Oct. 22, 1997
Leffers Leads Notre Dame Volleyball Past Houston in Sisterly Battle
Mary Leffers led the Irish attack against Houston Wednesday. (File photo)
HOUSTON, Texas -Sophomore middle blocker Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.) paced a balanced Notre Dame attack while equaling her career high of 12 blocks as the Irish got back on the winning track with a 15-8, 15-9, 11-15, 8-15, 15-8 victory over the University of Houston in non-conference volleyball action Wednesday at Hofheinz Pavillion.
The match served as the first collegiate matchup between Leffers and her sister Emily, a senior hitter for the Cougars. Mary totaled a team-best 16 kills and 12 blocks (one solo) while Emily had 21 kills, 13 digs and four block assists.
Notre Dame (14-6), which has won eight of its last nine matches and has yet to lose to an unranked opponent, also received timely contributions from freshman opposite Christi Girton (career-best 13 kills on team-best .462 hitting) and senior hitters Angie Harris (14 kills) and Jaimie Lee (12 kills, .333 hitting).
Houston (12-7) - which joined Notre Dame as one of 34 teams to receive votes in this week's USA Today/AVCA coaches poll - was paced by Kristin Guidish's 25 kills on .500 hitting. Guidish also matched Lee with a match-high 19 digs while Debbie vokes chipped in 19 kills for the Cougars.
The Irish gained an early 3-1 edge in the fifth game and stretched to an 8-5 lead when Emily Leffers was blocked by her sister and Irish freshman setter Denis Boylan. Leffers then padded the Irish lead with a kill and Harris delivered a huge crosscourt kill. A UH hitting error and an ace from junior middle Lindsay Treadwell stretched the lead to 10-5 and the Irish added another point before the Cougars sided out. With the score 12-6, UH blew any chance of a comeback when Alisa Bennett served out of rotation.
Moments later, Irish freshman Jo Jameyson - a native of nearby Alvin, Texas - entered the match to the thrill of her hometown fans that were in attendance. Jameyson fittingly converted the final kill of the match.
Notre Dame owned a .254 - .215 edge in hitting and a sizeable 18-9 block advantage.
After dropping the first two games, the Cougars jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the third game, prompting Notre Dame to switch setters. Senior Carey May came on to replace Boylan and led the Irish to eight straight points and a 10-10 tie, with May serving six straight points (including an ace). Sophomore hitter Mandi Powell also replaced Harris for much of the thrid game but the Cougars secured the final five points to entend the match.
The Cougars then forced a decisive fifth game thanks to .304 hitting in game four, with May re-entering midway through the fourth game. Boylan returned to set the fifth game.
The Irish - who opened Tuesday's match at Texas with a 10-1 lead - again came out strong in Wednesday's action, racing to a 9-1 lead en route to the 15-8 win in game one. Leffers and Harris had four kills each to pace Notre Dame's .346 hitting in the opening game. The second game was tie (4-4) before the Irish scored the next four points, capped by Lee's 100th career ace. Leffers again paced the Irish with four kills in the game while having a hand in all four Irish blocks during the game (including one solo).
Notre Dame held Houston to .133 hitting in game one and .132 in game two but the hosts came back to hit .224 in the third game.
NOTES:Harris recorded double-digit kills for the 75th time in her career, second in Irish history behind Christy Peters' 80 (1991-94) ... Lee's 19 digs moved her into a tie with Janelle Karlan (1990-93) for fifth on the Irish career digs list, with 1,025 ... Leffers 12 blocks moved her past former teammate Jen Rouse (251, 1993-96) into 10th on the Irish career blocks list, with 255 (seven behind Lee) ... former Notre Dame volleyball player Kristina Ervin was on hand at Wednesday's match, along with several of her current co-workers and former Irish swimmer Karen Foley .... Ervin, who graduated from Notre Dame last May, is involved in public service work with special needs children in Houston ... Notre Dame junior middle Lindsay Treadwell and UH junior setter Bethany Hill played together on the Austin Volleyball Club ... Girton and UH freshman setter Morgan Wallen are former Munciana Volleyball Club teammates.