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    Fighting Irish
    Final Home Match To Be Played Sunday Against Louisville, Televised On ESPNU

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 10, 2007

    Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

    In a match that will be televised at 2 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU, Notre Dame will go head-to-head with No. 17 Louisville on Sunday in what will be both team's BIG EAST Conference regular season affair. Seniors Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South) and Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos) will be playing in their last home match at the Joyce Center.

    Over their career, Tarutis and Stasiuk have led Notre Dame to a 2-2 record against UofL while dropping the last two contests, including the championship match of last season's BIG EAST Tournament. The pair has posted an 89-39 (.675) overall record spanning the past four seasons including a 37-14 (.725) mark at home.

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    (12-12 overall, 8-5 BIG EAST)

    No. 17 Louisville Cardinals
    (20-4 overall, 13-0 BIG EAST)
    Nov. 11, 2007 • 2:00 p.m.
    Notre Dame, Ind. • Joyce Center
    All-time series: Notre Dame leads 14-4
    Series streak: Louisville - won 2
    Last meeting: Nov. 19, 2006 - Louisville, 3-2
    Live Stats / Audio: UND.com
    TV: ESPN-U (live)
    Commentators: Krista Blunk / Karch Kiraly

    Last Time Out ... Entering Friday's BIG EAST Conference match against Cincinnati in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference standings, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team knew it had to win at least one of its next two matches to earn a spot in this year's league tournament ... a 3-1 (31-33, 30-23, 30-28, 30-20) win over the Bearcats (17-10 overall, 8-5 BIG EAST) on Friday in the Joyce Center may have separated the Irish (12-12 overall, 8-5 BIG EAST) from the pack to secure a spot in the postseason championship ... in front of a raucous crowd of 7,523, the second largest in program history, junior Justine Stremick (Langdon, N.D./Langdon Area) threw down 16 kills on 30 attempts for a .367 clip, adding eight blocks along the way ... it was the sixth match in a row in which Stremick has led the Irish in blocks ... "that was a huge win for us, and I feel like the team executed really well," said Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown "it wasn't the prettiest volleyball that we've played, but we played with more intensity than we had all season" ... six kills and 51 assists from senior Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos) guided the Irish to a .299 overall hitting percentage, including a .471 mark in the final game ... a double-double from senior Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South) - her 18th of the season - was earned when she finished with 11 kills and 14 digs. Kellie Sciacca (Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer) had 11 kills and four blocks with a .417 average ... the Bearcats' Annie Fesl logged 43 assists and a pair of aces while her sister, Irish sophomore Megan Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey), led the home squad with a .429 average by means of 14 kills on 28 swats with two errors ... four of Notre Dame's fourteen service errors for the match came in game one ... Cincinnati took full advantage of the free points as the opening bout ruffled its way to 18 ties ... Notre Dame took a four-point lead (24-20) on a UC error, but a triple block by Jessica Elley, Jessie Nevitt, and Jenny Custer tied the game at 26-26 ... Tarutis bumped one into the gap (27-27) and Stasiuk had a solo block to give Notre Dame a one-point advantage (28-27) ... Custer and Stephanie Niemer gave UC the final two kills it would need to win the extended frame ... the Irish hit .308 to start the match, though Cincinnati had three more kills (20) on eight more chances (47) than Notre Dame for a .234 hitting average ... Cincinnati struggled to find its offensive groove in the second game and posted a .054 average ... Stremick had five kills and five blocks in the period, and was joined by sophomore Tara Enzweiler (Raleigh, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons) on two of those stops ... Enzweiler would add to more blocks later in the match ... Notre Dame found themselves trailing by five (6-11) to start the second stanza when Stasiuk feigned the set and bumped one into the heart of a napping Bearcat defense on the second hit ... sophomore Serinity Phillips (Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center) sent a crosser to the corner to bring Notre Dame within two (10-12), then Tarutis lofted a backset for Stremick to lay town to make the score 13-14 in favor of UC ... Notre Dame snatched the lead on a Stremick kill (16-15) and Fesl rifled one through the double block to keep the Irish up by one (18-17) ... Tarutis tossed one over from her knees to make the count 20-20 and the Irish would rally to outscore Cincinnati, 10-3, after that point ... sophomore Kim Kristoff (Carmel, Ind./Brebeuf Prep) cashed in on an ace (16-14) and Sciacca locked in for a kill on the slide to put Notre Dame up by three (18-15) in the third game ... but the Bearcats mounted an 8-0 run to take a five-point lead ... Notre Dame clawed its way back and tied things up (26-26) when Tarutis won a joust at the net with Elley ... the Irish took the lead (27-26) on a UC hitting error before Stremick and Tarutis teamed for a block one point later ... Stremick punched in another kill (29-28), allowing Fesl to slam her second game-winning kill of the match ... despite dropping the game, Cincinnati did better Notre Dame in the hitting department over the period with a .225 mark compared to a .179 average by the Irish ... Fesl put the team on her shoulders in game four by bringing home seven kills on 10 attempts ... the Irish lead would grow to six on Stremick's kill (13-7) and Stasiuk pushed one back into no man's land one play later ... Tarutis lined an ace (20-11) before Fesl registered three kills after that point ... "we had a theme for the match that we were going to finish strong - we were going to finish the end of each game strongly," Brown added ... "the character of the team really came out as finished really strong in games two, three, and four ... especially so in game three, when we were down and had such a strong finish and were able to carry that momentum into game four ... it was a great team effort, and Adrianna (Stasiuk) and Ashley (Tarutis) provided tremendous leadership out there for us today."

    History 101 ... The Irish last faced Louisville in the 2006 BIG EAST Tournament finale (Nov. 19) ... the fifth-seeded Irish fell to second-seeded Louisville in five games - 30-26, 30-25, 24-30, 17-30, 12-15 ... freshman Christina Kaelin led the Irish attack with 18 kills ... classmate Serinity Phillips added 14 kills and four blocks ... Mallorie Croal totaled her seventh double-double with 12 kills and 14 digs ... both Irish setters reached double figures in assists as Ashley Tarutis tallied 31 with Jamel Nicholas chipping in 27 ... Adrianna Stasiuk had her 17th double-double of the season with 13 kills and 12 digs ... 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 ... both squads have been nationally ranked in four of the 19 overall contests and have split those four matches ... at least one team has carried a national ranking in 11 of the last 15 matches between the squads ... the Irish have won 47 games compared to Louisville's 28 ... the schools have played five five-game matches since 1994, with ND winning three ... in the 1994 meeting in the Joyce Center, the Irish had 94 kills to rank fifth on the school's all-time list ... the two teams first played in 1986, with the Irish winning 3-0 in Louisville ... after six consecutive ND wins, UofL broke through at home in 1992 with a 3-1 upset of the 20th-ranked Irish ... current Irish Christina Kaelin played her prep ball at Assumption in Louisville.

    Play Hard, Study Harder ... Adrianna Stasiuk and Justine Stremick were both earned spots on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V volleyball team ... Stasiuk, and accountancy major with a 3.72 cumulative GPA, found a seat on the first-team for the second time in as many seasons ... with a GPA of 3.76 and a mathematics / life sciences major, Stremick was one of six members on the second-team ... she was also a third-team selection on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V volleyball team in 2006.

    One Kill Away ... Currently sitting in 11th place on the school's all-time kills list, senior Adrianna Stasiuk (1,214) needs one more kill to tie Kristy Krehen (1,215: 1998-2001) for the No. 10 spot on that list ... entering Friday's match with Cincinnati, Stasiuk has logged 3.14 kills/game.

    Set It Off ... Coming off a season-high 63-assist effort in a four-game duel with South Florida, setter Ashley Tarutis now needs 77 helpers to total 1,000 on the season ... Tarutis had 1,150 assists as a freshman, 1,573 as a sophomore, and 860 last season ... her 10.22 assists/game average is eighth on the all-time list ... the last time an Irish player had 60+ assists in a match was in 2005, when Tarutis logged 62 in a 3-2 win at Louisville.

    Fesl Fest '07 ... Friday's match against Cincinnati marks the first time that sisters Megan Fesl (Notre Dame) and Annie Fesl (Cincinnati) will be on opposite sides of the net ... the two were teammates at John Hersey HS in Arlington Heights, Ill. ... adding to the mix, their father, Rich, will sing the national anthem to open the match ... "I've always thought it would be pretty cool to sing the national anthem at a sporting event," Rich says ... "and here, the opportunity presents itself" ... Rich and his wife, Joan, will be sitting with their large extended family and can be seen donning specially designed t-shirts, which feature both the Fighting Irish and Bearcat logos, capturing their divided loyalties.

    Stremick Continues Hot Streak ... Firing in a .684 hitting percentage against Georgetown was junior Justine Stremick, a mark that put her in a tie for 23rd on the program's top single-match performance chart ... she hit .708 earlier in the season against Rutgers, and is third on the program's career-average list with a .312 clip ... Stremick hung 13 kills on the Hoyas, then lit up the Bulls for 18 converted swings on a .382 average ... last season, she had 15 kills on 20 attempts without an error for a .750 percentage as Notre Dame beat the Bulls, 3-0, in Tampa ... Stremick also had seven blocks against both Georgetown and South Florida, bringing her average to 1.48 blocks/game in conference contests, ranking her fourth in the league ... overall, her 1.40 blocks/game puts her at 37th among players across the nation.

    Calling Baton Rouge ... Looking back at Notre Dame's matchup with the LSU Tigers ... Notre Dame is now 1-2 against teams from the Southeastern Conference after splitting matches with Florida and Alabama earlier in the season ... the Irish will have a chance to even its record against SEC foes in a match at Tennessee on Nov. 23 ... Adrianna Stasiuk collected 21 scoops to move into third-place on the school's all-time digs list ... she also had 15 kills and was one of two Irish players to post double-doubles, with sophomore Serinity Phillips joining her with 20 kills and 17 digs ... leading the Irish in the digs category with 23 was freshman Megan Dunne, the most recorded by any member of the team this season ... the match marked the first time since 1989 that neither team held a national ranking entering the contest ... the Irish have battled in six five-gamers this season, going 3-3 in those matches ... consecutive tilts with California and Santa Clara earlier in the season were the first back-to-back five-game matches Notre Dame played since 2005, when they split a pair with Tennessee (L, 3-2) and Dayton (W, 3-2) ... the Irish played a total of four five-gamers in 2006.

    Vintage Records ... Notre Dame was victorious against DePaul (Oct. 19) for the fifth-straight time against the Blue Demons ... the home sweep 3-0 (30-12, 30-13, 30-15) was the second-quickest match in the history of the Joyce Center, finishing in 1:04 ... Kim Kristoff tied a career-high total in the ace category with five ... the Irish coasted to post the widest margin of victory in the program's history, as the fifty-point spread was six more than the total number of points the Irish put on the board against Loyola in 2002 ... a stifling Irish defense limited DePaul to a -.034 hitting percentage for the match, including a pair of sub-.000 games ... it was the first time Notre Dame held an opponent under .000 hitting since Cincinnati finished with a -.057 mark in a 2005 match ... for the first time since Notre Dame traveled to DePaul during the 2006 season to pick up a 3-0 win, not a single Irish player recorded double-digit kills ... the match was played in front of 2,276 fans - the tenth-largest home crowd in Notre Dame history.

    I Hit `Em High ... Justine Stremick turned in several career-best marks in ND's match at Syracuse ... she helped spark the Irish attack with 19 kills on 36 attempts, and was responsible for 24.0 points ... setter Ashley Tarutis coaled the offensive fire and dished out a 58 assists in the contest, which was a (then) season-high for the senior.

    You Hit `Em Low ... Adrianna Stasiuk totaled enough digs against LSU (21) to move into the No. 3 spot on the all-time digs list ... ahead of her is Christy Peters (1991-94) with 1,640.

    Trading Spaces ... Heading into the Marquette match, Notre Dame had never dropped a decision to the Golden Eagles ... the Irish left Milwaukee with its first loss to the team in 10 tries ... previously, Notre Dame held a 9-0 all-time edge over Marquette ... on the latter side of the BIG EAST weekend, Syracuse - who had won the first of the 16 all-time matches between the Orange and Irish - fell to Notre Dame for the 15th-straight time since the Orange snagged the series-opening win in 1981.

    With Honors ... Junior Justine Stremick turned in an incredible performance against Rutgers by finishing the match with a .706 hitting percentage, which was the highest mark by any Irish player since she turned in a .750 clip last season against South Florida ... the average against the Scarlet Knights tied her for the 12th-best hitting percentage by a player in program history ... also against Rutgers, freshman Kellie Sciacca hit over .400 (.412) for the fifth time this season ... both players were recognized on the BIG EAST's weekly honor roll for their accomplishments ... Sciacca received that honor on Oct. 15 as well, and the BIG EAST also named her as its Freshman of the Week on Oct. 22 ... the pair made an appearance on the Honor Roll on Nov. 5 as well.

    Good Reason To Get Defensive ... In a 3-0 win over Rutgers, Notre Dame did more than just pick up its third BIG EAST Conference win of the season ... the team picked up the spirits and hopes of fans, friends, and family by raising $5,900 for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure grassroots network of Northern Indiana in its first-annual Dig for the Cure match, with the total amount going towards breast cancer research ... "the Dig for the Cure was a wonderful event for us, and I hope we got the annual match off to a great start," said Irish head coach Debbie Brown ... "we've already thought of ways to make the entire experience better in hopes of raising even more money next season" .... fans were challenged to equal or exceed Brown's pledge of $5 for each of her team's digs in the match ... the Irish defense scooped 39 digs in the three-game tilt to produce $1,848 in donations ... commemorative jerseys with pink lettering worn by the team during the conference showdown were donated by adidas ... the jerseys were then auctioned off to yield a total of $2,125, with the top earner bringing in $250 ... a trio of Dig for the Cure t-shirts autographed by the team were auctioned off during intermission, with each going for $200 ... "I was impressed with the number of people that bid on jerseys, bought t-shirts, and donated money by sponsoring digs," added Brown ... "this was a great starting point for us to build on in years to come."

    Twice the Celebration ... With the Notre Dame football team's 20-6 win over UCLA and an Irish volleyball sweep over Rutgers, Saturday (Oct. 6) marked the first time this season that both the football and volleyball teams were victorious on the same day ... the volleyball team had previously won on three football game-day Saturdays ... the next time the two squads could potentially play on the same date is Nov. 17, when the football team wraps up the home portion of its schedule against Duke ... the Irish netters could be competing simultaneously in the second round of the BIG EAST Conference Championships hosted by Marquette.

    Serene Killer ... One week after racking up a career-high 23 kills at West Virginia, sophomore Serinity Phillips exploded for 26 in a five-game match with Villanova ... she had only six errors on 63 swings for a .317 average ... Phillips leads the Irish with 310 total kills and 3.41/game.

    Game Four Was a Bottomless Pitt ... Notre Dame downed conference foe Pittsburgh 15-straight times between 1992-2002, but since then Pitt has taken five of the last seven meetings, including a 3-1 home win for the Panthers in 2007 ... in that battle, Notre Dame combined to score 82 points with Pittsburgh in the fourth game of a match that was also both team's BIG EAST Conference opener ... there were 27 ties and 15 lead changes in the elongated period, and senior Adrianna Stasiuk contributed nine of her 14 kills in the game ... the Irish set a school record for most points in a four-game match (131), and tied the program's mark for the fourth-highest point total in an affair of any length ... their 40 points in game four was the most ever won in a single game, eclipsing the previous high of 37 in game one of a 3-1 victory over Eastern Washington in 2003.

    If the Jersey Fits ... Adrianna Stasiuk started each of the matches during the opening conference weekend at the libero position, and even tied a season-high mark of 21 digs at Pittsburgh ... Stasiuk fired home 14 kills in the final two games against the Panthers after being relieved of libero duties ... she had 17 scoops at West Virginia and came one kill shy of recording her eighth-straight double-double ... it was the first time the senior had not notched 10 or more kills in a match since the season opener against Minnesota.

    (Taru) Tis Better To Give ... Ashley Tarutis had 12 assists in game one against Pittsburgh to push her four-year total over 4,000 ... she became the third player in school history to record at least 4,000 in a career, joining Janelle Karlan (5,197: 1990-93) and Denis Boylan (4,687: 1997-2000) ... Tarutis' 47 assists against Missouri pushed her past Kristen Kinder (2000-03) for third-place on the school's all-time assist list.

    Line Fusion ... A pair of shifts in the Irish starting lineup by head coach Debbie Brown to start BIG EAST play gave junior Mallorie Croal (at Pittsburgh) and sophomore Kim Kristoff (at West Virginia) their first starts of the season ... Serinity Phillips, Kellie Sciacca, Megan Fesl, Justine Stremick, Adrianna Stasiuk, and Ashley Tarutis have all started each contest this year ... two of Stasiuk's starts have been at the libero spot ... Croal, Kristoff, Megan Dunne, and Angela Puente have also received starting nods.

    Take Five ... Serinity Phillips (14), Kellie Sciacca (14), Megan Fesl (13), Justine Stremick (10), and Adrianna Stasiuk (14) comprised the five-player group that had 10+ kills in a 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh ... the feat was a first for an Irish squad since Christina Kaelin (24), Mallorie Croal (14), Stremick (14) Stasiuk (13) and Fesl (13) did the same versus Missouri on Sept. 2, 2006 ... ND dropped that match, 3-2.

    A Long Time Coming ... A run of four losses to ranked teams this season came to an end when ND downed No. 22 Santa Clara ... before doing so, the last ranked team Notre Dame dismantled was No. 24 St. John's during the 2006 BIG EAST Tournament (Nov. 18).

    Rolling In the Conference Honors ... Middle blocker Kellie Sciacca was voted the league's Freshman of the Week (Sept. 17) after she posted career-best marks in every major statistical category for the Irish at the Bronco Invitational in Santa Clara, Calif. ... Sciacca became the first Irish player to record 10+ blocks - since teammate Justine Stremick did so last season against Idaho - when she registered 10 against No. 11 California in Notre Dame's 3-2 loss ... she turned in the team's highest individual hitting percentage of the season (.625) with a personal-best 16 kills against No. 22 Santa Clara while adding career-highs of three aces and six digs in the winning effort ... she finished the three-match invite with 37 kills and a .361 mark over 14 games.

    Hoisting the Hardware ... Freshman Kellie Sciacca was recognized on the BIG EAST's weekly honor roll (Sept. 10) after posting 15 kills (.524) and nine blocks against Alabama in the Shamrock Invitational, which she followed with a 12-kill performance vs. No. 13 Ohio ... Megan Fesl was a part of the same list one week earlier (Sept. 3) after a 20-kill output at Missouri while earning all-tournament honors at the Tiger Invitational.

    Hello...Is It Me You're Looking For? Coming off an injury, preseason all-BIG EAST choice Mallorie Croal saw her first action of the season in an Irish loss to No. 11 California ... Croal, who played sparingly, had a kill and two digs ... she put together a band of seven consecutive double-doubles to end the 2006 season, which is the second longest streak in the record books.

    Join the Club ... In a five-game tilt with Alabama, Adrianna Stasiuk smashed the 1,000th kill of her career to tie game three at 25-25, and in doing so joined 16 other players in the program's history to reach that plateau ... she also became only the seventh Notre Dame player ever to register 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career, as Jamie Lee (1994-97) and Angie Harris (1994-97) were the last to do so ... not too much later in the frame with the Irish ahead 29-28, Stasiuk connected on kill No. 1,002 to put the finishing touches on the Crimson Tide.

    Sweet Home (Win Against) Alabama ... The Irish were in a familiar - yet uncomfortable - spot during a 3-2 win over Alabama ... just two matches earlier against Florida International, Notre Dame lost the first game and was trailed, 2-1, going into the third frame ... instead of hitting the panic button, ND came back to win both matches to remain undefeated in five-game contests this season ... several program milestones were eclipsed, which include the last time: a Notre Dame player had 20+ kills [Megan Fesl (20)]; five Notre Dame players had 10+ digs [Serinity Phillips (10), Ashley Tarutis (15), Megan Fesl (19), Adrianna Stasiuk (16), Angela Puente (15); four Notre Dame players had 15+ digs [Ashley Tarutis (15), Megan Fesl (19), Adrianna Stasiuk (16), Angela Puente (15)]; Notre Dame had 80+ digs (80); Notre Dame player hit .500+ [Kellie Sciacca (15-4-21, .524)]; Notre Dame hit .500+ as a team in a game ... Sciacca's .524 mark is third-best in school history for a five-game match ... one week previous, the Irish set a school record by hitting .538 in game five against Florida International.

    Gimme Five...or Four ... It's nice when two or three players connect on 10+ kills in a match ... but it's even better when five can pull it off ... that's just what then-20th Notre Dame did when they faced Missouri last season, who was ranked 13th coming into the Sept. 2 match ... Christina Kaelin (24), Mallorie Croal (14), Justine Stremick (14) Adrianna Stasiuk (13), and Megan Fesl (13) all had double-digit kill performances for Notre Dame ... in the 2007 matchup, four Irish players hit the double-digit mark in that category: Serinity Phillips (11), Fesl (14), Stasiuk (10), and Stremick (13).

    What a Difference a Year Makes ... In game two against No. 13 Ohio, and attack from Tara Enzweiler got through the Bobcat defense to give ND a 16-14 lead ... she soon assisted on a Megan Fesl kill to put the Irish ahead by three at 18-15 ... it was not just a rare assist for the middle blocker, but a very rare assist ... her last dish came exactly one year prior to the Ohio match against Kansas State at the Northern Iowa Invitational in Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sept. 9, 2006).

    Shining at the Shamrock ... Two Irish players earned spots on the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team, as Serinity Phillips and Megan Fesl represented Notre Dame after career weekends ... Phillips had a (then) personal-high 18 kills against Alabama on 48 attempts, and her 12 digs in first-round action with College of Charleston was also a career-best ... Fesl's second 20-kill match of the season came against the Crimson Tide with a pair of aces ... a (then) career-high 5.0 blocks came against College of Charleston for the sophomore.

    Volleyball's Cal Ripken ... Ashley Tarutis saw action in each of Notre Dame's eight games over the course of the Tiger Invitational, which then pushed her total of consecutive games played to a school-record 365 ... libero Meg Henican played in 363 straight games between Nov. 17, 2002 - Dec. 9, 2005 ... Tarutis is the only player in the history of the program to play in each game of every match (441 of 441) throughout a career ... next on the list is Lauren Brewster (.969 - 444/458) ... Tarutis is also one of four players to play in every career match.

    Four Hands Are Better Than Two ... Ashley Tarutis and Jamel Nicholas passed out 35 and 20 assists, respectively, in an Irish loss against No. 7 Florida ... the occasion marked the second time in three matches that Notre Dame had two players record 20+ assists ... the same duo accomplished the feat in the 2006 finale against No. 10 Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament ... Tarutis had 45 assists with Nicholas adding 21 in the BIG EAST opener at Pittsburgh ... both handed out 20+ vs. Villanova.

    They're Grrrrrreat! Both Megan Fesl and Serinity Phillips earned spots on the all-tournament team at Missouri's Tiger Invitational after posting career performances ... Fesl turned in a personal-best 20 kills against Florida International and a season-high 16 digs against Missouri ... with 19.0 points against the Golden Panthers, Phillips set a career-high in that stat column ... she also had a (then) season-high 15 kills and seven blocks in Notre Dame's win over FIU.

    Are You Down for a Road Trip? Missouri's Tiger Invitational was originally slated to be a four-team tournament ... Florida A&M opted to withdraw from the event, leaving Notre Dame without a Sunday match due to the shifted schedule ... instead, the Irish left Columbia for St. Louis several hours before their flight departed town to take in some sights ... the squad made it to the top of the Gateway Arch and watched the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Cincinnati Reds in Busch Stadium ... with the scoreboard chock full of zeroes, the Cards' Rick Ankiel led off the sixth inning with a solo homer and soon stepped out of the dugout for a curtain call ... but Irish manager Hy Pham may have drawn an even louder ovation from the patrons of section 367 for an earlier performance ... Pham took the spotlight by downing two hotdogs and a chicken sandwich - which was followed with a large soda - before the midway point of the first inning ... Pham claims he has never used performance-enhancing drugs ... Notre Dame also visited the University of Missouri Children's Hospital on Saturday morning before playing Florida International later that evening ... while there, they passed out Notre Dame volleyball collectables in addition to quite a few hugs, smiles, and laughs with patients.

    Must Have Been Something She Ate ... When Notre Dame cracked open the lid on the 2007 season, Serinity Phillips had three kills on 14 attempts with two errors for a .071 average against Minnesota ... whatever she did on her day off between Friday evening and Sunday's match with Florida must have worked ... Phillips responded with a career-best .583 hitting percentage with 14 kills on 24 swats without an error ... previously, Christina Kaelin (12-2-18, .556) was the last Irish player to hit .500+ when she did so in a 3-2 win at Cincinnati in 2006.

    Closing In ... Sophomore Christina Kaelin had five 20+-kill matches last season to finish tied for sixth in a single season ... Christy Peters holds the all-time single season mark of nine (1994) ... after one season, Kaelin is one spot shy Notre Dame's all-time top-10 list for career 20+-kill matches.

    Spoiling the Party ... The Irish had never dropped a home opener under head coach Debbie Brown since she took over the program in 1991 until this season's loss to Minnesota ... the defeat also marked the first time an Irish team had not started a season - at home or away - with a win since they fell 3-1 to Montana in the 1990 opener.

    Re-Joyce Center ... Notre Dame is now 21-7 in home openers and had won its last 17 before falling to Minnesota ... previously, the last time the Irish dropped an opener in the Joyce Center was in 1989 to Western Michigan, 3-2, in the Notre Dame Invitational ... before this season, no ND team has started play on its home court with back-to-back matches against top-10 teams.

    And You Thought You Had It Bad ... Not only did Notre Dame face two top-10 squads in the season's first weekend, but seven of its 13 non-conference opponents were ranked among the nation's top 25 in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Preseason Poll ... additionally, three more non-conference foes along with Louisville and St. John's received votes in the standings ... the RichKern.com Poll had eight future Irish opponents in its preseason top-30, with five more appearing within the following 10 spots.

    --ND--
     

     

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