Dec. 12, 1997
Irish Head to NCAA Central Regional
The Notre Dame volleyball team (25-8) continues play in the NCAA Tournament this week at the Central Regional in Madison, Wis. ... the Irish, who have advanced to the regional round for the third time in the last four years, will face the region's top seed and the nation's #4-ranked team Wisconsin on Sat., Dec. 13 at approximately 5:00 p.m., with the winner to face the winner of the earlier match between #6 Florida and #11 Washington State in the regional final on Sunday, Dec. 14 (1:00 p.m.) ... the regional champion will advance to the NCAA semifinals, to be held at the Spokane (Wash.) Arena on Dec. 18 (followed by the final on Dec. 20) ... Notre Dame faced each of the other three teams in the Central Regional earlier this season, losing to each in a span of 10 days (Aug. 30-Sept. 8) ... the Irish have encountered two previous rematches in NCAA Tournament play, beating Penn State in 1988 and Nebraska in 1993 ... Notre Dame senior hitter Jaimie Lee is two victories away from fulfilling her dream of playing in the NCAA Championship in her hometown of Spokane ... the Irish, who won the BIG EAST Tournament to claim an automatic NCAA bid, are making their sixth straight NCAA appearance and seventh in the last 10 years ... a win over Wisconsin would send the Irish to their second regional final (Notre Dame pulled off a thrilling five-game upset of regional host Minnesota in 1993 before losing to Penn State) ... Lee has 100 kills in the last five matches (5.56/gm) while her fellow senior hitter Angie Harris has recorded 10-plus kills in 27 matches this season, including 19 of the last 20 ... Harris (1,560) and Lee (1,415) have combined for nearly 3,000 kills in their career ... three of Notre Dame's top eight players are Indiana natives: Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.), freshman opposite Christi Girton (Muncie) and senior Molly McCarthy (Indianapolis).
BATTLE-TESTED: All of Notre Dame's eight losses have come vs. ranked opponents and each of those teams has advanced to the NCAA Regionals: Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Florida, Washington State, Long Beach State, Colorado, Texas and UC Santa Barbara ... those eight teams have a combined record of 221-37 (average 28-5).
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Notre Dame's first 10 roadtrips of the season--all by air--covered 18,300 miles and 42 flights ... the Wisconsin match will represent Notre Dame's 16th match away from home in the last 19 and its fifth straight weekend on the road (Rutgers/Seton Hall, BIG EAST Tournament at Seton Hall, Long Beach Tournament, Arkansas sub-regional) ... the Irish this week will welcome their first bus trip of the season.
SEE YOU IN MADISON: Three Notre Dame teams will be competing at the University of Wisconsin this week ... the women's basketball team lost 89-77 to the #18 Badgers on Monday, Dec. 8 but the Notre Dame hockey team came away with a 4-2 win at Dane Coliseum on Wednesday the 10th ... the schools will meet again in hockey on Fri., Dec. 12 at Notre Dame ... the Notre Dame and Wisconsin volleyball teams will complete the week of Irish-vs.-Badgers competition with their NCAA Regional matchup on Saturday, Dec. 13th at the Wisconsin Field House (5:00 p.m.).
Notre Dame's Probable Starting Lineup No. Player Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown/High School 1997 Stats 2 Denise Boylan S 6-1 Fr. Lisle, IL/Benet Academy .277 team hitting, 1277 asts/23 BHE, 12.16 apg, 23 aces, 1.83 digs/gm 4 Jaimie Lee OH 5-11 Sr. Spokane, WA/Ferris 4.42 kills/gm, .302 hitting, 2.88 digs/gm, 22 aces 6 Angie Harris OH 6-0 Sr. Fort Wayne, IN/Bishop Luers 4.20 kills/gm, .269 hitting, 57 aces (0.50/gm), 2.65 digs/gm 7 Christi Girton OPP 6-3 Fr. Muncie, IN/Muncie Central 1.91 kills/gm, .250 hitting, 1.36 digs/gm, 65 blocks (0.73/gm) 8 Mary Leffers MB 6-4 So. Tampa, FL/Berkeley Prep 2.88 kills/gm, .316 hitting, 1.26 blocks/gm, 19 aces 13 Lindsay Treadwell MB 5-11 Jr. Austin, TX/Austin 2.20 kills/gm, .299 hitting, 2.30 digs/gm, 14 aces, 1.15 blocks/gm Off the Bench No. Player Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown/High School 1997 Stats 3 Carey May S 5-9 Sr. Rancho Santa Fe, CA/Torrey Pines 249 assists (9.58/gm), 7 kills, 43 digs, 10 block assists 9 Jo Jameyson MB 6-1 Fr. Alvin, TX/Alvin 32 kills (1.23/gm), .239 hitting, 30 digs, 5 aces, 12 block assists 12 Adrienne Shimmel OH 5-11 Fr. Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley 92 digs (1.07/gm), 8 kills, 2 block assists 14 Molly McCarthy MB 6-0 Sr. Indianapolis, IN/Cathedral 24 kills, 128 digs (1.36/gm), 1 ace, 6 block assists
IRISH NCAA HISTORY: Notre Dame has advanced to six straight NCAAs and seven of the last 10, including an appearance in the '93 Mideast regional final (a 3-0 loss to Penn St.) ... the Irish are 8-6 all-time in the NCAAs, including a 1st-round home win last season over Hofstra (3-0) and a 5-game home loss to Ohio St. the next week in the 2nd round.
Year NCAA Record Advanced to Final Record 1988 1-1 Second round 19-12 1992 0-1 First round 30-8 1993 2-1 Mideast regional final 27-8 1994 1-1 Mideast regional 33-4 1995 1-1 Pacific regional 27-7 1996 1-1 Second round 22-121997 2-0
LEE NAMED TO ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA TEAM: Notre Dame senior outside hitter Jaimie Lee (Spokane, Wash.) was been named on Dec. 10 to the GTE Academic All-America second team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America ... Stanford senior outside hitter Kristin Folkl was one of six players named to the first team and was selected Academic All-America of the Year ... Lee, who owns a 3.341 cumulative GPA as a sociology major, was one of six players named to the second team while six players also were named to the third team ... Lee is the Notre Dame volleyball program's third Academic All-American, following in the footsteps of middle blocker Jessica Fiebelkorn and setter Janelle Karlan, who both were named to the second team in 1992 ... Lee--who also has been nominated by the Notre Dame Athletic Department for the prestigious NCAA Top VIII Award--has posted a GPA of better than 3.0 in each of her six semesters at Notre Dame, including two Dean's List semesters (3.4-plus) during her junior year ... three Notre Dame 1997 opponents--all senior outside hitters--joined Lee as Academic All-America selections: Marquette's Martha Meyer (first team), Seton Hall's Jennifer Cheshire (second team) and Illinois State's Kristi Geary (third team).
1997 GTE Academic All-America Women's Volleyball Team: 1st Team: Liz Cothren (Ball State, MB, sr., 3.706, pre-medical, Muncie, IN), Amy Steele Gant (Brigham Young, MB, sr., 3.78, sports medicine. Laguna Hills, CA), Kristin Folkl (Stanford, OH, sr., 3.46, economics, St. Louis, MO), Vendula Kurcova (American, OH, jr., 3.95, business administration, Sokolov, Czech Republic), Martha Meyer (Marquette, OH, sr., 3.913, business administration, Waupun, Wis.). 2nd Team: Sara Andert (Southwest Missouri State, MB, sr., 3.96, elementary education, Alexandria, MN), Jennifer Cheshire (Seton Hall, OH, sr., 3.65, criminal justice/Spanish, Albuquerque, NM), Alaina Kipps (Southern California, MB, jr., 4.0, psycho-biology, Santa Cruz, CA), Jaimie Lee (Notre Dame, OH, sr., 3.341, sociology, Spokane, WA), Jessica Stout (Miami, S, sr., 3.69, exercise science/pre-medical, Hagerstown, IN), Michelle Witzke (Southwest Missouri State, OH, sr., 3.77, accounting, Addison, IL). 3rd Team: Casey Crisler (Oregon, S, sr., 4.01, fine and applied arts, Bend, OR), Wendy Feldman (Central Michigan, MH, jr., 3.94, accounting, Almont, MI), Kristi Geary (Illinois State, OH, sr., 3.97, agribusiness, Gaithersburg, MD), Elissa Hart (Harvard, MB, sr., 3.682, literature, Sacramento, CA), Rachel Melchiorre (Tennessee Tech, OH, sr., 3.85, secondary education, Hilliard, OH), Cindy Vojtech (Fordham, OH, so., 4.0, finance, Garden Grove, CA).
AVCA TABS BROWN AS DISTRICT I COACH OF THE YEAR: Seventh-year Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown was named the District I coach of the year on Dec. 10, as selected by members of the American Volleyball Coaches Association ... Brown has been named district/regional coach of the year three times in the past six seasons, earning Mideast Region coach of the year honors in 1992 and '93 (the AVCA switched from regional to district awards in 1995) ... she has been named conference coach of the year in six of the last 10 seasons ... Brown joins the other seven district coaches of the year as finalists for the AVCA national coach of the year, which will be announced on Dec. 17, the day before the NCAA semi-finals ... the coaches from Notre Dame's upcoming opponent--Wisconsin (John Cook)-- and last opponent--Arkansas (Chris Poole)--were named their respective district coach of the year, as were two other head coaches of 1997 Irish opponents: Pi'u Aiu (Colorado, District 5) and Brian Gimmillaro (Long Beach State, District 7).
1997 AVCA DISTRICT COACHES OF THE YEAR
FOUR IRISH PLAYERS NAMED ALL-DISTRICT: Four Notre Dame players were named on Dec. 10 to the 12-player All-District I team ... senior hitter Jaimie Lee (Spokane, Wash.) was one of six players in the nation to receive All-District honors for the third time in her career, among the 96 players named to the eight 1997 All-District teams ... Florida middle blocker Nina Foster (District 4) and Stanford hitter Kristin Folkl (District 8) were named all-district for the fourth time in their career ... joining Lee on the All-District team were Irish senior hitter and team co-captain Angie Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.), sophomore middle blocker Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.) and freshman setter Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.) ... Harris, who has bounced back from an injury-plagued junior season, also received all-district honors in 1995 ... the players now are eligible for national recognition, as the AVCA will announce its All-America teams (12 on the first team, 12 on the second team) on Dec. 17, the day before the NCAA semi-finals ... Lee is the fourth Notre Dame player to receive three all-district/all-region awards during her career ... prior to 1995, the AVCA named six players each to the first, second and third team all-region squads (with only four regions, as opposed to the current eight districts) ... Irish outside hitter Christy Peters was a second team all-Mideast region selection in 1992 and first team all-region in '93 and '94 while setter Janelle Karlan was second team all-region from 1991-93 ... former Notre Dame rightside hitter Jenny Birkner earned third team all-region honors in 1994 and all-district recognition in '95 and '96 ... Notre Dame joined Penn State and Arkansas as the only teams with four all-district selections, matching the most ever for the Notre Dame program (Lee, Harris, Birkner and Carey May were all-district in 1995) ... players from Notre Dame's 1997 opponents accounted for 27 of the all-district selections ... three players from Notre Dame's upcoming NCAA Tournament regional opponent, Wisconsin, were named to the All-District 2 team: sophomore middle blocker Kelly Kennedy, senior opposite Amy Lee and junior setter Colleen Neels.
1997 AVCA ALL-DISTRICT TEAMS (* = number of times named to all-district team)
2: **Bonnie Bremner (Penn State, S), **Lauren Cacciamani (Penn State, MB), Christy Cochran (Penn State, OH), Julie Flatley (Indiana, OPP), Kelly Kennedy (Wisconsin, MB), Amy Lee (Wisconsin, OPP), Linnea Mendoza (Michigan, S), Colleen Neels (Wisconsin, S), Becky Stewart (Northern Illinois, MB), Jessica Stout (Miami, Ohio, S), Jenna Wrobel (Michigan State, OH), ***Terri Zemaitis (Penn State, MB).
3: Fiona Bolten (Florida State, S), Alison Coday (Clemson, OH), **Elizabeth Efron (Maryland, OPP), Carla Gartner (Georgia Tech, OPP), **Rochelle Komula (Georgia Tech, MB), **Eden Kroeger (Maryland, S), **Olga Matejickova (George Mason, MB), Danielle Olein (Georgia Tech, MB), **Lori Price (William & Mary, S), **Tori Seibert (North Carolina, MB), Cindy Stern (Clemson, MB), Jamie Summers (Maryland, MB).
4: ***Ashley Edlund (South Carolina, S), Jessica Field (Arkansas, MB), ****Nina Foster (Florida, MB), Jaunelle Hamilton (Auburn, MB), **Tyra Harper (Central Florida, MB), **Heather Larkin (South Carolina, MB), Jenny Manz (Florida, OPP), Krystal Osborne (Arkansas, OH), **Tina Rico (Arkansas, S), **Aurymar Rodriguez (Florida, OH), Yarleen Santiago (Arkansas, MB), Kathy Vis (Georgia, MB).
5: **Patrice Arrington (Oklahoma, OH), Lakishe Bledsoe (Texas, MB), Brande Brown (Texas Tech, MB), Kendra Haselhorst (Illinois State, OH), Lisa Hilgers (Texas Tech, S), Sarah Lodge (Colorado, OH), **Fiona Nepo (Nebraska, S), ***Lisa Reitsma (Nebraska, OPP), **Demetria Sance (Texas, OH), **Kristie Smedsrud (Texas A&M, OH), **Stacy Sykora (Texas A&M, OH), Val Wieck (Kansas State, MB).
6: **Paula Araujo (South Florida, OH), Sonya Gubaidulina (Louisville, OH), **Jennifer Kintzel (Butler, S), Keelyn Krill (Wisconsin-Milwaukee, OH), Emily Leffers (Houston, OH), Rachel Melchiorre (Tennessee Tech, OH), **Tuba Meto (Southeast Missouri State, S), **Amy Pickett (Butler, MB), Sarah Runka (South Florida, S), **Becky Tenkman (Cincinnati, MB), Julie Tretten (Saint Louis, MB), **Debbie Vokes (Houston, OH).
7: **Katie Crawford (UC Santa Barbara, MB), Nique Crump (Long Beach State, MB), Benishe Dillard (Long Beach State, MB), **Roberta Gehlke (UC Santa Barbara, OH), Cecelia Goods (Hawaii, MB), **Addie Hauschild (Pacific, MB), **Misty May (Long Beach State, S), Diana Nalbandian (Fresno State, OH), Janie Penfield (Colorado State, OPP), Korie Rogers (Brigham Young, OPP), Rainie Rogers (Colorado State, OH), ***Amy Steele Gant (Brigham Young, MB).
8: Kim Coleman (UCLA, S), Makare Desilets (Washington, MB), Kim Exner (Eastern Washington, MB), ****Kristin Folkl (Stanford, OH), Jennifer Kessy (USC, OH), **Jasmina Marinkovic (USC, MB), Kara Milling (UCLA, OPP), LaManda Mounts (San Diego, OPP), **Sarah Noriega (Loyola Marymount, OPP), ***Lisa Sharpley (Stanford, S), **Kerri Walsh (Stanford, OPP).
CRUNCH TIME: Notre Dame is 8-2 in NCAA Tournament games that have been decided by two points, including victories in six straight oh-so-close games ... most recently, the Irish came back from deficits of 10-6 and 13-10 and then regrouped after three missed match points to score the final two points for a 16-14 win in the fourth game at Arkansas ... the Irish also beat Iowa State 16-14 in game two of a 3-0 win in the 1995 first round (at Notre Dame) ... the second-round home win over Pittsburgh saw the Irish close with two 15-13 games for a four-game win ... the upset of regional host Minnesota in 1993 featured 15-13 Irish wins in games three and five ... Notre Dame's bid for an upset at Penn State in the 1992 first round took a hit when the Lions won game one 15-13 (PSU won in three) ... Notre Dame's 3-1 home win over PSU in the 1988 first round included a 15-13 win in game one and a 14-16 loss in game two ... the Irish took game four the next week at Illinois, 15-13, but the Illini took game five ... Notre Dame was just 2-9 in two-point games last season before improving to 6-7 in those close games during 1997.
CENTER OF ATTENTION: Notre Dame was placed in the central region for the second consecutive season, after competing in the Mideast in '93 and '94 and the Pacific in '95 ... the Irish beat regional host Minnesota in '93 (15-9, 11-15, 15-13, 11-15, 15-13) but lost to Penn State in the regional final (12-15, 5-15, 12-15) ... PSU ended Notre Dame's season in the '94 regional semi-finals, at Nebraska (4-15, 6-15, 2-15) ... Oral Roberts beat the Irish in the '95 regional round, at Stanford (9-15, 11-15, 4-15).
PAST REMATCHES: In its six previous NCAA Tournament seasons, Notre Dame has faced a rematch of a regular-season match twice--and come out on the winning side both times ... the Irish face a similar challenge this week in the NCAA Central Regional semi-finals vs. Wisconsin ... the same would be true if Notre Dame advances, as the Irish this season have played both of the potential regional finalists: Florida and Washington State ... in 1988, Notre Dame lost its final regular-season match vs. Penn State at the Texas Invitational (6-15, 15-12, 13-15, 15-3, 2-15) but returned the favor a week later by beating the Nittany Lions in a first-round NCAA Tournament match at Notre Dame (15-13, 15-10, 14-16, 15-10) ... five years later, home-standing Notre Dame posted a stunning upset of #3 Nebraska (15-8, 15-7, 3-15, 15-10) on Sept. 25. 1993 ... the Irish then received a bye in the NCAAs and opened postseason play at home vs. Nebraska (which had slipped to #8), with the Irish again coming through in the clutch with a three-game win (15-11, 15-10, 15-8).
VS. TOP-FIVE TEAMS: Notre Dame is 17-39 vs. ranked teams during the Debbie Brown era ... the Irish have faced 13 teams ranked in the AVCA top five at the time of the match, with the lone win coming on Sept. 25, 1993 vs. #3 Nebraska--a 15-8, 15-7, 3-15, 15-10 win that helped catapult the Irish to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals ... during the past two seasons, Notre Dame has played five matches vs. top-five teams, losing last season to #2 Stanford (0-3), #5 Penn State (1-3, in Chicago) and twice in three games at #1 Hawaii before losing at home this season to then-#2 Florida (1-3), losing to #5 UCSB at Long Beach (1-3) and falling to #1 LBSU the next day (0-3) ... Notre Dame's other matchups vs. top-five teams in the Brown era are as follows: vs. #3 Long Beach in 1992 (0-3), vs. #2 LBSU in Chicago in '93 (0-3), vs. #4 BYU at UOP in '93 (0-3) and at #4 Stanford in '95 (1-3).
ROAD UPSETS: Notre Dame has defeated five ranked teams on their home courts during the Debbie Brown era (1991- ), including a pair of wins in 1992--3-2 at #13 New Mexico and 3-0 at #21 Hawaii--and three wins in 1994: at #15 Colorado (3-1), #15 Texas (3-1) and #9 Florida (3-1) ... the Irish also beat #16 Ohio State (3-0) in 1992 at Southwest Missouri and downed #9 Illinois (3-2) in 1993 at the Reebok Challenge in Chicago.
IRISH FAMILIAR WITH BIG 10 IN POSTSEASON: The upcoming Wisconsin match will provide the Notre Dame volleyball program with its fifth different Big Ten Conference opponent in seven years of NCAA Tournament play ... the Irish lost last season to Ohio State in the second round (3-2), beat host Minnesota in the 1993 Mideast Regional (3-2) and lost at Illinois in the 1988 second round (3-2) ... Penn State ended Notre Dame's season in the 1992 NCAA second round, 1993 Mideast regional final and 1994 Mideast regional semi-finals.
PLAYING THE FIELD: Notre Dame played 13 regular-season matches (going 5-8) vs. teams in the '97 NCAAs, including two wins vs. BIG EAST foe Villanova ... Notre Dame's 18-match non-conference schedule included 11 teams that qualified for the '97 NCAAs: Oral Roberts (3-2), Wisconsin (1-3), Washington State (0-3), Florida (1-3), Colorado (0-3), Texas A&M (0-3), Illinois State (3-2), Texas (1-3), Houston (3-2), UC Santa Barbara (1-3) and Long Beach State (0-3) ... of Notre Dame's seven non-conference opponents that did not make the NCAAs, four received votes in the AVCA poll during '97: Louisville, Utah, Georgia and North Carolina ... Gonzaga, New Mexico and Marquette did not receive AVCA poll votes this season, although Marquette was ranked among the top-10 teams in District 6.
FAMILIARITY: Prior to the 1997 NCAAs, Notre Dame previously had faced 37 of the other 55 teams in the tournament field and has played 36 of those teams in the seven-year tenure of Debbie Brown ... Notre Dame has faced 30 of those teams in the past four years ... in the last two seasons, the Irish have faced 22 teams in the '97 NCAAs: the 12 this season plus UOP, Penn State, Stanford, Hawaii, Ohio State, Central Florida, Clemson, Hofstra, South Carolina and Michigan in '96 ... the Irish also faced Nebraska, USC and Oklahoma in '95 and Michigan State, LMU, Butler, Florida State and Northern Illinois in '94.
NEW NCAA FORMAT: The NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament has expanded from 48 to 56 teams this season while also introducing sub-regionals ... the top eight seeds received first-round byes and played host to three-team sub-regionals while the #9-#16 seeds played host to four-team sub-regionals ... Penn State received the tournament's overall #1 seed and is the top seed in the East region while Long Beach State is the #2 seed (Pacific region) and Stanford is the #3 seed (Mountain region) ... Wisconsin is the overall #4 seed and top seed in the central region ... the remainder of the top eight tournament seeds are as follows: #5 Florida (Central), #6 UC Santa Barbara (Mountain), #7 Nebraska (Pacific) and #8 Brigham Young (East) ... the first and second-round matches were held on consecutive days, ranging from Dec. 4-7 (depending on the site) ... the regionals are being held on consecutive days, from Dec. 11-14, at the site of the highest remaining seeds in each region ... the NCAA semifinals and finals will be Dec. 18 and 20 at the Spokane (Wash.) Arena.
RECAP - Irish upend Arkansas (12/6/97) - Notre Dame used one of its most balanced attacks of the year to defeat #18 and sub-regional host Arkansas 9-15, 15-7, 15-10, 16-14 in second-round NCAA action at Barnhill Arena ... the Irish posted their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since a 3-0 home victory over then-#15 Colorado on Sept. 24, 1995 ... that 23-match streak had included 11 losses to top-10 teams and all eight of Notre Dame's defeats this season ... the win halted an 18-match Arkansas winning streak that had included 36 consecutive games won ... the Irish trailed 5-1 in the second game before seizing command by claiming 25 of the next 28 points ... Arkansas closed a 13-2 gap in the third game to 14-10 but Irish senior hitter Angie Harris pushed a kill down the left line to convert Notre Dame's fifth game point ... Notre Dame trailed 10-6 and 13-10 in game four but rallied to take a 14-13 lead before ending Arkansas' season on the fourth match point, fittingly on a kill be senior All-America candidate Jaimie Lee ... Lee (.294) and Harris (.151) paced the Irish with 19 kills each ... sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.205)--who joined Harris in overcoming rocky starts--had 15 kills and junior middle Lindsay Treadwell chipped in 13 kills on a team-best .321 hitting ... freshman opposite Christi Girton snapped out of a recent hitting funk by recording eight kills and just two errors on 23 swings (.263) ... Harris had a match-high 19 digs, followed by Lee and Treadwell with 14 each ... Leffers and Treadwell both assisted on eight of Notre Dame's 12 blocks while Harris led all players with four timely aces and Leffers served two ... the teams posted near-identical hitting numbers (Arkansas holding a .217-.216 edge) but the Irish had 24 more swings that led to 10 more kills ... both teams had six aces, with the Irish making 13 service errors to Arkansas' nine ... the Lady Razorbacks were guilty of five costly ballhandling errors while Irish freshman setter Denise Boylan had just one ... Arkansas (30-6) tasted defeat for the first time since a 3-1 loss at South Carolina on Oct. 5 ... the Lady Razorbacks suffered their first loss at home since midway through the 1996 season, a stretch of 18 home matches ... senior hitter Krystal Osborne paced Arkansas with 16 kills (.238) while junior middle Jessica Field chipped in 12 kills (.267) ... senior setter Tina Rico dumped the ball for 11 timely kills while the three other Lady Razorbacks' starters had 8-9 kills.
RECAP - Irish surge past Liberty (12/5/97) - Notre Dame overcame a sluggish start to post one of the most dominating postseason efforts in the program's history, defeating Liberty University 15-9, 15-3, 15-2 at Barnhill Arena in first-round NCAA action ... the Irish have won their first NCAA match every season since 1993 (five straight) ... Liberty jumped to out to an 8-4 lead in the opening game before watching Notre Dame score 41 of the final 47 points ... the Irish hit .360 as a team, representing the second-highest Notre Dame hitting effort in 13 all-time NCAA matches (the Irish hit .422 vs. Hofstra last season) ... Liberty (26-9) recorded most of its early points via backrow attacks and Notre Dame errors but the Flames could not recover after watching the Irish sprint to a 9-0 lead in the second game ... Leeana Miller led Liberty with nine kills ... the Flames were outblocked 9-4 and were held to just .107 team hitting ... Harris had 17 kills on .371 hitting while her nine digs pushed her career total to 1,001, allowing Harris to join Lee as the sixth member of Notre Dame's 1,000-kills/1,000-digs club ... Harris accounted for both of Notre Dame's aces while the Irish held their opponent without an ace for the second time in the last three matches ... Lee had 14 kills and just two errors on 31 swings (.387) while recording a team-best 12 digs ... junior middle Lindsay Treadwell had seven kills on .462 hitting while sophomore middle Mary Leffers totaled eight kills on .357 hitting ... Treadwell assisted on six Irish blocks while Leffers had a hand in four ... freshman Jo Jameyson came off the bench to play the third game and had three kills on five swings while helping the Irish hit .439 in the final game ... Jameyson also assisted on three of five Irish blocks in the third game ... Jameyson replaced freshman opposite Christi Girton, who had two kills and four errors on eight attempts.
THE EYES OF WISCONSIN ARE UPON YOU: Wisconsin ranks third in the nation this season for average attendance (3,229 per match), highlighted by a crowd of over 6,000 fans for the Oct. 31 showdown with Penn State ... Notre Dame has recent history playing in front of large crowds, after more than 8,000 fans per night watched the Irish play two matches at the University of Hawaii last season.
THE SERIES: The Badgers have won two of three previous matches vs. Notre Dame, with just one of those matches coming in the last 10 seasons ... Wisconsin won at Notre Dame early this season (15-10, 11-15, 15-4, 15-11 on Aug. 30), with the Badgers entering that first-week match ranked #18 while Notre Dame was #17 (see recap below) ... the teams previous meeting came in 1987, when the Irish posted a 15-3, 7-15, 15-12, 15-10 home victory ... Wisconsin won the first meeting of the series, at home by scores of 15-13, 3-15, 15-9, 15-13.
RECAP - Badgers Top Irish for Shamrock Title (8/30/97): #18 Wisconsin defeated the host team and #17 Notre Dame 15-10, 11-15, 15-4, 15-11 to claim the championship of the Shamrock Invitational at the Joyce Center Arena ... Wisconsin was led by four players in double-digit kills, with senior hitter and tournament MVP Amy Lee totaling 14 kills on .243 hitting ... the Badgers, who outhit the Irish .293-.165, also received major offensive contributions from sophomore middle Kelly Kennedy (17 kills, .457 hitting), sophomore hitter Kate Fitzgerald (15 kills, .324) and freshman middle Jenny Maastricht (13 kills, .333) ... Maastricht--who filled in during the tournament for injured senior Heather Dodara (sprained ankle)--was named to the all-tournament team, as was junior setter Colleen Neels ... senior hitter Angie Harris led the Notre Dame offense, with 21 kills ... the Irish also received an added boost from the return of another senior hitter, Jaimie Lee, who entered the Joyce Center early in game two after returning from Sicily, Italy, where she captained the United State to a silver-medal finish at the World University Games ... Lee entered the arena with Notre Dame trailing, 4-2, and took some time to go over plays with the Irish coaches before entering the match on the heels of a 5-0 Irish run that netted an 11-10 lead for the hosts ... Lee couldn't quite get to the first set she received from freshman Denise Boylan but moments later thundered down a kill and the Irish were on their way to evening the match at 1-1 ... Wisconsin erased the emotional left of Lee's arrival with a convincing win in game three and pulled away from a 10-10 tie in the fourth and final game ... Harris was named to the all-tournament team after totaling 71 kills in the three matches (5.92/gm) and equaling Lee's Irish record for consecutive matches with 20-plus kills (she had 23 in the opener against Louisville and a career-best 27 earlier on the 30th versus Oral Roberts) ... Notre Dame sophomore rightside hitter Emily Schiebout (Blaine, Minn.) also was named to the all-tournament team ... Schiebout had 12 kills on .286 hitting against Wisconsin, plus four blocks.
SCOUTING THE BADGERS: #4-ranked Wisconsin (29-2) is riding a 17-match winning streak that included a 15-11, 15-7, 6-15, 15-5 home win over then-#1 and current NCAA Tournament top seed Penn State on Halloween night ... Wisconsin's #4 ranking is the highest in its history, as is its nine straight weeks in the top 10 ... Wisconsin has made six NCAA Tournament appearances, including trips to the regional round in 1990, '91 and '96 ... the Badgers shared the Big Ten Conference title with the Nittany Lions, after having lost at PSU on Oct. 4 (11-15, 9-15, 11-15) ... Wisconsin's only other loss came in the 10th match of the season, at home vs. then-#5 Nebraska (10-15, 9-15, 12-15) ... Wisconsin owns six other wins over teams that were ranked at the time: 3-1 at #17 Notre Dame, 3-0 over #10 Texas, 3-0 over #25 Illinois, 3-1 at #15 Michigan State, 3-0 over #25 Indiana and 3-1 over #24 Ohio State (only Texas and OSU are currently ranked) ... Wisconsin returned five starters from its 1996 team that went 25-8 and advanced to the NCAA regional (where it lost to Penn State) ... the Badgers ranked 15th in the nation last week for team hitting pct. (now .278) and have limited their opponents to .132 hitting this season ... the Badgers last week ranked 12th nationally for block avg. (now 3.18/gm, to the opponents' 1.78) ... Wisconsin is averaging 1.84 aces/gm while allowig 1.18 ... the Badgers' ace leaders are junior setter Coleen Nees (37) and 6-0 senior hitter Amy Lee, with three others have between 26-28 aces for the season ... Wisconsin's top offensive options are Lee (385 kills, 3.74 kills/gm, .275), 6-4 sophomore middle Kelly Kennedy (340, 3.51, .376) and 6-0 senior middle Heather Dodaro (252 kills, 3.04, .260) ... Dodaro (1.40 block/gm) and Lee (1.39) leads the Badgers defensively at the net while junior hitter Marisa Mackey (3.05 digs/gm) and Nees (2.51) are the squad's leaders in the back row ... Neels has done a solid job of replacing All-American Laura Abbinante, averaging an impressive 118 assists per ballhandling error (1,301/11) ... Dodara, Lee, Kennedy and Neels were named to the 1997 All-Big Ten team, with Dodara a repeat selection.
FRIEND OR FOE?: Several Notre Dame players hail from the same club program as players on the current Wisconsin squad ... Irish senior hitter Angie Harris and freshman opposite Christi Girton are products of the Munciana Volleyball Club that also has produced Wisconsin's Marisa Mackey ... freshman setter Denise Boylan played for the same Sport Performance Volleyball Club program that produced Wisconsin's Kelly Kennedy and Heather Dodara.
ODEN, JOHNSON MAKE MOVE TO DIVISION I COACHING RANKS: The season-opening Shamrock Invitational served as the Division I debut for two assistant coaches: Notre Dame's Elaina Oden and Wisconsin's Christy Johnson ... both players earned All-America honors while leading their respective teams to NCAA titles ... Oden was an All-American middle blocker at the University of the Pacific in 1985, 1986 and '89 while leading UOP 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.
THE FLORIDA SERIES: The Gators have won two of the three previous meetings, including a 7-15, 15-10, 6-15, 3-15 win at Notre Dame earlier this season (see recap below) ... Florida downed Notre Dame 15-13, 15-6, 15-8 at the 1992 Purdue Premier, behind 14 kills from Gudula Staub and 13 from Suzanne Hughes ... Nicole Coates and Christy Peters led the Irish in that match with 12 kills each ... Notre Dame evened the series with a 9-15, 15-8, 15-8, 15-7 victory at then-#9 Florida on Oct. 24, 1994 ... Peters paced the Irish with 17 kills while Angie Harris had 12 kills and two aces in one of the better matches of her freshman year.
RECAP - #2 Florida Beats Irish in Four (9/8/97): The Irish played host to a #2-ranked team for the second consecutive season (having lost to Stanford 3-0 in '96) ... Aurymar Rodriguez' 18 kills led four UF players with 10-plus kills in the Gators' 15-7, 10-15, 15-6, 15-3 win at the Joyce Center ... Florida enjoyed a .333-.222 hitting edge and a 13-9 blocking advantage ... Rodriguez hit .316 on 38 swings while posting a match-high 16 digs ... the Gators also received key offensive contributions from senior hitter Jenni Keene (14 kills, .500), senior middle Nina Foster (12 kills, .381) and junior middle Jeni Jones (11 kills, .450) ... Foster had a match-high eight blocks (two solos) while sophomore opposite Jenny Manz had a solid all-around effort of nine kills, six block assists and a match-high three aces ... both teams struggled with their serving, as Notre Dame had just two aces to offset 14 service errors while Florida had eight aces but 16 service errors ... senior hitter Jaimie Lee led Notre Dame with a match-high 20 kills on .375 hitting (5 errors, 40 att.) ... senior hitter Angie Harris added 11 kills for the Irish but also had nine errors (.053) while sophomore middle and Tampa, Fla. native Mary Leffers had nine kills on .308 hitting (1 err., 26 att.), plus six blocks ... Rodriguez led UF's .350 hitting explosion in the opening game, recording seven kills and just one error on 13 swings ... the Irish tied the match after outhitting UF .436-.219 ... Leffers had five kills on as many attempts in that game while Lee had nine kills and one error on 11 swings ... in the third game UF's 13 kills included four each from Rodriguez and Keene while Jones and Foster had two each ... the Gators hit .375 in game three and .389 in game four.
SCOUTING THE GATORS: #6 Florida (32-3) has lost two of its last four, after winning 20 straight ... Arkansas beat Florida 15-7, 15-7, 17-15 in the Nov. 23 Southeastern Conference title match, held at the Univ. of Georgia ... the Gators then beat UCLA at the UOP Bankers Classic but lost to UOP in a thriller (15-13, 15-10, 13-15, 13-15, 15-17) ... UF opened the season with 10 wins before losing at home to current #1-ranked Long Beach State (8-15, 6-15, 12-15) ... the Gators answered back the next day by beating the 49ers 15-12, 10-15, 12-15, 15-11, 15-11 (LBSU's only loss all season) ... Florida owns three other wins over ranked teams this season: Nebraska (3-2), BYU (3-1) and Arkansas (3-0) ... Florida returned four starters from its 1996 team that was ranked #1 for much of the season and finished 37-2, after losing to Hawaii in the NCAA semi-finals (0-3) ... Florida last week ranked 12th in the nation for hitting pct. (now .286) and 20th in blocks (now 3.12/gm) .. the Gators are holding opponents to .145 hitting, 1.71 blocks/gm and 0.95 aces/gm ... 6-2 senior middle Nina Foster and 6-1 senior hitter Aurymar Rodriguez were second team All-America selections in '96 while senior setter Nikki Shade was an all-district selection as a junior ... Foster last week ranked second in the nation for hitting pct. (now .415) and 16th for block avg. (1.51/gm) ... UF is averaging 1.75 aces/gm, led by Jenny manz (45), Rodriguez (25) and JennI Keene (31) ... the Gators top offensive options are Foster (470 kills, 4.12/gm, .415), Rodriguez (420, 3.75, .250) and Manz (419, 3.55, .282) ... Shade last week ranked 18th in the nation for assist avg. (now 13.71/gm) and is averaging 57 assists per ballhandling error ... Florida has emerged as one of the nation's premier programs during the 1990s, advancing to the NCAA semifinals in 1992, '93 and '96 ... the Gators headed into the 1997 season having posted a record of 202-21 from 1991-96, the most victories in the nation during that six-year stretch.
STEALING ONE: Notre Dame's win last week at #18 Arkansas and its 3-1 win at #9 Florida in 1994 are two of six Irish victories on the home court of a nationally-ranked team during the Debbie Brown era (1991-present) ... the other previous wins include: 3-2 at #13 New Mexico ('92), 3-0 at #21 Hawaii ('92), 3-1 at #15 Colorado ('94) and 3-1 at #15 Texas A&M ('94).
FRIEND OR FOE, PART II: The 1997 Notre Dame and Florida volleyball rosters include several players who hail from the same club program, including four players who trained as preps with the Tampa Bay Juniors: Florida senior hitter Clair Roach, sophomore rightside hitter Jenny Manz and sophomore hitter Sandra Reboucas and Notre Dame sophomore middle Mary Leffers ... two players from each team spent time with the Circle City Volleyball Club program, which is based in Indianapolis, Ind.: UF junior middle Shannon Mason and freshman middle Heather Wright and Notre Dame senior middle Molly McCarthy and sophomore hitter Mandi Powell ... finally, Irish freshman setter Denise Boylan and UF freshman hitter Jerilyn Hattendorf helped lead Chicago-based Sports Performance Volleyball Club to the national junior championship during the summer of 1997 ... Boylan and Hattendorf--who also were teammates on the 1996 USA Youth national team--were named to the junior national all-tournament team (Boylan was the tournament MVP) while helping Sports Performance put the final touches on a dominating 100-4 season record.
YOU AGAIN?: Notre Dame has found itself in a tournament with Washington State four times during the past two seasons ... both teams played in the Mizuno USA Cup last season (in Chicago) but did not face each other, after Notre Dame beat Clemson and WSU lost to Penn State ... WSU beat the Irish late last season in a pre-set matchup at the UOP Banker's Classic (15-7, 15-4, 15-7) ... the teams met up again early this season, at the Spikeoff Spokane, with the Cougars posting a 15-9, 15-8, 16-14 win ... the Irish and Cougars find themselves headed for the same destination again this week, as Notre Dame will play Wisconsin and WSU will face Florida in the Central Regional semifinals.
THE WSU SERIES: Washington State has won each of its three meetings with Notre Dame, including a 3-0 win earlier this season at the Spikeoff Spokane (see recap below), which was held at the Spokane Arena (site of the 1997 NCAA Championship) ... WSU also beat Notre Dame 3-0 at home in 1990 and 3-0 at the late-season 1996 UOP Banker's Classic ... in that win last season, Sarah Silvernail led WSU with 17 kills on .600 hitting ... Notre Dame setter Carey May did not play due to a dislocated finger ... WSU hit .440 as a team in that match ... Jen Briggs led the Irish with nine kills on .179 hitting while Jaimie Lee had eight kills in the first two games (.238) before taking over the setting duties from freshman Lauren Stettin, who sparked the Irish to a 7-1 lead in the first game.
RECAP - WSU Sweeps Irish in Spokane (9/6/97) - Senior middle Keren Oigman's 15 kills led three WSU players in double figures as WSU downed Notre Dame 15-9, 15-8, 16-14 to claim the championship of the Spikeoff Spokane, held at the Spokane Arena ... WSU also received 13 kills from tournament MVP Jennifer Stinson and 10 kills from senior hitter Shannon Wyckoff ... WSU held a .217-.159 team hitting advantage but the teams were nearly matched in blocks (with WSU holding a 14-13 edge) ... the Cougars gained a significant edge in their service game, totaling eight aces to Notre Dame's two while making just six service errors (to Notre Dame's seven) ... Spokane native Jaimie Lee (Ferris HS) wrapped up an all-tournament performance with a Notre Dame-leading 12 kills but also was guilty of 12 hitting errors (on 37 swings) ... Lee also had a team-high 14 digs and assisted on two blocks ... WSU held a 14-8 lead in game three but the Irish rallied to a 14-14 tie, fighting off nine match points in the process ... Notre Dame's starting middle blockers again turned in solid performances while joining Lee on the all-tournament team ... junior Lindsay Treadwell had nine kills on .368 hitting (2 err., 19 att.) while sophomore Mary Leffers also had nine kills, on .182 hitting (3 err., 33 att.) ... Treadwell and Leffers led the Irish block with matching totals of two solo blocks and four block assists, while Treadwell came up with 10 digs ... WSU junior middle Wendy Rouse--the sister of former Notre Dame middle Jennifer Rouse (1993-96)--chipped in six kills for the Cougars while assisting on a match-high eight blocks.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS: #11 Washington State (26-6) spent much of the season in the AVCA top 10, being ranked as high as sixth ...WSU is hitting .259 as a team while holding opponents to .151 ... the Cougars are averaging 1.33 aces/gm (to the opponents' 1.19), led by 6-1 junior hitter Jennifer Stinson (30 aces), 5-10 senior middle Keren Oigman (24) and 5-11 senior hitter Shannon Wyckoff (24) ... WSU ranked 18th in the nation last week for block avg. (now 3.09/gm, to the opponent's 2.18) ... Stinson leads WSU with 1.59 bpg ... WSU's top hitting options are Stinson (383, 3.45/gm, .291) and Oigman (282, 2.59, .322) ... senior setter Stephanie Papke, a second team All-American last season, is averaging 12.13 assists/gm ... the Cougars returned five starters from their 1996 team that finished second in the Pac-10 Conference (14-4) and went 27-6 overall, after losing to Stanford in the quarterfinals ... WSU opened the season with 16 straight wins, including victories over USC (3-2) and UCLA (3-1) ... the Cougars losses have come at Arizona (2-3), at home vs. Washington (1-3) and Stanford (0-3), at USC (0-3), at Washington (0-3) and at Stanford (0-3) ... WSU's other noteworthy wins include at UCLA (3-1), at home vs. Arizona (3-1) and at home vs. Colorado State (3-1).
FRIEND OR FOE, PART III: Notre Dame's Jaimie Lee and WSU's Jen Stinson were among the players who trained last summer at the Olympic Training Center, with Lee making the World University Games team ... WSU junior middle Wendy Rouse is the sister of former Notre Dame player Jen Rouse, who currently is serving an internship in the Notre Dame athletic department.
HOMESICK: The saying, "Now, we have to go home" often accompanies the end of a season for student-athletes, but for Notre Dame senior hitter Jaimie Lee, a return to her hometown of Spokane, Wash. to end her college playing career would hold special significance, as the Spokane Arena will serve as the host site for the 1997 NCAA volleyball semifinals and championship match ... Lee and her Irish teammates already have played three matches at the facility, vs. Gonzaga, Utah and Washington State during the early-season Spikeoff Spokane.
SEEING THE COUNTRY: Since 1980, the Notre Dame volleyball program has played in 31 different states, plus Washington D.C. and a summer '96 trip to Germany ... of the 33 states/districts/countries that have been visited by the Irish volleyball program, Notre Dame has travelled to 29 of them during the seven-year tenure of head coach Debbie Brown, including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Germany, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin (as of this week) and West Virginia.
DYNAMIC DUOS: Only seven of the 56 programs in the 1997 NCAA Tournament ever have featured a pair of classmates who both have totaled 1,400-plus career kills, with that group including three current tandems: Notre Dame's Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee, Oklahoma's Patrice Arrington and Melissa Peterson and San Diego's LaManda Mounts and Sara Gunsaulus ... classmates are defined as players who entered a program in the same season and played together for the next four years (statistics prior to the beginning of NCAA-sponsored play, in 1981, were not included) ... of the 14 schools that have made 10-plus NCAA appearances, only BYU, Hawaii and USC have featured a pair of classmates with 1,400-plus kills ... perennial NCAA entrants UOP, Penn State, Stanford, UCSB, Nebraska, Texas, UCLA, Arizona, Long Beach State, Illinois State and Pepperdine have not featured such a classmate duo... the 1997 NCAA Tournament programs with classmates who have totaled 1,400 kills are as follows:
BRIGHAM YOUNG (1985-88)
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (1987-90)
SAN DIEGO (1994-97)
FLORIDA STATE (1991-94)
NOTRE DAME (1994-97) **ACTIVE**
33-MATCH CHECKUP: Several Irish players remain on pace for noteworthy statistical seasons ... senior hitters Jaimie Lee (4.42 kills/gm) and Angie Harris (4.20 kpg) currently own the 2nd and 5th-best kill averages in Irish history and could become the first Notre Dame teammates ever to average 4-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 avg. leaders (Harris is 1st at 3.97 kpg, Lee 4th at 3.17) ... sophomore middle Mary Leffers' owns a .316 season hitting pct. that would rank 5th in Irish history (2nd-best since 1991 ... freshmen setter Denise Boylan's assist average of 12.16/gm would rank 4th in Irish history ... Harris' season ace avg. (0.50/gm) stands 4th all-time at Notre Dame (she owns the top three) ... Lee is averaging 2.88 digs/gm, giving her a combined kill/dig average of 7.30/gm that would rank 3rd in Irish history .... as a team, Notre Dame is on pace to best the offensive records set by the 1995 team, as the Irish currently are averaging 16.43 kills/gm and own a .277 team hitting pct. that ranks 13th in the nation (the '95 team averaged 16.32 kpg and hit .271) ... the Irish passers have allowed just 1.17 opponent aces per game, which would rank third-best in team history.
TUNING UP FOR THE NCAAs: During the current 12-2 run, Notre Dame has owned a commanding .301-.170 hitting edge on its opponents, highlighted by senior hitter Jaimie Lee's drive to a second straight BIG EAST player of the year award ... Lee is hitting .349 in the last 14 matches while averaging 4.40 kills/gm ... other top hitters in the last 14 matches have been junior middle Lindsay Treadwell (.330, 2.04), sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.313, 3.00), freshman opposite Christi Girton (.282, 2.11) and senior hitter Angie Harris (.279, 4.08) ... Notre Dame has allowed just 45 opponent aces (0.94/gm) and 77 opponent blocks (1.60/gm) during the last 14 matches.
SHE CAN FLY 10,000 MILES : Senior Jaimie Lee was part of a Notre Dame team that travelled over 28,000 miles during the summer and fall of 1996, highlighted by a July trip to Germany ... due mostly to her summer trip to Europe for the 1997 World University Games (in Sicily, Italy), Lee covered roughly 17,000 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 returned from the Colorado Invitational ... with 10 Notre Dame 1997 roadtrips already under her belt, Lee has travelled nearly 30,000 miles (since Aug. 4) in order to play the game she loves ... Lee's six-week, jet-setting streak earlier this season included: 850 miles from Colorado Springs to Winnipeg (for the Canada Cup); 717 miles from Winnipeg to Chicago; 10,300 roundtrip miles from Chicago to Sicily to South Bend; 3,160 roundtrip miles from South Bend to Spokane, Wash.; and 1,989 roundtrip miles between South Bend and Denver, Colo.
PLAYING THE BEST: Notre Dame has hit just .177 in nine matches this season vs. ranked teams but sophomore middle Mary Leffers has hit .219 in those matches while averaging 1.48 blocks/gm (above her season average of 1.26) ... Leffers' more noteworthy matches this season vs. ranked teams include 9 kills on .308 hitting vs. Florida, 14 kills at Texas, a career-best 21 kills on .444 hitting vs. UCSB and 15 kills at Arkansas ... Leffers had several solid matches vs. ranked teams as a freshman, including 10 kills on .348 hitting vs. Stanford, a career-best 12 blocks vs. Louisville and 13 kills (.333) vs. Penn State ... senior hitter Jaimie Lee has averaged 4.68 kills/gm vs. ranked teams this season, including 20 vs. Florida (on .375 hitting), 17 vs. Colorado, 25 vs. UCSB and 19 vs. Arkansas.
PTP'ER: Junior middle Lindsay Treadwell has fared much better versus non-conference opponents this season than in the BIG EAST regular season, as she has hit .315 and averaged 2.35 kills/gm in 20 matches vs. non-conference teams (including nine AVCA top-25 teams) while hitting just .221 and averaging 1.84 kills/gm in the 11 BIG EAST regular season matches ... Treadwell has hit a team-best .286 in nine matches vs. ranked opponents this season, including .368 vs. Washington State (9 kills), .318 at Texas (11 kills), .429 vs. UCSB (11 kills) and .321 at Arkansas (13 kills) ... Treadwell's recent blocking surge has included 30 blocks in the last five matches (1.67/gm).
FAR AND WIDE: The 16 members of the 1997 Irish volleyball team call seven different states home ...the team includes five Indiana natives plus three from both Illinois and California ... the others hail from all corners of the nation, including Washington, Texas (two), Minnesota and the program's second player from Florida (Mary Leffers) ... during Debbie Brown's seven seasons, the program has welcomed players from 11 states (including Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan and Nevada) while the all-time roster includes players from 21 states.
LEE ROLLS IN THE AWARDS: Senior hitter Jaimie Lee--who captained the U.S. to a silver-medal finish at the 1997 World University Games--repeated as BIG EAST player of the year (on Nov. 21) before earning BIG EAST Tournament MVP honors two days later ... on Nov. 24, she was one of six players named to the GTE District V All-Academic team, capping an award-packed four-day stretch for the Spokane, Wash. native (she went on to earn second team Academic All-America honors on Dec. 10) ... Lee, a unanimous selection for player of the year, led the BIG EAST with a .451 hitting pct. in conference play while ranking 6th with 4.33 kills/gm ... for the '97 season, she ranks 4th among BIG EAST players with .302 hitting while averaging 4.42 kills (2nd BIG EAST) and a team-best 2.88 digs/gm ... in nine matches vs. nationally-ranked teams, Lee has averaged 4.68 kills/gm, highlighted by 20 kills vs. then-#2 Florida, 25 vs. #5 UCSB and 19 in the NCAAs last week vs. #18 Arkansas ... Lee--who played middle as a freshman and served as a fill-in setter for the first half of '96--is the only player in the Notre Dame career top 10 for kills (4th; 1,415), digs (5th; 1,133), hitting (6th; .276), assists (9th; 740), aces (9th; 103) and blocks (10th; 280) ... Lee is the fifth of six Notre Dame players ever to total 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs ... she has appeared in 97.8% (135 of 138) of Notre Dame's matches in her career, 3rd best in Irish volleyball history ... she has played in 447 of 478 career games (.935), ranking behind only '97 grad Jenny Birkner (.965) in Irish history.
SENIOR SALUTE: Notre Dame's class of '98--hitters Jaimie Lee (front left) and Angie Harris (front right), setter Carey May (back row, second from left) and middle Molly McCarthy (back row, second from right)--has helped the Irish compile a four-year record of 107-31 for a .775 winning pct. that ranks fourth among all-time Irish classes ... the senior class has helped Notre Dame advance to the NCAAs each of the past four seasons, including a trip to the regional round in '94, '95 and '97 ... the Irish have gone 52-0 vs. conference opponents in the last four seasons, winning 156 of 164 conference games during that time ... each member of the senior class has posted at least one Dean's List semester and the foursome has combined for eight Dean's List semesters ... this week's trip to the NCAA Regionals in Madison, Wisc. will represent the 22nd different state--plus Washington, D.C. and Germany--that the Notre Dame volleyball team has visited during the seniors' career, with those trips including visits to Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, Texas and several cities in northern and southern California ... the seniors are joined in the picture to the right by assistant coach Steve Hendricks and head coach Debbie Brown.
HARRIS, LEFFERS NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG EAST: Notre Dame senior hitter Angie Harris and sophomore middle Mary Leffers joined Jaimie Lee on the All-BIG EAST first team ... Harris ranked 6th during the BIG EAST regular season with .362 hitting in conference matches while averaging 4.18 kills/gm and serving 19 aces (0.56/gm) ... through all of '97, Harris owns a .269 overall hitting pct. while ranking 4th among BIG EAST players for kill avg. (4.20/gm) and 2nd in ace avg. (0.50/gm, 57 total) ... Leffers ranked 2nd on the BIG EAST regular season hitting pct. charts at .410, while averaging 2.97 kills and 1.07 blocks per conference game ... her overall numbers include a team-best .316 hitting pct. (3rd BIG EAST), 2.88 kills/gm, a team-best 1.26 blocks/gm (3rd BIG EAST) and 19 aces (4th on the team).
BOYLAN, GIRTON AMONG BIG EAST'S TOP FRESHMEN: Notre Dame freshman setter Denise Boylan was named second team all-BIG EAST and joined freshman opposite Christi Girton on the conference all-rookie team ... Boylan served as the Notre Dame setter in 28 of 35 conference games while helping the Irish run away with the BIG EAST hitting pct. lead (.363 in conference matches) ... her 10 aces in the 11 conference games tied with Girton for 2nd on the team ... Boylan has directed an Irish offense that currently ranks 13th in the nation with .277 hitting, which would best the team record of .271 set in 1995 ... the 6-1 setter also ranks second on the 1997 Irish squad with 23 total aces while her other season totals include 67 kills on .257 hitting, 192 digs (4th on the team) and 65 blocks ... Girton's .401 hitting in conference matches ranked 3rd among BIG EAST players, behind teammates Jaimie Lee and Leffers ... Girton also averaged 2.61 kills/gm and totaled 10 aces and 31 blocks (one behind Leffers' team-high 32) in conference matches ... her overall season totals include .250 hitting, 1.91 kills/gm, 121 digs (1.36/gm), 65 blocks and 14 aces.
FAB EIGHT: Notre Dame's 1997 roster includes eight players who were listed among Volleyball Magazine's Fab 50 recruits prior to attending Notre Dame: senior hitters Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee, senior setter Carey May, junior middle Lindsay Treadwell, sophomore middle Mary Leffers, freshman setter Denise Boylan, freshman opposite Christi Girton and freshman middle/opposite Jo Jameyson.
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 (Lee is at 4.42, Harris 4.20) ... Harris (1,560) and Lee (1,415) rank second and fourth on the Irish career kills list and their 2,975 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 7.14 career kill average (Harris 3.97, Lee 3.17), 154 double-digit kill matches (Harris 87, Lee 67), 29 matches with 20-plus kills (Harris 16, Lee 13) and 340 service aces (Harris 237, Lee 103) ... Harris and Lee last week joined Jessica Fiebelkorn and Alicia Turner (1989-92) as the second pair of Irish classmates in the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs club ... finally, Lee (.933) and Harris (.822) own a combined career-games-played percentage of .878 that bests the previous Irish record of Shea (.918) and Bennett (.833), who appeared in a combined 87.6 percent of Notre Dame's games during their careers.
BROWN ECLIPSES 300 CAREER WINS: Debbie Brown is 191-56 (.773) in seven seasons as head coach at Notre Dame and 308-139 (.689) in 13 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 seven seasons at Notre Dame and has led 11 of her 13 Division I teams to the NCAA Tournament ... after serving as a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that did not play due to boycott, 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 ... 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 ... six of her seven teams at Notre Dame have won 25-plus matches, including a program-best 33-4 campaign in 1994 ... during the Brown era, Notre Dame has suffered just a handful of upset losses while going 164-18 (.901) vs. unranked teams, including 113-6 (.950) over the past five seasons and 61-3 (.953) during the past three years.
FEARSOME FIVESOME: Notre Dame has hit .318 in its current 19-3 run, with four players checking in with a hitting pct. of .295 or higher in that stretch: senior hitter Jaimie Lee (.347, 4.37 kills/gm), sophomore middle Mary Leffers (.338, 3.08), junior middle Lindsay Treadwell (.309, 2.20), senior hitter Angie Harris (.304, 4.24) and freshman opposite Christi Girton (.296, 2.27) ... Treadwell ironically has fared much better versus non-conference opponents this season than in the BIG EAST regular season, as she has hit .315 and averaged 2.35 kills/gm in 20 matches vs. non-conference teams (including nine AVCA top-25 teams) while hitting just .221 and averaging 1.84 kpg in the 11 BIG EAST regular season matches.
FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTORS: Despite having five returning starters and eight returning letterwinners from its 1996 team, Notre Dame has seen several freshmen play important roles this season ... setter Denise Boylan and opposite Christi Girton have earned starting spots in their first year with the program while Adrienne Shimmel has appeared in 86 of 115 games as a backrow player and surging middle/opposite Jo Jameyson has played in eight straight matches (20 total).
ON A ROLL: Notre Dame has won 19 of its last 22 and 12 of its last 14, with the last three losses coming versus teams that advanced to the NCAA regionals: then-#9 Texas, #5 UC Santa Barbara and #1 Long Beach State ... the recent 10-match winning streak (Oct. 22-Nov. 23) is the longest by an Irish squad since the 1994 team won 12 straight from Oct. 26 to Nov. 20 of that season ... the 10-match winning streak ranks fourth in Irish history, behind a 17-match run in '96, the 12-match streak in '94 and an earlier 11-match run in '94.
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 6th (.362) ... Lee's 4.33 kills/gm in conference action ranked 6th in the BIG EAST while Harris posted the 2nd-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 3rd in aces (1.80/gm) ... for the overall '97 season, Notre Dame players rank among the BIG EAST leaders in kills (Lee is 2nd at 4.42/gm, Harris 4th at 4.20), aces (Harris is 2nd, 0.50/gm), blocks (Leffers is 3rd, 1.26/gm) and assists (freshman Denise Boylan is 1st, 12.16/gm) ... Leffers ranks 3rd in overall hitting (.316) while Lee is 4th at .299 and junior Lindsay Treadwell is 5th at .299 ... Notre Dame leads the BIG EAST in overall hitting pct. (.277, well ahead of Seton Hall's .243) and kill avg. (16.43/gm).
CONFERENCE CALL: Notre Dame has won 76 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 in the MCC Tournament) and the first 39 in the BIG EAST (six in the BIG EAST Tournament) ... the Nov. 16 win at Seton Hall moved the Irish past Texas (73, 1984-91) into third 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) ... the streak has included 61 three-game wins (10 postseason), 13 four-game wins (five 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) ... 32 of Notre Dame's 39 BIG EAST wins have been 3-0, with the Irish beating Pittsburgh 3-1 four times (including this season), Villanova 3-1 in the '97 BIG EAST title match and Boston College 3-1 earlier this season ... Central Florida owns the second-longest active conference winning streak (63).
SETTING THE TABLE: Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.)--the first freshman to open the season as Notre Dame's setter since '88--has helped the Irish surge to a BIG EAST-leading .277 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 12.16 assists/gm, which would rank fourth in Irish history ... she also ranks 4th on the '97 Irish squad with 192 digs (1.83/gm) while her other season totals include 67 kills on .257 hitting, 23 service aces (second on the team) and 65 blocks (5 solos) ... Boylan is averaging an impressive 55 assists per ballhandling error during her freshman season (1,277/23) ... 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) ... Boylan (1,277) suddenly is closing in on the Irish record for assists by a freshman, set by another Chicago-area native, Julie Bremner (Wheaton), in 1988 (1,340) ... Bremner's sister Bonnie, a sophomore setter for the NCAAs #1-seeded team Penn State, last week was named the Big Ten Conference player of the year ... Boylan's season assist average (12.16) is best-ever by an Irish freshman.
IRISH GO 3-0 IN SISTER MATCHUPS: The Notre Dame volleyball team won all three of its matches this season when a member of the Irish program was squaring off against her sister ... freshman setter Denise Boylan helped the Irish post a 3-0 win over Marquette and her sister Susan, a senior hitter for the Golden Eagles (the Boylans are pictured above left) ... on Oct. 17, Notre Dame assistant coach Elaina Oden earned bragging rights on her sister Kim, a first-year assistant at North Carolina, when the Irish beat the Tar Heels 3-0 (the Odens are pictured in the middle photo to the right) ... finally, on Oct. 22, sophomore middle Mary Leffers came out on the winning end of a five-game match against her sister Emily's University of Houston squad (the Leffers sisters are pictured far right) ... Mary totaled a team-best 16 kills and 12 blocks (equaling her career high) while Emily--a senior hitter for the Cougars--had 21 kills, 13 digs and four blocks ... two other members of the 1997 Irish volleyball team have sisters who played Division I volleyball ... sophomore Lauren Stettin's sister Megan played at the University of Illinois from 1992-95 while freshman Jo Jameyson's sister Katy was a two-time All-American at the University of Texas, where she played from 1990-93 ... the Jameysons were reunited at the Houston match (they hail from nearby Alvin, Texas, where Katy is an assistant coach at Alvin High School) ... 1997 graduate Jen Rouse was injured and missed out on the chance to play against her sister Wendy, when Notre Dame played Washington State on Nov. 30, 1996 at UOP (both Rouses will be on hand in Madison this weekend).
SOLID IN THE MIDDLE: Notre Dame's starting middle blockers--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 .316 season hitting pct. that would rank 5th in Irish history and 2nd-best by a an Irish player since 1991 ... Leffers' career hitting pct. of .295 ranks 2nd in Irish history, behind Treadwell's .302 ... Treadwell's season hitting in 1997 has risen to .229, after hitting .367 as a freshman (2nd in Irish history ) and .253 as a sophomore ... Leffers, who has improved her hitting 42 points after posting .272 as a freshman, also ranks 2nd in Irish history for career block avg. (1.34/gm) and 8th for career kill avg. (2.63/gm).
2-3-4-5: The 1997 Notre Dame volleyball team includes some of the best hitting combinations in the program's history ... senior hitters Jaimie Lee (4.42 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 (2.88 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 (2.20) and freshman opposite Christi Girton (1.91) in the mix, the Irish have one the best groups of starting hitters in the program's history ... Girton entered the starting lineup vs. Texas A&M on Sept. 20 and the individual kill averages over the 23 matches with Girton as a starter break down as follows: Lee (4.41 kpg), Harris (4.25), Leffers (3.07), Girton (2.18) and Treadwell (2.11) ... during the last 23 matches, Lee (.336), Leffers (.328), Treadwell (.295), Harris (.292) and Girton (.290) have posted solid hitting numbers, with Girton hitting .435-plus in nine of those matches ... the team is hitting .302 since Girton entered the starting lineup while the Irish have held the opposition to a combined .184 hitting during those 23 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 237 in her career, a career average of 0.603/gm and nine in a match) while her career kill average of 3.97/gm would best the Irish record of 3.82, set by '95 grad. Christy Peters ... Harris has 1,560 kills in her career, second on the Irish career kills list behind Peters (1,683) ... Harris' 87 career matches with double-digit kills has 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 3rd in Irish history with 35 ... her career dig average of 2.60/gm ranks 7th all-time at Notre Dame ... Harris' 1,020 career digs rank 7th all-time, five behind Janelle Karlan (1990-93), and she last week joined classmate Jaimie Lee as the sixth Notre Dame player with 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.