Aug. 8, 2007
Providence, R.I. - The BIG EAST Conference announced Wednesday that the University of Notre Dame volleyball team is favored to win the 2007 BIG EAST regular-season title. Notre Dame received eight first-place nods as voted on by league head coaches, narrowly topping defending champion Louisville by one point. The Fighting Irish are viewed as the team to beat for the second consecutive year, despite ending the 2006 regular season tied for third after going 10-4 in conference play.
Seniors Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South) and Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos) look to lead Notre Dame back to the BIG EAST Championship for the fourth time in as many seasons. Stasiuk, a 2006 all-BIG EAST first team selection, and junior outside hitter Mallorie Croal (Villa Park Calif./Mater Dei) - who was also a first-teamer last season - were both named to the 2007 all-BIG EAST preseason squad. Stasiuk was one of four unanimous selections, joining Kimberley Todd (Marquette), Diana Andreyko (Pittsburgh), and preseason co-players of the year Hui Ping Huang (St. John's) and Tatyana Kolesnikova (Louisville).
Louisville received seven first-place votes after coming off a 25-7 campaign in 2006 and winning the program's first BIG EAST Tournament title. Led by Huang, St. John's was tabbed to finish third on the heels of posting a 31-5 record and taking home the league's regular season crown with a perfect 14-0 record.
The 2007 BIG EAST Championship will be played at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wisc. Host Marquette will welcome the conference's top eight teams (ranked by league record) which will compete in the single-elimination tournament held Nov. 16-18. The final match will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 4:00 p.m. (EDT).
Irish head coach Debbie Brown returns for her 17th season at the helm of program. After recording her 500th career win in 2006, she is eight wins shy of her 400th victory at Notre Dame. The Irish open the season with a pair of home matches against Minnesota (Aug. 24) and Florida (Aug. 26) at the Joyce Center.
BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll
( ) - indicates first place votes
BIG EAST Preseason co-Players of Year
All-BIG EAST Preseason Team