Junior libero Frenchy Silva looks to get defensive this weekend at the Nevada Invitational.

First Of Two Straight Road Trips On Tap This Weekend For Irish Volleyball

Sept. 1, 2010

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The frequent flyer miles will begin to accumulate this weekend as Notre Dame heads to Nevada for three non-conference volleyball matches. The Irish will take part in the Nevada Invitational in Reno, Nev., while joining Weber State, Belmont and the host Wolf Pack for the round-robin event.

Next week will feature another westbound trip when Notre Dame lands in Denver, Colo., for the Pioneer Classic.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2-1 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
[und.com – bigeast.org]

Belmont Bruins
2-2 overall / 0-0 Atlantic Sun
[belmontbruins.com – atlanticsun.org]
Friday, Sept. 3 – 4:00 p.m. (PT)

Weber State Wildcats
0-4 overall / 0-0 Big Sky
[weberstatesports.com – bigskyconf.com]
Saturday, Sept. 4 – 10:00 a.m. (PT)

Nevada Wolf Pack
1-2 overall / 0-0 Western Athletic
[nevadawolfpack.com – wacsports.com]
Saturday, Sept. 4 – 7:00 p.m. (PT)

Nevada Invitational Schedule
Friday, Sept. 3
Notre Dame vs. Belmont – 4:00 p.m.
Nevada vs. Weber State – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 4
Notre Dame vs. Weber State – 10:00 a.m.
Nevada vs. Belmont – 12:00 p.m.
Belmont vs. Weber State – 5:00 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Nevada – 7:00 p.m.
*all times local to site (PT)

– Live chat / stats: und.com
– In-game twitter: @ndvolleyball
– Notre Dame Athletics Twitter: @und_com
– Tickets: nevadawolfpack.com / 775.348.7225 / also available on day of match

Bump, Set, Spike …
– Now in its 31st season of varsity action, the Notre Dame volleyball team carries an overall record of 631-357 (.636) … the Irish seek an 18 NCAA Championship appearance while aiming towards a 20th consecutive winning season.
– Head coach Debbie Brown is directing the Irish on the hardwood for the 20th straight season … Brown is 447-171 (.724) at the helm of the Notre Dame program and 564-254 (.690) in 26 seasons as a head coach.
– The Irish received votes (21) in the AVCA Top 25 Preseason Poll released Aug. 17, but dropped from the rankings after going 2-1 last week at the Shamrock Invitational … Notre Dame is currently 36th in the RichKern.com poll.
– The 2010 edition of the Shamrock Invitational marked the 16th time Notre Dame hosted the event … the Irish first held the tournament in 1993 and hold an all-time record of 39-8 (.830) in the showcase after posting two wins and one loss in 2010.

Series Notes …

Series history: First meeting
– Belmont took the first set, 25-16, before dropping the next three to Tennessee Tech in a midweek contest on Aug. 31 … the Bruins hosted the Belmont Invitational last weekend and posted wins over Miami (Ohio) and Jacksonville State … Belmont was picked to finish third in the Atlantic Sun Conference … junior outside hitter Maggie Johnson was named to the preseason all-conference team … Johnson was first-team all-league choice in 2009 after leading the Bruins in kills (427) and attempts (1,217) as a sophomore.

Weber State
Series history: First meeting
– Weber State brings an 0-4 record into the weekend, including a midweek loss to in-state rival Utah State … Weber State returns six experienced players from 2009 including two starters … setter Kim Lissinna is the lone senior on the squad and played in 90 sets over 29 matches last year … the Wildcats finished 8-21 overall and 5-11 in Big Sky action in 2009, struggling to gain traction against one of the toughest schedules in school history … Weber State faced five teams that spent time in the national rankings during the 2009 season, including three that were ranked when playing the Wildcats, and had seven matches against teams that earned a berth in the NCAA tournament … Weber State graduated five seniors from its 2009 squad, including two that were named to the All-Big Sky Conference team.

Series history: Notre Dame leads, 1-0
Series streak: Notre Dame, W1
First / last meeting: Aug. 30, 2008 – Notre Dame, 3-1
– This will be the second meeting between Notre Dame and Nevada, with Notre Dame owning the only win in the series … Nevada traveled to Notre Dame in the opening week of the 2008 campaign and took one set off of the Irish … then-sophomore Kellie Sciacca recorded the only double-double of her career (14 kills, 10 blocks) while hitting .464 … Notre Dame hit .200 as a team, besting the Wolf Pack’s .080 clip.

Coming Up Next …
Notre Dame heads west again for the Pioneer Classic in Denver, Colo. … Gonzaga (Sept. 10), Jacksonville State (Sept. 11) and Denver (Sept. 12) make up the field in that affair … the Pioneer Classic will serve as a homecoming of sorts for senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca, who played her prep ball for Lewis-Palmer in Monument, Colo. … the family of sophomore Hilary Eppink, who prepped in Westfield, Ind., currently lives just outside of the Denver.

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.

Incoming Class Regarded By PrepVolleyball.com …
Notre Dame’s six-person freshman class – Maggie Brindock, Sam Brown, Sammie Brown, Andrea McHugh, Andie Olsen and Nicole Smith – was tabbed by PrepVolleyball.com as the nation’s 13th-best recruiting class … the newcomers will help replace six departing seniors which led the Irish to the 2009 BIG EAST Conference regular-season title and a national ranking … Notre Dame received the highest ranking of any BIG EAST member … USC, Penn State and Stanford held the top three spots, respectively, in the rankings … Notre Dame’s departed six-person class from the 2009 season was ranked fifth by PrepVolleyball.com in 2006.

BIG EAST Conference vs. Non-Conference …
BIG EAST Conference teams ended the 2009 season with a total record of 130-99 (.568) against non-conference opponents, the best winning percentage since 2005 when BIG EAST teams combined for a .627 winning percentage … Notre Dame registered a win against the highest ranked team in 2009 when they beat No. 5 Stanford on the opening weekend of play.

Brown Knows How To Win …
Entering 2010, Debbie Brown is first among BIG EAST head coaches with 562 career wins … Louisville’s Leonid Yelin is second with 457 wins in 20 seasons.