Aug. 1, 2002
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team, which begins the 2002 season on Aug. 30 against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has been picked to win its third-straight league title this year, as voted by the conference head coaches. The Irish received 10 of 13 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Pittsburgh and Rutgers.
Two Irish players landed on the preseason all-BIG EAST squad. Junior setter Kristen Kinder, the 2001 BIG EAST Setter of the Year, and junior middle blocker Kim Fletcher made Notre Dame the only conference team represented by two players on the preseason all-BIG EAST team.
Pittsburgh's Wendy Hatlestad was named the Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year.
The top four teams in the conference (which includes 13 teams with the addition of Miami) will qualify for the 2002 BIG EAST Championship in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 23-24.
Notre Dame has won the last two conference championships, including last season's showcase in Pittsburgh (defeating Georgetown in five games). The Irish have won their last 27 matches against BIG EAST Conference teams and have posted 34 straight wins in regular-season league action. Notre Dame also is 43-0 at home against BIG EAST Conference opponents.
2002 BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Notre Dame, 166 points
2. Pittsburgh, 151 points
3. Rutgers, 142 points
4. Georgetown, 135 points
5. Connecticut, 128 points
6. Miami, 100 points
7. Virginia Tech, 88 points
8. Seton Hall, 82 points
9. St. John's, 76 points
10. Boston College, 70 points
11. Syracuse, 51 points
12. West Virginia, 45 points
13. Villanova, 27 points
14. Providence, 13 points
Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year
Wendy Hatlestad, Pittsburgh
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Sara Albert, So., Georgetown
*Shayla Bush, Jr., Rutgers Kim Fletcher, Jr., Notre Dame
*Wendy Hatlestad, Pittsburgh Kristen Kinder, Jr., Notre Dame
Melissa Wooley, Sr., Connecticut
* - unanimous selection