Dec. 5, 1997
Notre Dame Volleyball Advances in NCAA Tournament
Irish surge past Liberty, await Arkansas/Arkansas Little Rock winner
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Notre Dame women's volleyball team overcame a sluggish start to post one of the most dominating postseason efforts in the program's history Friday, defeating Liberty University 15-9, 15-3, 15-2 at Barnhill Arena in first-round action of the Central sub-regional.
Notre Dame (24-8), which has won its opening match in the last five NCAA Tournaments, advances to Saturday's second-round match (7:00 p.m. central) vs. the hosts and #18-ranked Arkansas. The Lady Razorbacks posted their 18th straight victory Friday with 15-11, 15-3, 15-3 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock. A win Saturday would send Notre Dame on to the regional round for the first time since 1995.
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 out blocked 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 has recorded 10-plus kills in 26 matches this season, including 18 of the last 19. Harris has recorded 10-plus kills in 26 matches this season, including 18 of the last 19. 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. Friday's match marked Lee's 12 double-double match of the season (10-plus kills and 10-plus digs) and the 33rd of her career, fifth in Irish history and just one behind Harris and Jenny Birkner (1993-96) on Notre Dame all-time list.
Notre Dame's starting middle blockers continued to make a key contributions, as junior Lindsay Treadwell had seven kills on .462 hitting while sophomore Mary Leffers totaled eight kills on .357 hitting. Treadwell assisted on six Irish blocks while Leffers had a hand in four Irish blocks.
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 saw her recent struggles continue with two kills and four errors on eight attempts.
The Irish seized momentum in the first game, with three kills from Lee keying a surge that tied the game 8-8. The Flames managed to secure the next point but Notre Dame closed out the game, highlighted by three kills from Harris, two from Leffers and a dump by freshman setter Denise Boylan.
Notes: Lee has 81 kills in the last four matches and 1,396 kills in her career, just shy of the 1,400 milestone...Lee's 66 career double-digit kill matches rank fourth in Irish history, two behind '89 grad. Zanette Bennett's 68 (Harris has an Irish record 86) ... Harris became the first irish player ever to total 450-plus kills in two seasons ...she now has 456 kills for the season, passing Mary Kay Waller 444, 1988) into fourth on the Irish all-time list--just 14 behind Harris' sophomore-year total...Lee's 432 ranks sixth in Irish history.
Notre Dame Head Coach Debbie Brown: "I think we had some first-game jitters. Liberty gave a great effort--they didn't give up and that was good for us to see. We improved on our blocking with each game. Once we were able to settle down, we were fine. We are immediately focusing on Saturday night--there's not much time to get ready...I won't hesitate to use Jo Jameyson. If other players aren't performing, I have confidence in Jo's ability and she has played well the last few weeks..We have continued to improve during the past few weeks and I hope the fact that we played eight ranked teams this season will help us on Saturday. We have several veteran players and this is the time of year when you count on them to consistently make the big plays. We can't afford for anybody to have a bad match tomorrow night and they know what it takes to win at this level."
Liberty head coach Chris Phillips: "We had a good first game and they didn't pass well and that tends to break down the rest of our game. Notre Dame is a good team--they will do well in the tournament. We came out very focused and intense, but Notre Dame was able to adjust and we didn't adjust to them."