 635 16. Maryland 25-0 632 17. Texas A&M 20-6 590 18. Univ. of the Pacific 19-7 465 19. Loyola Marymount 21-5 398 20. Colorado State 24-4 390 21. San Diego 23-3 370 22. Colorado 17-7 285 23. Arkansas 25-5 185 24. Ohio State 20-8 93 25. UCLA 12-11 49
Others receiving votes: Michigan State (26), South Florida (15), Texas Tech (10), Central Florida (8), South Carolina (8), Florida State (7), Minnesota (7), Notre Dame (5), Oral Roberts (5), Illinois State (5), Miami, OH (3), Clemson (2), Ball State (1), Michigan (1), No. Illinois (1), Utah (1).
Notre Dame Volleyball Career Leaders