Aug. 23, 2006
NOTRE DAME, IND.- Twelve home matches, 10 matches against nine teams that advanced to the 2005 NCAA Tournament and one nationally-televised match, highlight the 2006 University of Notre Dame volleyball schedule, head coach Debbie Brown announced recently.
The #21 Fighting Irish will host the annual Shamrock Invitational, and following a pair of tournaments on the road, return to the Joyce Center where they will play seven of the 14 regular-season BIG EAST contests.
Notre Dame’s match at home on the second day of the Shamrock Invitational against #13 Missouri on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 7:00 p.m., will be tape delayed and shown on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 2 p.m. on College Sports Television, marking the fourth consecutive year that CSTV will show a Fighting Irish match.
Notre Dame opens the season this weekend against Bowling Green on Saturday, Aug. 26 at the Joyce Center. The game against the Falcons will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1992. The following Friday, Sept. 1, the two-day Shamrock Invitational begins with a match against Valparaiso at 7:00 p.m. The televised match against #13 Missouri on Sept. 2 will be the second of two matches for the Irish on that Saturday. ND starts its day with a match against the Vandals from Idaho at 12:30 p.m. The match against #6 Santa Clara on Sunday Sept. 3 at 2 p.m., will mark the last home match for the Fighting Irish for over a month.
Notre Dame begins the month long extended stay away from the Joyce Center with two non-conference tournaments on back-to-back weekends, beginning with the UNI Invitational on Sept 8-9 in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and the Sun Devil Volleyball Classic on Sept 15-17 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz. At the UNI Invitational Notre Dame will take on Alabama before battling Kansas State and host school Northern Iowa. The matches against Alabama and Kansas State mark the first time Notre Dame has ever met either in volleyball. At the Sun Devil Volleyball Classic, the Fighting Irish will open against Butler on Sept. 15 before battling Duke and Arizona State the next two days.
The Fighting Irish opens the 2006 BIG EAST schedule on the road with matches against conference rivals Rutgers on Sept. 23, Villanova on Sept. 24 and Seton Hall on Sept. 30.
The volleyball team is scheduled to play two matches this season that will precede football pep rallies. The start of home BIG EAST play against Marquette on Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. will be the first of the two pre-pep rally matches for Notre Dame. Also on the schedule this season, the Connecticut match on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. will take place before the pep rally for the UCLA game. Football-weekend guests will have the two other opportunities to see the Irish, all against BIG EAST competition. The day after the Stanford football game (Sunday, Oct. 8) Notre Dame will host Syracuse at 1 p.m., while (Sunday, Oct. 22) will see the Fighting Irish hosting St. John’s at 2 p.m.
Among the other home games on the schedule, DePaul will be making its first trip to the Joyce Center since 1992 on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m., while Pittsburgh – the only conference school to defeat the Fighting Irish in 2005 – will take on the Fighting Irish on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. West Virginia wraps up the BIG EAST conference season and the home portion of the 2006 schedule on Sunday, Nov. 12 with a 2 p.m. match.
The Fighting Irish also are making their first trip since 2002 to island of Hawai’i for a pair of games against the Rainbows on Oct. 16-17. Also on the travel docket this season are BIG EAST trips to Cincinnati (Oct. 28), Louisville (Oct. 29), Georgetown (Nov. 3) and South Florida (Nov. 5).
The BIG EAST Conference Championship is slated for Nov. 17-19 at the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. The top eight teams from the regular season will qualify for the championships. Notre Dame has been crowned champion of the conference tournament nine times and has played in the champion game all 11 years since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Notre Dame upon the conclusion of the BIG EAST Championship, will wrap up the regular season with a match against #16 Ohio on Nov. 24 in the Louisville Invitational. Ohio (round of 16) is one of eight non-conference opponents that made the 2005 NCAA Tournament on the 2006 schedule: Valparaiso (first round), Missouri (final eight), Santa Clara (semifinals), Alabama (first round), Kansas State (second round), Duke (second round), and Hawai’i (round of 16.
The 2006 NCAA Championships begins on Nov. 30-Dec. 3 with first-and second round action on 16 campus sites, continues Dec. 7-10 with regional action in four cities (Gainesville, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Honolulu, Hawai’i; and Seattle, Wash.), and culminates with the semifinals on Dec.14 and the final two days later at Qwest Arena in Omaha, Neb. The Irish have earned bids to 15 consecutive NCAA tournaments.
“I feel our 2006 schedule is very balanced and conducive to us doing well throughout the season,” Brown stated. ” The teams we play from the start of the season in Valparaiso, #13 Missouri and #6 Santa Clara will be an early test. There are also some talented non-conference teams in the middle of the schedule with matches against Butler, Duke and Arizona State. We then close the regular season, after the conference tournament over the Thanksgiving Break, against #16 Ohio.
An element that I’m looking forward to this year is the elimination, beside the two games over the fall break at #7 Hawai’i, of the mid-week games. I feel this will allow us to be fresher team and get in a smoother routine for training and practice throughout the season. I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge this years schedule presents us.”
This year’s Notre Dame squad returns eight monogram winners and three starters from last year’s team that went 30-4, won the BIG EAST regular season and tournament championships and advanced to the round of 16 of the NCAA’s, ending up 12th in the AVCA’s poll.
Tickets for the 2006 Irish home matches are available via the Notre Dame ticket office at 574-631-7356 and can be purchased online at und.com.
— ND —