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    Four-Match Road Swing Ends With Weekend Twinbill

    FIGHTING IRISH The Irish continue their road trip this weekend with visits to Villanova and Seton Hall.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    The Irish continue their road trip this weekend with visits to Villanova and Seton Hall.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Oct. 23, 2008

    Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - After dropping a 3-1 battle with Long Beach in California this past Tuesday, the Notre Dame volleyball team heads eastward for a pair of BIG EAST Conference matches at Villanova (Oct. 25) and Seton Hall (Oct. 26). The Irish will have covered 6,000 miles and hit ground in five states over the course of one week by the time they return to campus Sunday evening.

    The Irish have split their last four matches with the latest win coming at DePaul on Oct. 16. With a 5-2 BIG EAST record, Notre Dame is tied with Cincinnati behind Pittsburgh (6-1), St. John's (5-1) and Syracuse (5-1) in the league standings.

    Notre Dame looks to redeem a 2007 loss to Villanova, the first ever to the Wildcats, and will take part in Seton Hall's Dig for the Cure match on Sunday. Notre Dame is 4-1 on the road against league foes this season.

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    (10-10 overall / 5-2 BIG EAST)

    Villanova Wildcats
    (11-11 overall / 2-4 BIG EAST)
    Oct. 25 • 2 p.m. (ET) • Nevin Gymnasium
    Live video / audio / stats: UND.com

    Seton Hall Pirates
    (11-10 overall / 2-3 BIG EAST)
    Oct. 26 • 2 p.m. (ET) • Walsh Gymnasium
    Live stats: UND.com

    Bump, Set, Spike ...
    • Notre Dame has dropped three of its last five contests and heads into the weekend's action with an even 10-10 worksheet ... each of the three most recent defeats have been in four-set contests.
    • Entering Saturday's match with Villanova the Irish boast the league's top hitting percentage (.297), assists/set (13.92) and kills/set (14.83) in conference play ... junior outside hitter Christina Kaelin is tied with USF's Marcela Gurgel with a league-best 4.29 kills/set ... sophomore Kellie Sciacca is third with a .411 hitting percentage while Kaelin is sixth with a .358 clip ... junior setter Jamel Nicholas sits second with 11.71 assists/set.
    • Notre Dame carries a perfect 13-0 record versus Seton Hall and last dropped a set to the Pirates in 2004 ... in fact, that was the only set Seton Hall has ever taken from Notre Dame.
    • Villanova had previously dropped 16 consecutive matches to Notre Dame before picking up its first win ever over the Irish in 2007 ... that contest at the Joyce Center went five sets with the Wildcats earning a 17-15 win in the final frame to take home the win.

    Series History ...
    • Notre Dame and Seton Hall will meet this season for the 14th time overall, having met once each year since the Irish became a member of the BIG EAST Conference in 1995 ... Notre Dame is 8-0 at home and 5-0 on the road in the series ... head coach Debbie Brown won the 500th match of her career in Notre Dame's 3-0 sweep at Seton Hall in 2006 (Sept. 30) ... Brown became only the 28th coach in NCAA history to reach the 500-win plateau ... during the win, Adrianna Stasiuk led the attack for Notre Dame with her 10th double-double of the season to go along with five blocks, and the Irish outhit the Pirates .225 to .091 ... the 2007 matchup marked Notre Dame's first sweep of the season as the Irish posted a .319 attack percentage ... the Irish have won all 13 matches against Seton Hall and 39 of 40 sets ... in 2004, the Pirates broke through for their first set victory in a 30-24, 30-27, 26-30, 30-23 home defeat ... the 1996 match saw the Irish commit just one service error, which is tied for the fewest ever in a match ... in 1997, Notre Dame turned in its second-best hitting performance in school history, with 47 kills and just six errors on 80 attempts for a .512 percentage ... the 2002 contest lasted just 1:14, making it the third-quickest affair under the 30-point scoring format ... former Notre Dame libero Meg Henican had 37 digs in the 2004 match, setting an Irish record for most digs in a four-set affair.

    • The Irish and Wildcats will meet for the 14th consecutive season and 18th time overall ... Notre Dame won each of the first 16 contests, including a pair of wins in 2005, before falling in five sets to Villanova in 2007 ... Serinity Phillips had a career-high 26 kills and Kellie Sciacca tacked on 11 of Notre Dame's 22 blocks in last year's duel ... it was the fifth five-set match for Notre Dame through 14 matches on the season ... four individuals recorded double-doubles for Notre Dame in that contest ... in 2006, Notre Dame dropped the first set before rattling off three straight in its 3-1 win ... the 35-37 loss in the first set was the highest scoring individual set (72 points) for Notre Dame since 2003, when they topped Eastern Washington (Aug. 30) in set one, 37-35 ... the team's hitting percentage of .345 was the highest Notre Dame had hit in a match longer than three sets since a 2004 duel against Boston College ... in 1999, the Irish turned in their third-highest hitting percentage in school history against Villanova, with 60 kills and just eight errors on 102 swings for a .510 mark ... the teams have played a pair of five-set matches, the first coming when 12th-ranked Notre Dame rallied from a 2-0 deficit to prevail in the Joyce Center during the 1996 campaign ... the schools met once before Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST ... that 1982 match at Villanova was won by the Irish in three sets ... Notre Dame and Villanova have played three times in the BIG EAST Championship, with the Irish winning in three sets in the 1995 semifinals and in four sets at the semifinals in 2005 ... Notre Dame took four sets in 1997 to win the league title ... Notre Dame has been nationally ranked all three times it has played Villanova in the BIG EAST Championship ... only five times in the series has Notre Dame needed more than three sets to defeat Villanova ... the Irish lead in sets won, 47-10.

    The Scoop On Seton Hall ...
    The Pirates topped Villanova, 3-2, in thrilling fashion last week ... no set was decided by more than three points, as the Pirates were able to hold on for the win in the deciding fifth set, 15-12 ... senior Tricia Meyers notched a season-high 20 kills in the contest and junior Allie Matters continued her strong defensive play with 22 digs ... she is just four scoops shy of setting the school's single-season record with eight matches left to play this season ... Seton Hall plays host to Notre Dame for the home team's Dig Pink National Breast Cancer Awareness Rally.


    Inside the Nova ...
    Villanova has dropped several close sets in its previous two matches ... before falling to Seton Hall, 3-2, the Wildcats were swept by Delaware on Oct. 15 ... but two points were all that separated the two teams in the first two sets (25-23, 26-24) ... Delaware claimed the final frame, 25-21 ... Wildcat senior Dana Tartazky and freshmen Morgan Petkovich each recorded 13 kills for Villanova in the match.

    Last Time Out ...
    Freshman Kristen Dealy finished with 16 kills and 11 digs for her team-high fifth double-double of the season Tuesday in a non-conference meeting at Long Beach State, but Notre Dame went on to drop a 3-1 (20-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-12) decision to the 49ers ... Long Beach, which has been in and out of the top 25 throughout the season, improved to 16-4 with the victory in front of 1,454 fans at the Walter Pyramid ... Dealy finished with a .286 hitting percentage and added six blocks and one ace ... Notre Dame blocked 15 shots as sophomore Kellie Sciacca punched in six stuffs and junior Tara Enzweiler added five ... four of Dealy's blocks were of the solo version ... junior Serinity Phillips had a solid outing with 11 kills and 10 digs with three blocks ... Quincy Verdin of Long Beach had a match-high 21 kills on 33 attempts (.545).

    The Real Deal(y) ...
    Freshman Kristen Dealy continues to establish herself as one of the better all-around players on the Irish roster this season ... after posting 10+ kills and digs at Long Beach (Oct. 21), the first-year outside hitter now leads the Irish with a team-high five double-doubles, including two in the last three matches alone ... she parlayed those efforts with six blocks (four solo) against the 49ers ... Dealy scorched West Virginia (Oct. 11) earlier this season with a smooth float serve that produced four aces for the Irish ... only freshman Beth Wildermuth has recorded as many aces in a single match this season, doing so versus No. 4 California (Sept. 13).

    Stacking Up With the BIG EAST ...
    Notre Dame leads all BIG EAST teams in conference play with a .297 team hitting average, 13.92 assists/set and 14.83 kills/set ... Christina Kaelin paces all players with 4.29 kills/set and sports a .358 clip in league matches ... she is one of just three players with more than 100 kills in league play with 103, joining USF's Marcela Gurgel (120) and Pittsburgh's Kelly Campbell (112) ... Kristen Dealy (2.58) and Megan Dunne (2.30) are the only players on Notre Dame's roster averaging more than a pair of digs in conference matches ... the Irish have recorded 29 aces against league foes (1.21/set) with Dealy checking in with nine of those ... the Irish are holding opponents to 0.46 aces/set and have surrendered only nine free points from behind the stripe through seven matches.

    The Offensive Engineer ...
    Setter Jamel Nicholas has had at least 20 assists in each of Notre Dame's matches this season with the Irish switching between a 5-1 and 6-2 offensive attack ... Nicholas had a career-high 54 assists against Pittsburgh (Oct. 12) ... Nicholas currently ranks seventh on the school's all-time assists list with 1,468 ... she reached a noteworthy milestone at the Idaho Volleyball Classic (Sept. 5-6) by surpassing the 1,000-assist plateau ... Nicholas shared time with Ashley Tarutis during her first two seasons with the Fighting Irish and now mentors freshman setter Beth Wildermuth.

    To Sweep or Not To Sweep ...
    Four of Notre Dame's five BIG EAST Conference wins have come in the form of a 3-0 sweep ... the lone non-sweep was a 3-1 win at USF (Sept. 26), as Notre Dame dropped one set by a 21-25 count ... the Irish are 8-2 in three-set matches this season ... the two losses were at Idaho (Sept. 6) and Minnesota (Sept. 14) ... Notre Dame is 2-8 in matches extending past the three-set minimum.

    Irish Reach 600 ...
    Eight team aces and 13 kills by freshman Kristen Dealy powered Notre Dame to win No. 600 in program history West Virginia (Oct. 11) at the Joyce Center ... following the win the Irish sported a 600-343 (.636) overall record in their 29th season of varsity action.

    Take a Bow ...
    Christina Kaelin was part of the BIG EAST Conference's honor roll on Oct. 6 and again on Oct. 13 ... Kaelin had 11 kills with only one error for a .500 clip to lead an Irish team that hit .370 in an Oct. 11 contest with WVU ... the Irish received 21 kills from Kaelin in the team's next match versus Pittsburgh (Oct. 12) ... that performance put her in a four-way tie for 10th place on Notre Dame's career list for matches with 20+ kills (6) ... she had 20 against Eastern Washington earlier this season ... she averaged 4.57 kills/set over the two-match stretch ... she also led the Irish in kills and hitting percentage in each of the team's two matches from Oct. 4-5 ... Kaelin fired in 14 kills on a .344 average during her homecoming match against the Cardinals ... the Louisville native also added one dig and one block versus the Cardinals ... she finished with a match-high 17 kills on a .467 average at Cincinnati with one ace and five digs in the four-set affair ... she totaled 18.0 points in the Irish loss ... the junior averaged 4.43 kills/set on the weekend with a .403 average.

    Sciacca Strikes Again ...
    Sophomore middle blocker Kellie Sciacca was named the league's top player on Sept. 29 for her performances during Irish wins at USF (Sept. 26) and Georgetown (Sept. 28) ... Sciacca had 20 kills in her first BIG EAST match of the season while posting a .643 average against USF ... she recorded 16 kills versus the Bulls before recording an error and finished with only two faults on 28 attempts ... her hitting percentage in the contest was the fourth highest ever in school history for a four-set match ... she followed that performance with nine kills on 15 swings with three errors for a .400 average at Georgetown ... Sciacca also added an ace and one solo block against the Hoyas ... for the weekend, she averaged 4.14 kills/set with a .588 hitting clip ... the Monument, Colo., native was part of the league's honor roll on Sept. 1 ... the BIG EAST named Sciacca its Freshman of the Week three times in 2007 - the most among league rookies - as she was a part of the league's honor roll on four occasions ... Sciacca was also the American Volleyball Coaches Association's (AVCA) Northeast Region Freshman of the Year last season.

    Going Solo ...
    Senior middle blocker Justine Stremick made her presence felt after seeing action for the first time this season during her debut at the Diet Coke Classic (Sept. 12-14) ... Stremick, who missed the first six matches of the season while nursing an injured knee, had eight blocks against No. 16 Cal Poly (Sept. 12) and seven kills versus No. 4 California (Sept. 13) ... she now sits in the seventh spot on Notre Dame's all-time list with a career total of 80 solo bocks.

    The Bigger They Are ...
    It had been a while since Notre Dame faced three consecutive ranked opponents before doing so at the Diet Coke Classic (No. 16 Cal Poly, No. 4 California, No. 11 Minnesota) ... the last time Notre Dame challenged ranked foes in consecutive matches was in 2001 when they went to battle with No. 7 UCLA, No. 1 Nebraska and No. 15 Pepperdine at the U.S. Bank / Arby's Tournament in Lincoln, Neb. ... Notre Dame dropped each of the three matches on both occasions.

    Pocket Aces ...
    Notre Dame served a season-high eight aces against Washington State (Sept. 6), but raised the bar one week later against No. 4 California (Sept. 13) with 10 aces ... Serinity Phillips, Jamel Nicholas, Tara Enzweiler and Beth Wildermuth each had two for the Fighting Irish against Washington State ... Wildermuth added a career-high four aces against California.

    On Top of the Summit ...
    In 29 seasons of varsity volleyball, Notre Dame earned just its first win over a Summit League opponent with a 3-0 sweep of IPFW (Aug. 29) ... the league changed its name from the Mid-Continent Conference to Summit in June 2007 ... before the season-opening win over the Mastodons the Irish were 26-8 all-time against the conference and 14-3 under head coach Debbie Brown.

    It's Good To Be Home ...
    Head coach Debbie Brown earned her 200th home victory at Notre Dame with a 3-1 win against Nevada (Aug. 30) ... the win moved Brown to 200-38 (.843) within the walls of the Joyce Center ... last season she picked up her 400th overall win as the Irish skipper.

    Give Silva the Shovel ...
    Freshman libero Frenchy Silva averaged 4.27 digs/set in four matches during the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) ... that clip ranked fourth in the BIG EAST Conference and the best among league rookies ... Silva scooped 21 shots against Valparaiso (Aug. 31), the first 20-dig effort by an Irish player since Adrianna Stasiuk posted an identical total at Connecticut (Oct. 27) in 2007.

    Brown Honored By Former Team ...
    Head coach Debbie Brown was honored on Sept. 4 during the University of Southern California's match versus Oklahoma as part of the program's All-Time Great Night ... Brown, a former Trojan standout, was joined during the ceremony with longtime friend and teammate Sue Woodstra ... permanent banners with Woodstra and Brown's name and numbers are now displayed in the Galen Center ... after graduating from El Segundo High School (Calif.), Brown captained the University of Southern California to a 72-1 two-year record and national titles in both 1976 and 1977, including a 38-0 run in 1977 that, until 1998, was the only unbeaten season in Division I women's volleyball history ... her 1977 squad is still considered one of the all-time greatest at any level of volleyball ... Brown (then Debbie Landreth) twice was named a collegiate All-American and received the Mikasa Award as the "nation's best all-around player" in 1976 and 1977 ... the 5-8 outside hitter left USC prior to her junior year, accepting an invitation to train full-time with the U.S. national team ... she co-captained the team to a fifth-place finish at the 1978 World Championships ... a year later, she and her teammates - including Debbie Green, Flo Hyman, Rita Crockett and Woodstra - qualified for the Olympics in Moscow and were considered serious medal contenders before the United States elected to boycott the games.

    Early Experience ...
    Freshmen Kristen Dealy and Frenchy Silva each cracked the starting lineups in their collegiate debut versus IPFW (Aug. 31) ... last season, first-year players Kellie Sciacca and Angela Puente started in the season opener ... setter Beth Wildermuth also saw significant action on the court in the season's first weekend of play ... Silva and Dealy earned starting nods in each of Notre Dame's three matches ... Dealy led the Irish with 31 kills (2.82 kills/set) while Silva averaged 4.27 digs/set ... not to be outdone, Wildermuth split time with starting setter Jamel Nicholas and posted 3.73 assists/set.

    Enzweiler Energizes Irish ...
    Junior middle blocker Tara Enzweiler set career-high marks in virtually every statistical category during the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) ... Enzweiler logged a pair of starts and matched or exceeded single-match personal bests in kills (5), attempts (13), aces (2), solo blocks (1), block assists (7), total blocks (8) and points (8.5).

    Setting Herself Up ...
    Junior setter Jamel Nicholas averaged 6.91 assists/set during the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) but much of her aid to the Irish offensive attack against Valparaiso (Aug. 31) came by means of a career-high seven kills ... her previous high of two kills was set versus Butler (Sept. 15) during her freshman campaign.

    Kaelin Christens Court ...
    Junior outside hitter Christina Kaelin returned from an injury that sidelined her for the duration of the 2007 campaign with three starts at the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) ... her weekend was highlighted by 13 kills for a .480 clip versus Valparaiso (Aug. 31) ... Kaelin was one of Notre Dame's top offensive threats throughout her freshman campaign.

    Shamrock Stars ...
    Junior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and sophomore middle blocker Kellie Sciacca were each named to the Shamrock Invitational All-Tournament squad ... Phillips had 13 kills and 12 digs in the season opener against IPFW (Aug. 29) and scooped at least 10 digs in each of the invite's three matches ... Sciacca secured a double-double - the second of her career - against Nevada (Aug. 30) with a 14-kill, 10-block effort.

    BIG EAST Honors Sciacca ...
    Sophomore middle blocker Kellie Sciacca was selected to the league's weekly honor roll (Sept. 1) ... Sciacca totaled 30 kills (2.73/set) on a .359 average through three matches at the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) ... she led Notre Dame with 20 blocks over the course of three matches (1.82 blocks/set) and also registered one ace ... Sciacca had 14 kills on a .464 average against Nevada (Aug. 30) along with 10 blocks for a double-double ... she had seven blocks against Valparaiso (Aug. 31) ... she finished with nine kills on 18 swings versus IPFW (Aug. 29).

    --ND--
     

     

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