Nov. 20, 2008
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Four members of the Notre Dame volleyball team earned all-BIG EAST Conference honors, announced Thursday by the league at the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship banquet held at The Westin Hotel in Pittsburgh. Senior Justine Stremick, sophomore Kellie Sciacca, and juniors Christina Kaelin and Serinity Phillips were each tabbed second-team honorees for their efforts during the league’s 2008 regular season.
The quartet will charge into battle with the Irish (14-13 overall, 9-5 BIG EAST) on Friday at 10 a.m. (ET) against Connecticut (21-8 overall, 10-4 BIG EAST) in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship held at Fitzgerald Field House. Complete multimedia coverage will be available at UND.com
Stremick, a preseason all-BIG EAST choice, was a second-team selection as a junior in 2007. This year’s honor goes along with her third academic all-district award in as many seasons, which she collected earlier in the season. Stremick led the Irish with 1.02 blocks/set in league play while totaling 94 kills on a .300 average. She helped the Irish hold one of the league’s top offensive units at bay with a season-high 10 blocks – three solo – in a Nov. 14 match versus St. John’s. The Irish recorded 19 blocks versus the Red Storm, the highest team total of the season. Stremick also tagged on 11 kills with only one error for a .455 clip in the five-set match. She then came back two days later with 17 kills and a .364 average against Connecticut (Nov. 16) and added five blocks against the Huskies. Her efforts helped the Irish snap the Huskies’ seven-match win streak. Seven of her kills came in the fourth set to swing momentum into Notre Dame’s favor and four more kills were racked in the final frame. The Irish limited the Huskies to respective hitting averages of .000, .073 and .059 in the last three sets of the match. Stremick’s career block total now stands at 422, moving her into eighth place on Notre Dame’s all-time blocks list, as she is the 11th player in program history to record at least 400 stuffs. Her 1.19 bocks/set average is fifth on the career list. On the national level, Notre Dame is 56th with 2.35 blocks/set and with Stremick sitting 54th among individual players with 1.16 blocks/set.
Phillips was also a preseason all-BIG EAST choice before the first serve of the current campaign and a second-teamer in 2007. She averaged 2.53 kills/set and 2.89 digs/set against league opponents. She 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 against Marquette (Nov. 2). Phillips’ kill total was her best of the season and the most since she pounded Villanova 26 times in 2007. She had a double-double with 16 kills and 13 digs against Syracuse (Nov. 1) with a .375 clip. Phillips averaged 4.10 kills/set and cleanly fielded 33 serves for a perfect average over that two-match weekend. She was named to the league’s weekly honor roll on Nov. 3. She also notched 11 kills and a career-high 22 digs at Villanova (Oct. 25). The 22 digs tied her for team-high honors on the season and the most of any outside hitter. In a three-set match at Seton Hall (Oct. 26), Phillips wrapped up the contest with seven kills and only one error for a .316 average, 11 digs and two solo blocks.
In her first complete season since recovering from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for the duration of the 2007 slate, Kaelin is currently fifth in the BIG EAST with 3.57 kills/set. She posted a .295 hitting percentage in conference play and led the Irish with 193 total kills. She recorded double-digit kills in 13 of Notre Dame’s 14 league matches, highlighted by 21 converted attacks against Pittsburgh (Oct. 12). It was behind the strong swinging of her right arm that Notre Dame finished the regular season ranked fourth in the league in overall hitting percentage (.261).
Sciacca, the 2007 AVCA Northeast Region Freshman of the Year, was second overall in league hitting percentage with a .376 clip. She totaled 137 kills in league play and 0.80 blocks/set. Sciacca opened the BIG EAST regular season with 20 kills on a .683 average in a four-set match at USF (Sept. 26), and later tagged Syracuse for 19 kills on a .577 average during a Nov. 1 matchup.
2008 BIG EAST Volleyball Postseason Awards
BIG EAST Player of the YearWioleta Leszczynska, St. John's, Sr., S
BIG EAST Libero of the YearLena Yee, St. John's, Sr., L
BIG EAST Freshman of the Year*Annie Luhrsen, Connecticut, Fr., S
BIG EAST Coach of the YearReed Sunahara, Cincinnati (9th season at UC)
All-BIG EAST First TeamLecia Brown, Louisville, Jr., MBKelly Campbell, Pittsburgh, Sr., OH*Marcela Gurgel, USF, Jr., OHValeria Kovaleva, St. John's, Sr., OHJustine Landi, Louisville, Jr., OPPWioleta Leszczynska, St. John's, Sr., SAnnie Luhrsen, Connecticut, Fr., SJana Matiasovska, Louisville, Sr., OH/MBSarah Morton, Syracuse, Jr., MB*Jessie Nevitt, Cincinnati, Sr., MBStephanie Niemer, Cincinnati, So., MB/OHLena Yee, St. John's, Sr., L
All-BIG EAST Second TeamCasie Brooks, St. John's, Sr., RS/SMeagan Dooley, Pittsburgh, Jr., MHJessica Elley, Cincinnati, Sr., OHAnnie Fesl, Cincinnati, So., SChristina Kaelin, Notre Dame, Jr., OHKacie MacTavish, Syracuse, Jr., OHAllie Matters, Seton Hall, Jr., OHChauntay Mickens, Connecticut, Jr., RSSerinity Phillips, Notre Dame, Jr., OHKellie Sciacca, Notre Dame, So., MBJustine Stremick, Notre Dame, Sr., MBDana Tartazky, Villanova, Sr., OHNakia Williams, USF, Sr., MB* unanimous selection