April 25, 2005
Notre Dame head volleyball coach Debbie Brown announced recently that S/L Madison Clark (Sturgis, Mich./Sturgis H.S.) – who hails from less than 50 miles from South Bend, in southern Michigan – has signed a national letter of intent and will complete the three-member class of 2009 set to join the Irish volleyball program in the fall.
Notre Dame will return nine of its top 10 players (according to games played) from its 2004 squad that finished 21-9, won both the regular-season (9-1 record) and tournament BIG EAST Conference titles, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Wisconsin, which advanced to the national quarterfinals and finished ranked 14th. The Irish were receiving votes in the final AVCA poll, but not ranked in the top 25 (listed 33rd). The only starter gone from that squad will be versatile front-row player Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.).
Earlier this year, Brown announced the signing of a pair of former high school state players of the year, California outside hitter Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) and North Dakota middle blocker Justine Stremick (Langdon, N.D./Langdon Area H.S.).
Clark joins the Irish just as their lone Indiana native (Loomis) leaves the team. The native of Sturgis, Mich. – which is just across the state line about 50 miles east of South Bend – will be the ninth player in the history of the program to hail from within 50 miles of Notre Dame, but the first since DS Dyan Boulac (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph H.S.) completed her career in 1993. The others all hailed from either South Bend or Mishawaka and all predated Brown’s tenure leading the Irish.
See below some biographical notes on Clark, as well as quotes from her current and future coaches.
Madison Clark, Libero/Setter, 5-10, Sturgis, MI, Sturgis High School, Dunes VBC
Irish Head Coach Debbie Brown on Madison Clark:
“We have known about Madison for several years; she has come to our summer camp for the last two years. She is a very gifted athlete – fast, quick, and dynamic. She can play almost any position, and we think she can have a dual role for us. As a very good defensive player and passer, she is an option for us at the libero position. She also is a very good setter, so she could figure into the setting mix. Madison is a really dedicated athlete and a remarkable team player who has always played wherever she has been asked to, depending on the needs of her teams. I do not know exactly what her best position is, but I think it is either as a setter or a libero. We are really excited to have her in the gym and to see exactly how she will best help us. We think she is a pretty critical piece in helping to take our program to the next level.”
Sturgis High School Head Coach Von Metzger on Madison Clark:
“I am very excited for Madison and pleased that she has found a school where she feels comfortable, along with an excellent coaching staff that she is excited to work with. I expect Madison will bring her exceptional work ethic and attitude to the Fighting Irish, and I look forward to seeing her continue to grow as both a volleyball player and a young lady. I think the future is wide open for Madison and am very confident that Notre Dame has found itself not only a great volleyball player, but also a student that will be able to meet the high academic standards for which the university is known. Sturgis Volleyball is very proud of Madison, and we wish her luck as she continues her playing career.”
Madison Clark Bio Notes:
First-team all-Michigan selection in 2005 helped Sturgis High School be ranked as high as #3 in the state in her final season … a first-team all-conference honoree in both of final two campaigns, as well as a three-time all-region selection … named honorable mention all-state as a junior … was one of PrepVolleyball.com’s Top 250 Senior Aces, a listing of the top high school players in the country … as a senior, set Sturgis records for service aces (105), kills (333), and attack percentage (.274) in a season, while also recording 288 digs (third-highest total in program history) and 62 solo blocks (also third-highest) … in three years as a varsity player, she finished third in Sturgis history in career service aces (226), fourth in assists (1,702), and fifth in digs (673) … served as a team co-captain in 2005 and was the squad’s MVP … helped Sturgis to three district championships, as well as a pair of Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC) East Division titles and the 2005 overall SMAC crown … was a finalist for the volleyball Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Scholar Athlete award … plays for the Dunes Volleyball Club in Michigan City, Ind. … participated in USA High Performance camp that featured Olympic coaches in 2003 and ’04 … will participate in the South Bend Sports Festival in June and the Michigan All-Star Volleyball Tournament in July … will be the eighth Michigan native to play volleyball for the Irish and first since two-time first-team all-BIG EAST OPP Kristy Kreher (Birmingham, Marian H.S., USA Michigan VBC) concluded her career in 2001 … only four states (California-22, Indiana-18, Illinois-16, and Texas-9) have produced more Irish volleyball players … her hometown of Sturgis is the closest to Notre Dame of any volleyball player since DS Dyan Boulac (South Bend, Ind., St. Joseph H.S., Network VBC), who completed her career in 1993.