Oct. 7, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
Notre Dame will play two of the top teams in the BIG EAST Conference volleyball standings this weekend when it travels to Louisville (Oct. 9) and No. 21 Cincinnati (Oct. 10) for league action.
Coming off last week's two-match road sweep at USF and Georgetown, the Irish (11-5 overall, 4-0 BIG EAST) are tied with the Bearcats (15-3, 4-0) for first place in the BIG EAST, as Louisville (8-5, 3-1) stands in a four-way tie for third.
The matchup at Cincinnati will be televised live on ESPNU at 5:00 p.m. (ET).
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
11-5 overall / 4-0 BIG EAST
8-5 overall / 3-1 BIG EAST
Saturday, Oct. 9 10:00 a.m. (ET)
Cardinal Arena Louisville, Ky.
Live video / stats / chat: und.com
No. 21 Cincinnati Bearcats
15-3 overall / 4-0 BIG EAST
Sunday, Oct. 10 5:00 p.m. (ET)
Fifth Third Arena Cincinnati, Ohio
Live stats: und.com
*there will be no live chat for the Cincinnati match
Notre Dame Volleyball Twitter: @ndvolleyball
Notre Dame Athletics Twitter: @und_com
Irish Alerts (text messaging service): und.com
Bump, Set, Spike ...
Each of Notre Dame's four BIG EAST wins this season have been 3-0 sweeps (for the first time since 1999).
Notre Dame's 11 aces at USF (Oct. 1) marked the second time in school history the Irish had at least 11 serves drop for scores in a three-set affair (Notre Dame recorded 17 during a 3-0 win at Valparaiso on Sept. 12, 1984) ... Andrea McHugh had a career-high five aces against the Bulls, becoming the first player to do so since 2007 (Kim Kristoff accomplished the feat against DePaul on Oct. 19, 2007).
The Irish have not been out-hit in any of their last 21 regular-season league matches ... Marquette was the last team to out-hit Notre Dame, doing so in 2008 (.251 to .191).
Series Notes ...
Series history: Notre Dame leads, 17-8 (4-1 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Louisville, W1
First meeting: Oct. 11, 1986 - Notre Dame, 3-0
Last meeting: Nov. 21, 2009 - Louisville, 3-2
Notes: Notre Dame has won each of the last three regular-season meetings with Louisville, but the Cardinals have knocked the Irish out of the last four BIG EAST Championships ... the defeat in the 2009 league tournament snapped Notre Dame's 15-match winning streak ... Notre Dame downed Louisville for the latest of its nine league titles in 2005 ... Louisville native Christina Kaelin tallied 14 kills in a homecoming match of sorts during the regular-season meeting between the two teams in 2008 ... Kaelin also hit .344 during the 3-0 Irish win, which was the first sweep on the Cardinals' home floor since the first-ever meeting between the two programs on Oct. 11, 1986 ... it was just the fourth sweep over Louisville for Notre Dame in the 25-match series history ... during the 2007 regular season, the Irish dealt Louisville a 3-1 defeat to blemish what was previously an undefeated league mark for the Cardinals ... Louisville finished the regular season at 13-1 against BIG EAST opponents ... in 2003 postseason action, the Cardinals knocked Notre Dame out of the NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 first-round win ... Louisville defeated Notre Dame twice in 2006, the first time the Irish had ever dropped multiple contests to the Cardinals in the same season ... in the 1994 meeting in the Joyce Center, the Irish had 94 kills which ranks fifth on the school's all-time list ... after six consecutive Notre Dame wins, UofL broke through at home in 1992 with a 3-1 upset of the 20th-ranked Irish.
Series history: Notre Dame leads, 9-2 (3-2 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W1
First meeting: Sept. 19, 1987 - Notre Dame, 3-2
Last meeting: Oct. 10, 2009 - Notre Dame, 3-2
Notes: This season's match will feature the league's lone undefeated teams going head-to-head against each other ... the contest will be the 12th meeting between Notre Dame and Cincinnati with the Irish holding a 28-14 advantage in sets won throughout the series ... the Irish were a perfect 3-0 in league play heading into the 2008 matchup and 3-0 going into the 2009 showdown ... the last time Notre Dame played at Cincinnati (2008) in Fifth Third Arena, it could not overcome 17 service errors while falling to the Bearcats, 3-1 ... in 2009, Serinity Phillips recorded her 1,000th career kill and classmate Jamel Nicholas delivered three aces down the final stretch of the fifth set as Notre Dame dealt Cincinnati a 3-2 loss ... Notre Dame also received 20 kills from Christina Kaelin, the ninth match of her career with 20 or more kills ... the effort tied her for sixth all-time in that category with Kristy Kreher (1998-2001) ... Notre Dame swept Cincinnati in 2007, taking a regular-season contest and later downed the Bearcats in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship ... in 2006, the Irish redeemed a regular-season loss by knocking the Bearcats out of the BIG EAST Championship with a come-from-behind win in five sets ... it was the first time on the season that Notre Dame had trailed 2-1 and came back to win ... the match also marked the second time all season that Notre Dame had a pair of players with 20+ kills in the same match ... Mallorie Croal had 25 kills while Adrianna Stasiuk slammed 23 ... Cincinnati's 3-0 win in October 2007 was its first defeat of an Irish squad ... the first-ever match between the teams was a five-set affair in the 1987 Eastern Kentucky Colonel Invitational in Richmond, Ky. ... the schools did not play again until an Irish win in the opening round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio ... Zanette Bennett cranked 31 kills against the Bearcats in the 1987 match, a total which stands tied for the third-highest ever by an Irish player in any length match ... she finished with a .529 hitting mark in that match, which is the second-highest mark in program history in a five-set affair ... Irish great Mary Jo Hensler (1981-84) hails from the Cincinnati area.
Streaking ... Again ...
Notre Dame currently sports the nation's sixth-best regular-season conference winning streak, which stands at 19 matches ... the Irish won their last BIG EAST contest of the 2008 season, went 14-0 in 2009, and have swept each of their four matches in 2010 ... the program is accustomed to such winning streaks in BIG EAST action, having once won 45 (Oct. 1, 1999-Nov. 9, 2002) and 35 (Sept. 30, 1995-Oct. 4, 1995) straight league matches.
Active Volleyball Regular Season Conference Winning Streaks (as of Oct. 3)
1. Hawaii - 29
t2. Central Arkansas / Lipscomb - 27
4. Northern Iowa - 24
5. Albany - 23
6. Notre Dame - 19
Watch List ...
Kristen Dealy needs eight digs for 800 (career) ... Kellie Sciacca needs 28 kills to become the 19th player in program history with 1,000 kills.
McHugh Ties Record With Latest BIG EAST Honor ...
For the third time this season, outside hitter Andrea McHugh was named the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week on Oct. 4 ... McHugh is now tied with senior Kellie Sciacca for the most Freshman of the Week honors earned by an Irish player, as Sciacca also notched three during her 2007 rookie campaign ... McHugh set a new career high with 19 kills - the most by an Irish player in a three-set match since 2006 - at Georgetown (Oct. 3) on a .562 clip, which was her best hitting pct. on the season ... the effort came on the heels of posting 13 kills and five aces at USF (Oct. 1), making her the first Irish player with five aces in a contest since 2007 ... on the weekend, she hit .475 with 5.33 kills/set and 0.83 aces/set while leading the Irish to a pair of wins.
It's Been a Grand ...
Notre Dame played in the 1,000th match in program history when it took the court at USF (Oct. 1), and won the contest in three sets.
Beginning the BIG EAST ...
With wins over West Virginia (Sept. 24) and Pittsburgh (Sept. 26), Notre Dame went 2-0 on the opening weekend of BIG EAST Conference play for the third straight year and 15th time in 16 seasons since joining the league in 1995 ... the Irish are 15-1 in BIG EAST openers, with the lone loss coming at Pittsburgh in 2007 ... the win over the Panthers was also the first sweep against Pittsburgh for the Irish since 2004.
Make It Two for McHugh ...
Outside hitter Andrea McHugh was named the BIG EAST Conference's Volleyball Freshman of the Week on Sept. 27 ... the honor was the second for McHugh in the first five weeks of the season ... Notre Dame rallied behind McHugh's arm during a 3-0 sweep of West Virginia (Sept. 24), as she came through with 16 kills and 13 scoops for the fifth double-double of her early career ... seven of those kills came in the third set when Notre Dame rallied from a 24-20 deficit to capture the win ... more importantly for the Irish, the win over the Mountaineers snapped a three-match losing streak ... McHugh went on to post nine kills and seven digs in a 3-0 win against Pittsburgh (Sept. 26) ... she wrapped up the weekend with 4.17 kills/set and 3.33 digs/set.
Something About South Florida ...
Kellie Sciacca hit .412 with nine kills at USF (Oct. 1), which was surprisingly her lowest output ever against the Bulls during the regular season ... Sciacca is now hitting .556 in four career matches against the Bulls (.500 in 2007, .643 in 2008 and .667 in 2009).
The 500 Club ...
Senior libero Megan Dunne shelved the 500th dig of her career against West Virginia (Sept. 24) in the BIG EAST Conference opener at Purcell Pavilion ... Dunne became the third player on the Irish roster with at least 500 career digs (joining Kristen Dealy and Frenchy Silva).
Dealy Does It ...
Junior outside hitter Kristen Dealy was named to the Notre Dame Invitational all-tournament team, which was hosted by the Irish Sept. 17-19 ... she averaged 3.64 kills/set and 4.36 digs/set in three matches and went for 24 kills and 25 digs against Delaware (Sept. 17), career-high numbers in both categories ... her final totals signified the 19th time in 31 seasons of varsity competition at Notre Dame that a player posted a 20-20 output (kills, digs or assists) ... the last to do so was Adrianna Stasiuk against Cincinnati in 2006.
She Can Dig It ...
Junior libero Frenchy Silva had a career-high 24 digs against Delaware (Sept. 17) ... as Kristen Dealy notched 25 in the contest, the duo became the first pair of Irish players to record 20+ digs in a match since 2007 ... Megan Dunne (23) and Adrianna Stasiuk (21) replicated the feat at LSU in 2007 ... Silva leads all active players with five career 20+ dig performances (Megan Dunne - 3, Kristen Dealy - 3) ... Silva is also one of four players in Irish history to average +3.00 digs/set in a career.
Start It Up ...
Notre Dame's 7-2 record through the first nine matches was the team's best start since 2005 ... that season, the Irish won their first seven contests before falling to LSU at the Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic in College Station, Texas, before winning the next 15 matches on the slate.
Brown Earns No. 450 ...
Irish head coach Debbie Brown earned her 450th career win to start Denver's Pioneer Classic with a 3-0 sweep of Gonzaga (Sept. 10) ... Brown, now in her 20th season at the helm of the Notre Dame program, has a record of 452-175 (.724) with the Irish.
Hit 'Em Hard ...
Notre Dame posted a .488 hitting pct. in a 3-0 sweep of Denver (Sept. 12), the program's best single-match average since Nov. 4, 2001 (when the Irish hit .495 in a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh).
Hit 'Em High ...
Senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca averaged 3.70 kills/set on a blistering .582 average across the three matches at the Pioneer Classic to earn her third straight all-tournament accolade ... she became the first player since 2007 to finish a match with a clip over .700 after hitting .722 against Denver.
Quick and Easy ...
Notre Dame's win over Denver (Sept. 12) spanned just 1:10, tying the program record for the second-quickest match played in the 25-point era.
Three of a Kind ...
Notre Dame posted 2-1 marks at each of the first two tournaments to open the season before going 3-0 at Denver's Pioneer Classic (Sept. 10-12) ... it was the program's first sweep of a three-match invite since 2005, when the Irish downed No. 8 USC, Oklahoma and No. 6 Florida at the UTSA Dome Rally in San Antonio, Texas ... the 2005 team finished 30-4 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament ... the Irish won each of their two contests at the 2009 Notre Dame Invitational with wins over New Mexico State and Wisconsin.
CVU.com, BIG EAST Deal Honors To Sciacca ...
Senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca missed out on the BIG EAST's top weekly award, but was recognized nationally as a Top Performer by CVU.com on Sept. 14 ... the award came on the heels of being named to Denver's Pioneer Classic all-tournament team after hitting .582 on the week and leading the Irish to three wins ... the BIG EAST placed Sciacca on its weekly honor roll ... Kristen Dealy was the last Irish player to earn recognition from CVU.com after doing so in November 2009.
More All-Tournament Nods ...
Senior middle Blocker Kellie Sciacca hit .582 across 10 sets in three matches at Denver's Pioneer Classic (Sept. 10-12) with 3.70 kills/set and 1.30 blocks/set ... sophomore Hilary Eppink wasn't too far behind with a .561 average, nine blocks and a pair of aces ... both were named to the event's all-tournament team.
Doubling up on all-tournament honors for the 2010 were senior Kellie Sciacca and freshman Andrea McHugh, who earned the distinction at the Nevada Invitational (Sept. 3-4) ... each were also named to the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team to begin the season ... McHugh totaled 43 kills (3.31/set) in three matches with 2.00 digs/set and 0.69 blocks/set ... she led Notre Dame in scoring with 52.0 points ... Sciacca was her usual steady self with 2.46 kills/set on a .338 clip and 1.31 blocks/set ... against Weber State (Sept. 4), Sciacca tied a career best with three solo blocks in three sets.
Reno Aces ...
Freshman Nicole Smith did not take many risks from behind the service line during the Nevada Invitational in Reno, Nev., but her performance would have caused plenty of envy from the blackjack players down the way from Virginia Street Gym ... Smith fired in a match-high four aces in three sets against Weber State (Sept. 4), including back-to-back-to-back daisies to blow the match open in the opening frame ... she is the first Irish freshman to knock down four aces in a single match since Beth Wildermuth, who also had four against California during her freshman season in 2008.
Early Five-Setters ...
Through six matches to start the 2010 season, Notre Dame stretched it to the limit with three five-set affairs, winning two of the contests ... the three five-setters are the most since 2004, when that squad went the distance in three of its first five matches while dropping two of three.
Sciacca Shreds Shamrock Invite ...
Senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca was named to the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team for the second straight year after finishing the three-match weekend with 4.00 kills/set and a .429 hitting pct. ... she posted a career-high 21 kills on a .645 hitting clip - the fourth-best average ever by a Notre Dame player in a four-set match - on 31 swings with just one error against Marshall (Aug. 27) ... Sciacca then came back to help Notre Dame defeat Cal Poly (Aug. 28) with 17 kills and tacked on 10 more versus No. 18 Arizona (Aug. 29) for her third-straight double-figure kill total.
McHugh Has Huge Opening Weekend ...
Freshman outside hitter Andrea McHugh was named the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week (Aug. 30) one day after wrapping up her first weekend in an Irish uniform ... McHugh registered a pair of double-doubles as her 11 kills and 16 digs against Marshall (Aug. 27) came before 14 kills and 18 digs against Cal Poly (Aug. 28) ... she blistered No. 18 Arizona (Aug. 29) with 12 kills and a solo block ... McHugh also had an ace in each of her three matches ... on the weekend, she averaged 3.08 kills/set and 3.17 digs/set with 3.42 points/set ... furthermore, McHugh is the first Irish player to earn the award after the season's opening weekend since Christina Kaelin did so in 2006.
Wide Openers ...
Notre Dame is now 24-7 (19-1 under head coach Debbie Brown) in home openers ... the Irish are 20-9 (.689) in the month of August and 18-6 (.750) at home in August.
Preseason Honors ...
Notre Dame was picked to finish third in 2010 BIG EAST Conference regular season play, according to a vote of the league's 15 head coaches ... for the first time since joining the BIG EAST in 2005, Cincinnati emerged as the favorite in the BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll ... the Bearcats were unanimously selected, receiving 196 points and all 14 first-place votes. Louisville, the defending tournament champion, was picked second ... since the inception of round-robin play in 1990, 19 of the last 20 preseason favorites have advanced to the finals of the BIG EAST Championship ... of those favorites, 15 have captured the tournament championship and advanced to the NCAA Championship, while 13 have taken the regular-season title ... however, the last team to be selected first in the preseason poll and win the regular-season crown was Notre Dame in 2004 ... Kristen Dealy and two-time all-BIG EAST choice Kellie Sciacca both earned spots on the all-BIG EAST preseason team ... Sciacca led the conference in league play with a .429 hitting percentage in 2009.
Freshman Class Regarded By PrepVolleyball.com ...
Notre Dame's six-person freshman class - Maggie Brindock, Sam Brown, Sammie Brown, Andrea McHugh, Andie Olsen and Nicole Smith - was tabbed by PrepVolleyball.com as the nation's 13th-best recruiting class ... the newcomers will help replace six departing seniors which led the Irish to the 2009 BIG EAST Conference regular-season title and a national ranking ... Notre Dame received the highest ranking of any BIG EAST member ... USC, Penn State and Stanford held the top three spots, respectively, in the rankings ... Notre Dame's departed six-person class from the 2009 season was ranked fifth by PrepVolleyball.com in 2006.