Freshman Andrea McHugh

Conference Action Gets Underway This Weekend For Irish Volleyball

Sept. 23, 2010

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The BIG EAST Conference portion of the 2010 volleyball schedule begins Friday (Sept. 24) when Notre Dame hosts West Virginia at 4:00 p.m. (ET) within the walls of Purcell Pavilion. Pittsburgh and Notre Dame will square off on Sunday (Sept. 26) to complete both team’s opening league weekend.

Notre Dame is 14-1 all-time in BIG EAST regular-season openers, with the lone loss coming at Pittsburgh to begin the 2007 league slate.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
7-5 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
[ –]

West Virginia Mountaineers
10-5 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
Friday, Sept. 24 – 4:00 p.m. (ET)
Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion

Pittsburgh Panthers
5-10 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
[ –]
Sunday, Sept. 25 – 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Notre Dame, Ind. – Purcell Pavilion

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Bump, Set, Spike …
– One week after winning three straight, the Irish dropped three straight while hosting the Notre Dame Invitational … the three losses included defeats in nine consecutive sets after taking a 2-0 lead over Delaware (Sept. 17) in the weekend’s opening match.
– Junior outside hitter Kristen Dealy was named to the Notre Dame Invitational all-tournament team … 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.
– Junior libero Frenchy Silva had a career-high 24 digs against Delaware (Sept. 17) … as 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 Stasiuk (21) replicated the feat at LSU in 2007.

Series Notes …

West Virginia
Series history: Notre Dame leads, 15-2 (14-1 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W11
First meeting: Dec. 5, 1991 – West Virginia, 3-2
Last meeting: Oct. 18, 2009 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Notes: The Irish and the Mountaineers will meet for the 17th consecutive season and 18th time overall … Notre Dame has not dropped a match to WVU since a 3-0 loss in 1998 … the Irish have won 21 of the last 22 sets … the Irish coasted to a 3-0 win over the Mountaineers during the 2006 campaign, won by a 3-1 count in 2007 and swept WVU in 2008 and 2009 … eight team aces and 13 kills by Kristen Dealy powered Notre Dame to win No. 600 in program history during the 2008 victory over the Mountaineers … WVU won the first ever meeting between the two teams, earning a 3-2 edge in the 1991 National Intercollegiate Championship postseason tournament in Fairborn, Ohio … during that contest, Notre Dame’s Jessica Fiebelkorn posted the highest hitting percentage ever for an Irish player in a five-set match, with 13 kills and only two errors on 20 swings for a .550 mark … the teams played twice before the Irish joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995 … the Irish gained their first win over the Mountaineers in 1994 at the Joyce Center in four sets … after winning the next three in straight sets Notre Dame lost in Morgantown in 1998, which marked just the second loss to a conference team in 50 matches since becoming a BIG EAST member … the Irish lead 47-10 in sets won … in the 1994 match with WVU, the Irish set a Joyce Center record with 15 service aces … six came from Angie Harris, which is tied for the third-highest total in school history.

Series history: Notre Dame leads, 19-9 (10-5 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W1
First meeting: Nov. 3, 1984 – Pittsburgh, 3-1
Last meeting: Oct. 17, 2009 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Notes: Notre Dame and Pitt are meeting for the 19th consecutive season and the 29th time overall … the 19-year streak of at least one contest against the Panthers is Notre Dame’s longest versus any current foe … in 2009, Notre Dame swept Pittsburgh, 3-0 (32-30, 25-21, 25-22) at Fitzgerald Fieldhouse … the first-set victory was the highest scoring set for Notre Dame in the 25-point era while the win snapped a four-match losing streak to the Panthers … Pitt led, 24-21, in the opening frame as the Irish fought off three set points and tied the period at 24-24 before exchanging blows and ultimately earning the win … Notre Dame downed Pittsburgh 15 consecutive times between 1992-2002, but since then Pitt has taken six of the last nine meetings, including a 3-1 road win for the Panthers in 2008 … in a 2007 battle at Pitt, Notre Dame combined to score 82 points with the Panthers in the fourth set of a match that was also both team’s BIG EAST Conference opener … the Irish set a school record for most points in a four-set match (131), and tied the program’s mark for the fourth-highest point total in an affair of any length … their 40 points in set four was the most ever won in a single set, eclipsing the previous high of 37 in set one of a 3-1 victory over Eastern Washington in 2003 … the Irish actually outscored the Panthers, 131-130 … the 131-point total is tied for second in NCAA history for points scored in a four-set match with 30-point scoring format … the 40 points in set three is tied for 18th for points scored in a single frame with 30-point scoring format … the combined score of 256 is the highest of any four-set match in NCAA history … the schools first met in 1984 in Pittsburgh, with the Panthers winning 3-0 … the Irish eliminated Pitt from the 1994 NCAA Tournament’s second round with a four-set win in the Joyce Center … Notre leads in sets won, 64-43 … in 1996, Notre Dame’s Denise Boylan tallied 86 assists at Pittsburgh, which is the second-highest assist total ever recorded by an Irish player.

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 Hits 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 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., 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 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 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.

All-All-Tournament-Tournament …
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.