By Peggy Curtin
Senior volleyball player Lindsay Treadwell doesn't remember the exact details of every match in her four-year career, but she does recall one in particular her freshman season when the Irish hosted Colorado at Mishawaka High School.
The middle blocker didn't have her best career performance and she wasn't injured. In fact, the only reason that it was memorable for the Austin, Texas native was because it has been the only one in four years and 131 matches that she has missed playing in.
"I came to Notre Dame thinking that I wasn't go to play a lot, so it's amazing to have played in this many matches," Treadwell said. "If you look at me, I'm not the prototypical volleyball player, so I'm proud of myself, but it wasn't my only goal in coming here."
If all things go to plan this weekend, she will have played in her 121st and 122nd straight match at the NCAA Sub-Regionals in Stanford, Calif. Led by Treadwell, the team's captain and only fourth-year player, the Irish are making their seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA playoffs after claiming their fourth straight BIG EAST Championship two weeks ago.
As much as Treadwell has been the "iron horse" for the 17-12 overall Irish volleyball team, she has also been one of the team's best workhorses. Known for her consistent play and on-court intensity, this season she not only leads the team in blocks, but also digs and service aces. For her career, she has the highest career hitting percentage in school history (.294) and already ranks in 11 other career categories.
"Overall Lindsay has been a huge ingredient to our success because she is such a fighter and brings a higher level of intensity to the court," says Irish head coach Debbie Brown. "Other middle blockers in the country may be taller than Lindsay (who is 5-11), but you'd be hard pressed to find many that work harder than she does."
One of the many things that Treadwell has had to work on this season is her role as team captain.
"I've had four years to prepare for being captain," Treadwell said. "I've been watching the past captains, and I finally figured out that what I really needed to do was just be myself. All four years, I've been yelling and talking on the court, so it wasn't a big shock to anyone this season that I'm just as vocal."
On a team which has definitely experienced growing pains, Treadwell has been the one constant on the court whom her teammates could always depend on. That consistency and ability to make others around her better was particularly apparent in Notre Dame's come-from-behind 3-2 win over Connecticut in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championships.
Down two games to none and on the brink of elimination, Treadwell pitched in her regular 15-kill, 18-dig and seven-block performance, but more importantly, played each point like it was her last - diving for every dig and screaming words of encouragement on each play.
"We were getting in a mode where we were thinking that we weren't going to win," said Treadwell about the match against Connecticut. "Finally, I just decided that I wasn't going to go down like this. I had to go out and start swinging at the ball and play every point like it was my last."
Although the 1998 volleyball season and Treadwell's career will eventually come to an end, she and the rest of the Irish will have learned something valuable this season, which, in Treadwell's own words, is how to take each point of every match one at a time.
"What I learned this season is that you have to forget about the points in the past and really focus on the very next play," Treadwell said. "And if you go out and play your hardest on that play, you have to have accomplished something."