Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Golden Dome Invitational Set For Volleyball This Weekend

Sept. 11, 2002

Complete Release in PDF Format, including team statistics, BIG EAST Conference standings and additional information not available on the web page.
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2002 Golden Dome Invitational

Sept. 13

#10 Pepperdine (5-3) vs. Loyola College (4-3), Joyce Center, 1:30 p.m.

Notre Dame (5-2) vs. Northwestern (4-2), Joyce Center, 3:45 p.m.

Sept. 14

Notre Dame vs. Loyola College, Joyce Center, 10 a.m.

Northwestern vs. #10 Pepperdine, Joyce Center, 12 noon

Loyola College vs. Northwestern, Joyce Center, 5 p.m.

Notre Dame vs. #10 Pepperdine, Joyce Center, 7 p.m.

Notre Dame hosts Golden Dome Invitational for its final regular-season tournament:

The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (5-2) returns home to the Joyce Center and puts its 25-match home court win streak on the line during the Golden Dome Invitational at the Joyce Center on Friday, Sept. 13, and Saturday, Sept. 14. Northwestern, Loyola College and 10th-ranked Pepperdine join the Irish in the tournament field.

Volleyball fans will get prime seats for the Notre Dame football pep rally on Friday:

Fans from two of Notre Dame’s athletic teams will get an extra bonus on Friday, Sept. 13, in addition to catching the Irish volleyball team in action. For the second match of the Golden Dome Invitational, which features Notre Dame and Northwestern, fans of the Irish volleyball team will be able to stay in their seats for the Notre Dame football pep rally – which begins at 6 p.m.

Due to the pep rally preparations, the Notre Dame – Northwestern match has been moved ahead 15 minutes to 3:45 p.m.. The doors will open for fans holding pep rally passes, students attending the pep rally and volleyball fans at 3 p.m. for the Notre Dame match. Admission to all Irish volleyball matches during the Golden Dome Invitational is free.

Follow all Irish home matches via live statistics on the official athletic web site:

The University of Notre Dame official web site,, will provide live statistics for all Irish home volleyball matches this season.

The link,, will be available as soon as the matches start in the Joyce Center. Be advised, however, that the statistics displayed are not official until the game is over. The official boxscore from the match will be posted with the match recap on the volleyball home page.

The volleyball match game tracker will provide play-by-play, team statistical breakdowns and a running score board – which is updated just seconds after each play concludes in real time.

Only home matches involving the Fighting Irish will be available on

Irish home-court winning streak stands at 25 matches:

Three consecutive victories to begin the 2002 season in the Shamrock Invitational has pushed Notre Dame’s home court winning streak to 25 matches – the second-best streak in school history.

The Irish have not lost in the Joyce Center since a three-game setback to #7 Colorado State on Sept. 23, 2000.

During the Irish winning streak at home, they have dropped just four games while winning 21 matches 3-0. Notre Dame has also won three tournament titles during the streak, including the 2000 BIG EAST Championship and the 2001 and 2002 Shamrock Invitational titles.

Notre Dame utilizing its front row strength to dominate at the net:

The 2001 Irish team posted a 3.42 blocks-per-game average, second to just the ’85 (3.51) and ’88 (3.57) teams. Entering this weekend’s tournament, the Irish are averaging 3.86 blocks per game.

Front row specialists Malinda Goralski, Kristy Kreher and Marcie Bomhack graduated last season, but a talented freshman class, combined with some experienced front line players, have shown the ability to improve the Irish defense at the net. In the first seven matches of the 2002 season, Notre Dame dominated at the net to collect 85 team blocks and have failed to post less than 10 team blocks in just one match this season (vs. Colorado).

Libero addition raises dig average:

With the addition of the libero for back row substitutions, the Notre Dame dig average is at 15.91 per game for the 2002 season. Senior libero and tri-captain Janie Alderete leads the team with 84 digs, including 19 against Cincinnati during the Shamrock Invitational.

Highly-touted freshman class ready to contribute:

Ten returning veterans have combined with six members of the ’02 freshman class to provide head coach Debbie Brown with one of her deepest teams since she took over the Irish program in 1991.

Lauren Brewster, Kelly Burrell, Carolyn Cooper, Meg Henican, Lauren Kelbley and Lindsay Peterson were named Volleyball Magazine’s fifth-rated recruiting class and Student Sports Magazine’s third-rated group.

“The Irish loaded up on tall, talented athletes,” Volleyball Magazine writes.

“In addition to two Fab 50s (#26 Meg Henican and #36 Lauren Brewster), 6-3 middle Carolyn Cooper, 5-11 setter Kelly Burrell, and 6-1 middle Lauren Kelbley are headed for South Bend.”

The ‘Fab 50,’ Volleyball Magazine’s rating of the top 50 recruits in the nation, is one of the premier rankings of incoming freshmen. The list is ranked first through 50 in order of the impact they are expected to make in college volleyball during the next four years. Former Irish stand outs Marilyn Cragin, Jaimie Lee and Mary Leffers, along with current players Kelly Corbett, Kim Fletcher, Kristen Kinder and Emily Loomis have been listed among the ‘Fab 50.’ Henican (ranked 26th) and Brewster (ranked 36th) represent the list for this year’s freshmen group.

Brown and her staff reached across the nation for their six incoming freshmen. Brewster is from Brentwood, Tenn., Burrell hails from Phoenix, Ariz., Cooper calls Houston, Texas, her hometown, Henican is from New Orleans, Kelbley is from Bascom, Ohio, and Peterson is from Mt. Carroll, Ill..

Katie Neff enjoying a break out season for the Irish:

Junior middle blocker and opposite Katie Neff has developed into one of Notre Dame’s top offensive threats this season. The St. Louis, Mo., native totaled just 38 kills during her first two years with the Irish and has already surpassed that total with 53 kills (2.56) this season as a starter for Notre Dame. Neff has flashed the ability to score from all three front row positions and provides an intimidating blocking presence (she has 20 blocks this season, averaging one per game).

Try to hit through this front line:

Notre Dame’s blocking prowess has been well documented this season, but the Irish have some rotations that defy opposing teams to get a shot through. At certain times during a match, Katie Neff (6-5), Lauren Brewster (6-3) and Lauren Kelbley (6-2) are patrolling the net for the Irish defense. Add in 6-1 all-BIG EAST high jumper Emily Loomis and the Irish defensive wall becomes even more impressive.

Jessica Kinder earns a spot on the LMU Classic all-tournament team:

Junior outside hitter Jessica Kinder, who stepped into a starting role for the Irish this season, enjoyed a solid weekend of action at the LMU Classic in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sept. 6 and 7. Jessica Kinder scored 27 kills (2.70), seven assists, six aces, 30 digs (3.00 per game) and six blocks during the two-day tournament.

Jessica Kinder has one of the best weapons on the team, as her jump serve has allowed the Fresno, Calif., native to lead the team in aces with 10 (0.45 per game).

Debbie Brown coaching is in her 12th year as the mentor of the Irish volleyball program:

Debbie Brown has guided the program throughout the 90’s and into the new century, developing the Irish into a volleyball power in the BIG EAST and one of the best programs in the nation. Brown is 281-96 (.745) and has earned numerous coach-of-the-year accolades throughout her 11 years with the Irish, including the 2000 and 2001 BIG EAST Coach of the Year awards.

Notre Dame picked by league coaches to win its third-straight and seventh-overall BIG EAST Championship: Notre Dame has been picked to win its third-straight league title this year, as voted by the conference head coaches. The Irish received 10 of 13 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Pittsburgh and Rutgers.

Two Irish players landed on the preseason all-BIG EAST squad. Junior setter Kristen Kinder, the 2001 BIG EAST Setter of the Year, and junior middle blocker Kim Fletcher made Notre Dame the only conference team represented by two players on the preseason all-BIG EAST team.

Pittsburgh’s Wendy Hatlestad was named the Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year.

The top four teams in the conference (which includes 13 teams with the addition of Miami) will qualify for the 2002 BIG EAST Championship in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 23-24.

Notre Dame has won the last two conference championships, including last season’s showcase in Pittsburgh (defeating Georgetown in five games). The Irish have won their last 27 matches against BIG EAST Conference teams and have posted 34 straight wins in regular-season league action. Notre Dame also is 43-0 at home against BIG EAST Conference opponents.


The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee has introduced another rule change that will have a large effect on how the game is played. After the introduction rally scoring in 2001, the 2002 season marks the beginning of the libero era in women’s collegiate volleyball.

A libero (designated back row player) will be allowed in the lineup for the 2002 season.

A defensive specialist that does not count toward the team’s substitutions, the libero can freely replace any player that has rotated to the back row. Unlike traditional substitutions that are administered by the referee, the libero can enter the match any time there is a dead ball.

Since the libero is a defensive player, a certain restrictions have been established on the libero’s offensive capabilities. A libero only plays in the back row and cannot serve or attempt to block a shot. The libero cannot attack the ball above the net, nor can the libero set the ball with an overhead finger pass in the attack zone.

Once the libero comes out of the match, the player must wait at least one point before reentering.

Janie Alderete, Keara Coughlin and Christa Moen might all be seen wearing the libero jersey this season – a jersey that cannot match the color worn by the rest of the team.

Notre Dame vs. Northwestern series notes:

The Irish and Wildcats will be meeting for the 11th time … Notre Dame holds a 6-5 advantage in the series … Notre Dame and Northwestern are meeting in the second match of the 2002 Golden Dome Invitational, just hours before the Notre Dame football pep rally in the Joyce Center … this is the fourth tournament Northwestern is participating in the Joyce Center … Northwestern’s previous trips have been the inaugural Golden Dome Invitational (1988), the Notre Dame Invitational (’95) and the Shamrock Invitational (’99) … Notre Dame defeated the Wildcats in all three tournament appearances at the Joyce Center … Notre Dame is 5-1 against Northwestern in the Joyce Center.

Notre Dame vs. Loyola College series notes:

The Irish and Greyhounds will be meeting for the first time … Jen Briggs becomes the second former Irish player to bring her team back to the Joyce Center this season for a tournament, as Kathy Litkau brought Wisconsin-Milwaukee into town for the Shamrock Invitational … a four-year monogram winner from 1993-’96, Briggs played middle blocker for Irish head coach Debbie Brown, totaling 591 kills, 533 digs and 187 blocks … former Irish player Molly McCarthy is Briggs’ assistant coach … McCarthy also was a four-year monogram winner (1994-’97) as a middle blocker with 107 kills and 167 digs in 180 games played.

Notre Dame vs. Pepperdine series notes:

The Irish and Waves will be meeting for the second time … Pepperdine claimed a three-game victory (30-18, 30-27, 30-23) in the two team’s first meeting last season at Nebraska’s US Bank/Arby’s Tournament in Lincoln … Emily Loomis had eight kills, six digs and two blocks in the ’01 matchup, while Kim Fletcher had six kills and nine digs for the Irish … Katie Wilkins led the 15th-ranked Waves with 16 kills, nine digs and two blocks.

Notre Dame faces tough schedule in 2002, including 15 of 28 regular-season matches on the road:

The young Irish squad faces a tough road this season, which includes matches against Colorado, two matches at #3 Hawaii and a home match with #10 Pepperdine this weekend. A key stretch of the schedule will be a six-match road trip from Oct. 5 through Oct. 22. That trip will take the Irish from two consecutive weekends on the east coast competing in BIG EAST Conference matches to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, taking on #3 Hawaii twice in two days.

Kelbley lands first conference award of her career:

It took just one week of competition for one of Notre Dame’s talented freshman players to earn a BIG EAST weekly award. Rookie MB Lauren Kelbley was named the BIG EAST co-rookie of the week on Monday, Sept. 2, after leading the team in kills and hitting percentage during the Shamrock Invitational.

Kelbley committed just two attack errors in 67 swings over the weekend, ending up with a .448 hitting percentage, 32 kills (3.56 per game), two aces, seven digs and nine blocks.

Here is a quick look at Notre Dame’s last 25 match victories at home:

2000 –

Sept. 29, Villanova, W, 3-0

Oct. 1, Georgetown, W, 3-0

Oct. 20, Rutgers, W, 3-0

Oct. 22, Seton Hall, W, 3-0

Nov. 3, Boston College, W, 3-0

Nov. 4, North Carolina, W, 3-0

Nov. 7, Saint Louis, W, 3-0

Nov. 18, Connecticut, W, 3-0*

Nov. 19, Rutgers, W, 3-0*

2001 –

Aug. 31, SW Texas St., W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Florida Atlantic, W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Idaho, W, 3-1

Sept. 18, Valparaiso, W, 3-0

Sept. 22, Syracuse, W, 3-0

Sept. 28, Virginia Tech, W, 3-0

Sept. 30, Georgetown, W, 3-1

Oct. 12, Villanova, W, 3-0

Oct. 14, Rutgers, W, 3-0

Nov. 9, St. John’s, W, 3-0

Nov. 11, Seton Hall, W, 3-0

Nov. 14, Illinois State, W, 3-2

2002 –

Aug. 30, UW-Milwaukee, W, 3-0

Aug. 31, Cincinnati, W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Cal Poly, W, 3-0

* – 2000 BIG EAST Championship