Sept. 16, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - It was a weekend of firsts for junior opposite Katie Neff. Against Northwestern on Friday, Sept. 13, she enjoyed the first first plus-.500 hitting performance of her career with 11 kills on 19 swings and just one error (.520). She continued her hot hitting against Loyola College the next day, posting six kills on seven swings (.825) in just two games of action. Then, to cap off her stellar weekend, she earned the tournament MVP award with a career-best 21 kills in Notre Dame's five-game come-from-behind victory over #10 Pepperdine to win the 2002 Golden Dome Invitational. The 21-kill effort was Neff's first career match with 20-plus kills.
The weekend ended with Neff being named the BIG EAST Player of the Week by the conference office on Monday, Sept. 16. Neff led all Notre Dame hitters with a .482 hitting percentage last week, totaling 45 kills (3.75 per game) and 13 blocks (1.08 per game). It is the first BIG EAST Conference weekly award of the St. Louis, Mo., native's career.
Neff, who was hailed by head coach Debbie Brown early in the 2002 season as one of the most improved players on the Irish roster, has moved to full-time duty on the right side for the first time this season.
"Katie was outstanding all weekend," Brown says.
"She had the opportunity to step up and she seized it. She did an outstanding job of keeping the other team off balance with her hitting and blocking."
Neff ended up with 11 kills and three blocks against Northwestern and six kills and two blocks against Loyola College. Her seven kills against Valparaiso on Sept. 10, also factored in her player of the week award. In all, Neff took 83 swings in Notre Dame's four matches last week and committed just five attack errors.
The Irish will be back in action at Purdue on Wednesday, Sept. 18. A live audio link will be available on www.und.com.