Junior Kellie Sciacca has been one of the of the most efficient hitters in the BIG EAST Conference this season.

Final Regular-Season Road Trip In Store For Notre Dame Volleyball

Nov. 5, 2009

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – League-leading Notre Dame will hit the road again with BIG EAST Conference regular-season matches this weekend at Marquette (Nov. 6) and Syracuse (Nov. 8). The Irish (16-4) are undefeated in league play after winning their last 10 matches versus conference foes.

“We’re going to have our hands full this weekend as both Marquette and Syracuse have strong athletes and really good volleyball players,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “We’ll have to be on top of our game in order keep our first-place position in the BIG EAST standings, and being on the road this weekend will be an excellent test.”

The Fighting Irish are seeking their first BIG EAST title since 2005, after having claimed at least of a share of the regular-season crown each year from 1999-2005. The BIG EAST Championship takes place Nov. 20-22 in Louisville (the Cardinals are the defending champions), with the top eight teams qualifying. Cincinnati (9-1) and Pittsburgh (9-2) have claimed bids along with the Irish.

Live stats will be available for both matches at UND.com.

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BIG EAST Conference (regular season)
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Notre Dame Fighting Irish
16-4 overall / 10-0 BIG EAST
[und.com • bigeast.org]

Marquette Golden Eagles
15-11 overall / 4-7 BIG EAST
Friday, Nov. 6 • 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Al McGuire Center • Milwaukee, Wis.
TV: Time Warner Sports (Milwaukee)
Radio: WMUR (Marquette)
[gomarquette.com • bigeast.org]

Syracuse Orange
18-9 overall / 7-4 BIG EAST
Sunday, Nov. 8 • 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Manley Field House • Syracuse, N.Y.
[suathletics.com • bigeast.org]

The Field …
– Series: Notre Dame leads, 9-2 (3-0 North Star, 1-0 Midwestern, 2-2 BIG EAST)
– Series streak: Marquette has won the last two meetings
– First meeting: 10.5.85 – Dayton, Ohio – Notre Dame, 3-0
– Last meeting: 11.2.08 – at Notre Dame – Marquette, 3-2
– Marquette lost two matches on the road last week to Cincinnati and Louisville … freshman Danielle Carlson hit well for the Golden Eagles, tallying a .462 attack percentage in six sets … junior Nikki Klingsporn continues to be one of Marquette’s most consistent players, recording 68 helpers in six sets last week for a 11.33 assists/set average … Notre Dame has been a member of three conferences over the history of its volleyball program and has handed Marquette a league loss in each of the three … the teams played as North Star Conference members from 1985-87 and were Midwestern Collegiate Conference foes for one season (1990) before Marquette joined the BIG EAST in 2004 … the schools first met in 1985 in Dayton, Ohio, with the Irish prevailing in three sets … the Irish and Golden Eagles will meet for the fifth time since 1997 and 12th time overall … Notre Dame holds a 9-2 mark over Marquette with a 30-9 advantage in set victories, although the Golden Eagles have won the last two matchups … playing in its second five-set match in as many days, Notre Dame stumbled in a 3-2 meeting in 2008 … Serinity Phillips narrowly missed out on notching Notre Dame’s first triple-double since 2004, finishing with 25 kills on a .375 average, 10 digs and a career-high nine blocks … the match marked the first time Notre Dame played in consecutive five-set contests against a conference opponents since joining the BIG EAST in 1995 … 2002 Notre Dame graduate Marcie Bomhack (Waukesha, Catholic Memorial / Milwaukee Sting) – now the head coach at Loyola-Chicago – remains the only Wisconsin native to ever play for the Irish … against the Golden Eagles on Oct. 3, 1986, Notre Dame finished with a .539 hitting percentage (52 K, 4 E, 89 A), which still stands as the highest mark in program history in any length match.

– Series: Notre Dame leads, 16-1 (14-0 BIG EAST)
– Series streak: Notre Dame has won each of the last 16 matchups
– First meeting: 10.22.81 – at Syracuse – Syracuse, 3-1
– Last meeting: 11.1.08 – at Notre Dame – Notre Dame, 3-2
– Senior middle blocker Sarah Morton led the Orange with 32 kills in last week’s two matches, including a season-high 21 kills against Louisville … the Orange look to return to their winning ways and extend a nine-game home unbeaten streak … Syracuse hosts DePaul (Nov. 6) before the Irish come to town … head coach Jing Pu collected his 300th Syracuse victory when the Orange defeated Georgetown two weeks ago … Syracuse downed Notre Dame, 3-1, in the two program’s first-ever meeting in 1981, but its been all Irish since then … head coach Debbie Brown collected her 400th win since taking over the Irish program with a 3-1 victory over Syracuse in 2007 … the win was No. 517 overall for Brown … Notre Dame has won the last 16 contests as the two teams will meet for the 15th consecutive season and 18th time overall in 2009 … the first five-set affair between the schools came in the 1990 Rhode Island Invitational in Providence, with Notre Dame coming out on top, 16-14, for its first-ever win over Syracuse … the 2008 matchup also lasted five sets as Notre Dame posted a .377 hitting percentage to set a school record for a five-set match … the previous Notre Dame record for hitting percentage in a five-set match was .346, set versus San Francisco in 1991 … Notre Dame leads 49-10 in sets won, including 45-5 in the BIG EAST era … the Irish notched five consecutive 3-0 wins over the Orange from 2002-06 … Angie Harris had nine aces in the first BIG EAST contest between the teams (Oct. 20, 1995), a record that still stands despite accomplishing the feat in just three sets … the Irish made just one service error in the 1996 matchup, which is tied for the lowest total in a match … the Irish won by 37 points in 2001 at the Joyce Center, the third-largest margin of victory for Notre Dame under the 30-point format … former Notre Dame libero Meg Henican totaled the school’s second highest dig total (26) in a three-set match against Syracuse on Sept. 30, 2005.

Next week: Notre Dame finishes out the regular season with home meetings against Georgetown (Nov. 13) and USF (Nov. 15) at the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.

Bump, Set, Spike …
• Notre Dame is off to its best start since 2005 when that squad was 19-1 through the first 20 matches of the campaign … the Irish won each of their first 11 BIG EAST contests that season … Notre Dame is currently the only team in the BIG EAST without a league loss (10-0) … the team’s last loss came Sept. 20 at Florida State.
• Notre Dame has won 10 in a row – all against league foes – and 13 of its last 14 matches … six times since joining the league in 1995, the Irish have streaked through the conference schedule without a loss … the last time was in 2001 (12-0).
• Irish head coach Debbie Brown has shelved over 400 wins with Notre Dame and won five BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year awards since joining the league in 1995 … the 2009 season is her 19th at the helm of the Fighting Irish program … with a career record of 557-250 (.688) in her 25th season as a head coach, Brown has a 440-167 (.722) mark at Notre Dame.

Upward Bound …
Notre Dame is receiving votes (55) in the AVCA Top 25 Poll for the ninth consecutive week … RichKern.com deemed Notre Dame the 27th-best team in the nation according to its Nov. 2 poll while the Irish are No. 34 in the Pablo Rankings … Volleyball Magazine ranks Notre Dame as its 24th-best team in the nation … the Irish have an RPI of 14, the highest ranking of any team not in the AVCA Top 25 … Notre Dame is the highest ranked BIG EAST Conference team in each poll … each of Notre Dame’s losses have come to formidable opponents according to the Nov. 2 RPI rankings: Florida State (3), Michigan (10), LSU (8) and Tennessee (20).

Nationwide …
Notre Dame ranks 20th nationally with a .268 team hitting percentage … the Irish are 19th overall with 14.17 kills/set and 31st with 12.90 assists/set … Jamel Nicholas is 22nd nationally with 11.14 assists/set.

Inside the BIG EAST …
In conference-only play, Notre Dame ranks first in opponent hitting percentage (.150), assists (13.37), kills (14.63), second in hitting percentage (.268), and third in blocks (2.86/set) and service aces (1.34/set) … Kellie Sciacca is second in hitting percentage (.417) … Serinity Phillips is fifth with 3.82 kills/set … Jamel Nicholas is fourth with 11.37 assists/set … Tara Enzweiler is third overall with 1.52 blocks/set.

Punctuated Performances at Purcell Pavilion …
Notre Dame started last weekend with a 3-1 win over Seton Hall (Oct. 31) in the opening match of the newly renovated Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center … Kristen Dealy had 18 digs and accounted for 18.0 points with 16 kills (.483), two blocks and a service ace to open the match … the win gave Notre Dame a 7-0 record in the month of October … the sixth BIG EAST sweep of the season for Notre Dame came against Rutgers (Nov. 1) as the Irish sent the Scarlet Knights home with a 3-0 defeat and held the visitors without a service ace … it was the 17th consecutive win over Rutgers and the 100th win for Notre Dame on its home floor against league opponents … the Irish are now 100-7 (.935) in their home confines against conference foes … the victory gave Notre Dame another feather in its cap as the Irish have now registered 10 or more BIG EAST regular-season wins for the 11th time since joining the league in 1995.

Dealy Headlines Honor Roll …
Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy has been a steady force throughout the season for Notre Dame and most recently appeared on the BIG EAST Honor Roll (Nov. 2) … Dealy led the Irish in kills against Seton Hall (16) and Rutgers (11) and also had a match-high 18 digs versus the Pirates while chipping in six more versus the Scarlet Knights … she cleanly fielded nine serves against Rutgers while anchoring an Irish defense that held the Scarlet Knights without an ace … Dealy tossed up the first serve ever in Notre Dame’s newly-renovated Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in Saturday’s match against Seton Hall, which resulted in an ace … she hit .483 against Seton Hall and finished with weekend with 27 kills on a .365 average … when the dust settled, Dealy totaled 29.5 points with 3.86 kills/set and 3.43 digs/set … she had only four errors on 63 swings.

Life On the Road …
The Irish did not lose a set three weeks ago while racking wins at Pittsburgh (Oct. 17), West Virginia (Oct. 18) and DePaul (Oct. 23) … the Irish snapped a four-match losing skid to the Panthers while handing Pittsburgh just its second conference loss of the season.

Phillips Picks Up BIG EAST Player Of The Week Award …
Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips was named the BIG EAST Volleyball Player of the Week on Oct. 19 … Phillips led Notre Dame to wins at Pittsburgh (Oct. 17) and West Virginia (Oct. 18) to improve the team’s BIG EAST record to 7-0 … Phillips made sure there was no letdown one week after recording her 1,000th career kill against Cincinnati (Oct. 10) … she had an all-around effort at Pittsburgh by helping Notre Dame to a victory with 11 kills, seven digs and five blocks … against West Virginia, Phillips hit .351 while racking up 18 kills and adding five digs and five blocks … the Valley Center, Calif., native led all BIG EAST players that week with 5.67 points/set.

Nicholas Notches BIG EAST’s Weekly Award …
Senior captain Jamel Nicholas came through with big play after big play while helping maintain her team’s flawless BIG EAST record with wins over two of the conference’s top squads in Cincinnati (Oct. 10) and Louisville (Oct. 11) … the efforts earned her the BIG EAST Player of the Week award on Oct. 12 … Nicholas led the Irish past the Bearcats with 52 assists, three kills, eight digs and two blocks … each of her three clutch aces in the fifth set of that win were part of a 6-0 Irish run to close the books … she went for 45 assists and 14 digs against Louisville.

Serinity Hits 1,000 …
Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips recorded her 1,000th career kill against Cincinnati (Oct. 10), finishing with 17 kills (.298), seven digs, six blocks and 20.0 points in that match … Phillips became the 18th player in program history to record at least 1,000 career kills … the last to do so was Irish volunteer assistant coach Adrianna Stasiuk … she accomplished the feat during her senior season in 2007.

20+ for Kaelin … Again …
Notre Dame got 20 kills from senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin versus the Cincinnati (Oct. 10) … it was the ninth match of her career with 20 or more kills … the effort tied her for sixth all-time in that category with Kristy Kreher (1998-2001).

Brown Reaches Milestones …
When Irish head coach Debbie Brown guided her team to a 3-0 win against Villanova on Oct. 4 it marked her 800th overall match on the sideline as a head coach and 600th with the Irish … to top the cake, it was Brown’s 550th career win.

Revenging Villanova …
One of the nation’s top serving teams came into the Joyce Center for a league matchup on Oct. 4, but it was Notre Dame that aced visiting Villanova for a 3-0 win … the Irish recorded eight aces – including four from senior setter Jamel Nicholas – against a Wildcat squad that entered the match ranked second in the country with 2.33 aces/set … Villanova mustered just a pair of aces against Notre Dame … furthermore, the Irish win snapped a two-match losing streak to the Wildcats after Notre Dame had won the first 16 meetings between the two schools.

I Know What You Did That Weekend …
BIG EAST Conference play started with the Irish posting a four-set win at Connecticut (Sept. 25) to improve to 14-1 all-time in BIG EAST openers … senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips posted outrageous numbers in that match and nearly clinched a triple-double … Phillips had 16 kills, 12 digs and nine blocks for 21.5 points against the Huskies to open BIG EAST play (she was also one block shy of a triple-double against Marquette in 2008) … senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin led Notre Dame to a 3-0 win at St. John’s with 13 kills and a .500 hitting percentage as the Irish posted their first sweep over the Red Storm since 2004.

Phillips Earns Honor Roll Recognition …
Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips was part of the Sept. 21 edition of the BIG EAST Honor Roll … Phillips put up stellar numbers and inched closer to the 1,000-kill mark for her career with 37 kills (3.70/set) at Florida State’s Seminole Tri-Tournament … she also averaged 1.70 digs/set over the weekend … Phillips followed an 18-kill, 13-dig, and five-block performance in a win over Miami (Sept. 19) by tagging the host Seminoles (Sept. 20) for 19 kills on a .432 hitting average (her best ever in a five-set match) … she also had two aces and four blocks against the Hurricanes while adding five blocks versus Florida State … Phillips averaged 4.35 points in her 10 sets played and posted 20+ points in both of Notre Dame’s matches.

Career Day for Dealy …
Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy went for 21 kills against No. 19 Florida State (Sept. 20) … the mark was a new career high for the second-year swinger, who also added seven digs, two blocks and an ace versus the Seminoles for 23.0 points … the output came one day after Dealy logged her second double-double of the season against Miami with 14 kills and 11 digs.

The Miami Marathon …
Four Irish players posted double-figure kills as the Irish rallied to down Miami, 3-2, in opening action at the Seminole Tri-Tournament hosted by Florida State … Notre Dame trailed, 2-0, before taking the final three sets behind 18 kills and 13 digs from Serinity PhillipsChristina Kaelin (11), Kellie Sciacca (14) and Kristen Dealy (14) each joined Phillips with 10+ kills on the day … the last time Notre Dame dropped the first two sets in a win was against Houston in 2003 … Dealy added 11 digs to match Phillips’ double-double in Notre Dame’s first five-set match this season … Sciacca had seven blocks – three solo – with Phillips adding four more of the team’s 11.5 rejections.

Stalemates at the Seminole Tri-Tournament …
Notre Dame faced a formidable field at the Seminole Tri-Tournament with matches against Miami (Sept. 19) and No. 19 Florida State (Sept. 20) … both matches lasted five sets and featured 63 knotted scores and 26 lead changes … 18 ties highlighted the second set of the match versus the Hurricanes.

Irish Earn Stripes at Notre Dame / adidas Invite …
The Irish hosted the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational and swept the competition with wins over Wisconsin (Sept. 11) and New Mexico State (Sept. 13) … after dropping the first set of the matchup against Wisconsin, Notre Dame rallied to take the final three periods en route to a 3-1 win … not only was it the first win against the Badgers for Irish head coach Debbie Brown in six tries – and Notre Dame’s first since 1987 – but it was just the second win overall for Notre Dame against a Wisconsin program that eliminated the Irish from their last three NCAA Tournament appearances (2004, 2005 and 2006) … it was the first time Notre Dame lost the first set in a win since Nov. 22, 2008, against St. John’s.

Trio Find Spot On adidas All-Tournament Team …
Sophomore Kristen Dealy and seniors Serinity Phillips and Jamel Nicholas were each named to the Notre Dame / adidas All-Tournament team for their performances against Wisconsin (Sept. 11) and New Mexico State (Sept. 13) … Dealy, the tournament MVP, averaged 4.43 kills/set and 2.57 digs/set … Phillips went for 3.86 kills/set and 1.71 digs/set while Nicholas put up stellar numbers with 11.14 assists/set and 2.57 digs/set while leading Notre Dame to a .324 hitting percentage … in playing pivotal roles for Notre Dame in the opening match against the Badgers, Dealy and Phillips slammed down 19 kills apiece, a career-high for Dealy and season-high for Phillips.

Hang It On the Fridge …
Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of Week on Sept. 14 … the Santa Barbara, Calif., native earned the honor on the heels of being named MVP of the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational after leading the Irish to wins over Wisconsin (Sept. 11) and New Mexico State (Sept. 13) … Dealy posted a season-best 19 kills with 13 digs for a double-double and three aces in the tournament’s opening match against the Badgers … Dealy added 12 kills against New Mexico State while cleanly fielding 24 serves in the tournament finale.

Aces By Irish …
Notre Dame showed signs of improvement in its serving as is evident by its 14 aces and 12 errors in two matches at the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational (Sept. 11-13) … heading into the event, Notre Dame had just 30 aces and 68 service errors … five players – Kristen Dealy, Jamel Nicholas, Megan Dunne, Stephanie Slatt and Frenchy Silva – had multiple aces during the tournament … in fact, a career-high four aces came off the stroke of Slatt after she went back-to-back from behind the stripe on a pair of occasions during pivotal Irish runs against New Mexico State (Sept. 13).

Queen City Queens …
Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and senior setter Jamel Nicholas both earned all-tournament nods at the Xavier Invitational (Sept. 4-6) … Phillips poured in a season-high 20 kills against Xavier (Sept. 4) on a .459 average and had 11 digs against Tennessee (Sept. 5) … she averaged 3.40 kills/set while Nicholas punched in 11.10 assists/set … for her efforts, Phillips was named to the BIG EAST Conference’s Weekly Honor Roll.

Point Irish, Point Wolverines …
Notre Dame and Michigan combined for 60 points in the second set of a Sept. 6 matchup at the Xavier Invitational, setting the Irish record for scores in the 25-point set era … the set had 13 tie scores and three lead changes … Notre Dame stared at set point after a Lexi Zimmerman attack error (24-23) and Michigan would eventually get the win after converting its sixth set point … previously, Notre Dame and Valparaiso combined for 58 points in the third set of an Aug. 31, 2008, meeting … Valparaiso won the set, 30-28, while escaping with the match victory.

Conquering the Cardinal …
For just the second time in program history – and the first since 1993 – Notre Dame earned a win over a top-five opponent, as the Irish dealt No. 5 Stanford a 3-0 loss on Aug. 29 … Notre Dame’s last win over a ranked opponent came at home against Louisville on Nov. 11, 2007, while the lone win versus a top-five opponent came on Sept. 25, 1993, when the 14th-ranked Irish defeated No. 3 Nebraska at the Joyce Center … the Irish and Cardinal last met in 2003 with Stanford pulling out a 3-0 win … the 2008 NCAA Championship runner-up had never dropped a match to Notre Dame in six tries until this season … the Irish have earned 32 wins against ranked teams and 13 victories over top-10 teams … furthermore, the 1,843 fans in attendance to watch Notre Dame knock off Stanford made up the largest crowd to view a game in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse and the 15th-largest crowd overall in Irish history.

BIG EAST Deals Honor To Dealy …
Sophomore Kristen Dealy was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll (Aug. 31) one day after being tabbed to the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team … the outside hitter narrowly missed out on a pair of double-doubles during Irish sweeps over Denver (Aug. 28) and No. 5 Stanford (Aug. 29) … Dealy had nine kills against both the Pioneers and Cardinal before peppering LSU with 15 on a .400 average … she also cleanly fielded 40 consecutive serves through three matches before committing an error … Dealy led Notre Dame with 3.67 kills/set and 2.78 digs/set over the three matches.

All-Tournament Nods …
Senior Serinity Phillips joined sophomore Kristen Dealy on the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team … Dealy led the Irish against the Tigers with 15 kills while narrowly missing out on double-doubles in Notre Dame’s first two matches … Phillips steadied the Irish attack with 3.11 kills/set and 2.89 digs/set in the three matches … LSU’s Michele Williams, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, finished the three-match event with 37 kills (2.85/set) and 19 blocks (1.46/set) … Brittnee Cooper (LSU), Cassidy Lichtman (Stanford), Gabi Ailes (Stanford) and Emmy Davidsmeyer (Denver) rounded out the all-tournament team.

Preseason Honors …
Senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin and junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca both earned all-BIG EAST preseason nods, as voted upon by the league’s coaches … the duo brought home second team all-BIG EAST honors at the conclusion of last year’s regular season … Kaelin went on to rack up all-region and Honorable Mention All-America honors from the AVCA in 2009 … Notre Dame was picked alongside Cincinnati to finish second in the BIG EAST standings.

All In the Family …
Senior Tara Enzweiler will be joined on campus this year by a few familiar faces … two of her brothers, Thomas and Matthew, are also undergraduates at the University … moreover, each of the three were valedictorians at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, N.C.