Senior setter Jamel Nicholas

Irish Carry Undefeated Record Into League Doubleheader

Oct. 16, 2009

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame will put its undefeated league record on the line as a three-match homestand ends with trips to Pittsburgh (Oct. 17) and West Virginia (Oct. 18). The Irish (11-4 overall, 5-0 BIG EAST Conference) are the league’s lone undefeated team in conference play while Pittsburgh is one of three teams with one loss.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish
11-4 overall / 5-0 BIG EAST
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Pittsburgh Panthers
13-7 overall / 5-1 BIG EAST
Saturday, Oct. 17 • 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Fitzgerald Fieldhouse • Pittsburgh, Pa.
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West Virginia Mountaineers
12-9 overall / 2-4 BIG EAST
Sunday, Oct. 18 • 2:00 p.m. (ET)
WVU Coliseum • Morgantown, W.Va.
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The Field …
– Series: Notre Dame leads, 18-9 (9-5 BIG EAST)
– Series streak: Pittsburgh has won each of the last four and six of the last eight meetings
– First meeting: 11.3.84 – at Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, 3-0
– Last meeting: 11.12.08 – at Notre Dame – Pittsburgh, 3-1
– Notre Dame and Pitt are meeting for the 18th consecutive season and the 28th time overall … the 18-year streak of at least one contest against the Panthers is Notre Dame’s longest versus any current foe … Notre Dame downed Pittsburgh 15 consecutive times between 1992-2002, but since then Pitt has taken six of the last eight meetings, including a 3-1 road win for the Panthers in 2008 … Christina Kaelin had 21 kills against the Panthers in 2008 … in a 2007 battle at Pitt, Notre Dame combined to score 82 points with the Panthers in the fourth set of a match that was also both team’s BIG EAST Conference opener … the Irish set a school record for most points in a four-set match (131), and tied the program’s mark for the fourth-highest point total in an affair of any length … their 40 points in game four was the most ever won in a single set, eclipsing the previous high of 37 in set one of a 3-1 victory over Eastern Washington in 2003 … the Irish actually outscored the Panthers, 131-130 … the 131-point total is tied for second in NCAA history for points scored in a four-set match with 30-point scoring format … the 40 points in set three is tied for 18th for points scored in a single frame with 30-point scoring format … the combined score of 256 is the highest of any four-set match in NCAA history … the schools first met in 1984 in Pittsburgh, with the Panthers winning 3-0 … the Irish eliminated Pitt from the 1994 NCAA Tournament’s second round with a four-set win in the Joyce Center … Notre leads in sets won, 61-42 … in 1996, Notre Dame’s Denise Boylan tallied 86 assists at Pittsburgh, which is the second-highest assist total ever recorded by an Irish player.

West Virginia
– Series: Notre Dame leads, 14-2 (13-1 BIG EAST)
– Series streak: Notre Dame has won each of the last 10 meetings
– First meeting: 12.5.91 – Northern Intercollegiate Championship (Fairborn, Ohio) – WVU, 3-2
– Last meeting: 10.11.08 – at Notre Dame – Notre Dame, 3-0
– The Irish and the Mountaineers will meet for the 16th consecutive season and 17th time overall … Notre Dame has not dropped a match to WVU since a 3-0 loss in 1998 … the Irish have won 18 of the last 19 sets … the Irish coasted to a 3-0 win over the Mountaineers during the 2006 campaign, won by a 3-1 count in 2007 and swept WVU in 2008 … eight service aces and 13 kills by Kristen Dealy powered Notre Dame to win No. 600 in program history during the 2008 victory over the Mountaineers … WVU won the first ever meeting between the two teams, earning a 3-2 edge in the 1991 National Intercollegiate Championship postseason tournament in Fairborn, Ohio … during that contest, Notre Dame’s Jessica Fiebelkorn posted the highest hitting percentage ever for an Irish player in a five-set match, with 13 kills and only two errors on 20 swings for a .550 mark … the teams played twice before the Irish joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995 … the Irish gained their first win over the Mountaineers in 1994 at the Joyce Center in four sets … after winning the next three in straight sets Notre Dame lost in Morgantown in 1998, which marked just the second loss to a conference team in 50 matches since becoming a BIG EAST member … the Irish lead 44-10 in sets won … in the 1994 match with WVU, the Irish set a Joyce Center record with 15 service aces … six came from Angie Harris, which is tied for the third-highest total in school history.

Next week: Notre Dame stays on the road with an Oct. 23 match at DePaul.

Bump, Set, Spike …
• Notre Dame is off to its best start since 2005 when that squad was 14-1 through the first 15 matches of the campaign.
• Notre Dame has won five in a row and eight of its last nine matches … the Irish are the last team in the BIG EAST without a league loss (5-0) … the last time Notre Dame got off to a 5-0 league start was in 2006, when that team won six consecutive BIG EAST matches to start the year.
• 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 552-250 (.688) in her 25th season as a head coach, Brown has a 435-167 (.722) mark at Notre Dame.

Upward Bound …
Notre Dame is receiving votes (29) in the AVCA Top 25 Poll for the seventh consecutive week … deemed Notre Dame the 30th-best team in the nation according to its Oct. 12 poll while the Irish are No. 21 in the Pablo Rankings … the Irish have an RPI of 16 … Notre Dame is the highest ranked BIG EAST Conference team in each poll.

Nationwide …
Notre Dame ranks 26th nationally with a .264 team hitting percentage … the Irish are 32nd overall with 13.78 kills/set and 44th with 12.56 assists/set … Jamel Nicholas is 22nd nationally with 11.04 assists/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.