Senior Angela Puente

Irish Hit Road For Two League Contests

Sept. 30, 2010

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame was one of four BIG EAST Conference volleyball teams to sweep the opening weekend of league play, and hopes to use that momentum in upcoming matches at USF (Oct. 1) and Georgetown (Oct. 3). The Irish are tied for first in the league standings alongside USF, Cincinnati and Villanova with a 2-0 conference record.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
9-5 overall / 2-0 BIG EAST
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USF Bulls
6-7 overall / 2-0 BIG EAST
Friday, Oct. 1 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
The Corral – Tampa, Fla.

Georgetown Hoyas
11-7 overall / 1-1 BIG EAST
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Sunday, Oct. 3 – 2:00 p.m. (ET)
McDonough Arena – Washington, D.C.

– Live stats:
*video will be available for USF match at
* there will be no live chat for the Georgetown match
– Notre Dame Volleyball Twitter: @ndvolleyball
– Notre Dame Athletics Twitter: @und_com
– Irish Alerts (text messaging service):

Bump, Set, Spike …
– Notre Dame will play the 1,000th match in program history when it takes the court against USF (Oct. 1) … now in their 31st season of varsity competition, the Irish have an all-time record of 638-361 (.639).
– With wins over West Virginia (Sept. 24) and Pittsburgh (Sept. 26), Notre Dame went 2-0 on the opening weekend of BIG EAST Conference play for the third straight year and 15th time in 16 seasons since joining the league in 1995 … the Irish are 15-1 in BIG EAST openers, with the lone loss coming at Pittsburgh in 2007 … in that epic 3-1 (33-31, 32-30, 30-23, 42-40) loss, the two teams combined to score 82 points in the fourth set … 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 … 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 combined score of 256 is the highest of any four-set match in NCAA history.
– After being named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Sept. 27, Andrea McHugh is now the sixth player in Irish history to win the award at least twice … Kellie Sciacca is the only player earn the honor three times, doing so during her 2007 rookie campaign.

Series Notes …

Series history: Notre Dame leads, 5-0 (5-0 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W5
First meeting: Oct. 21, 2005 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Last meeting: Nov. 15, 2009 – Notre Dame, 3-1
Notes: Notre Dame finished the 2009 regular season with a 3-1 win over USF to become the second team in league history to win each of its 14 regular-season conference contests (St. John’s accomplished the feat in 2006, the first season in which the BIG EAST extended the league slate to 14 games) … Notre Dame last went unscathed in BIG EAST play in 2001 (12-0) … the victory also earned the program its 18th 20-win season in 30 years of varsity competition … Kellie Sciacca sliced USF for 20 kills on 28 attempts for a .643 average during Notre Dame’s 3-1 victory on the Bulls’ home court in 2008 … she was errorless on her first 16 swings … Sciacca also had 10 kills on 18 swings with an error for a .500 mark in the 2008 matchup … Justine Stremick killed 15 shots against USF in 2006 and her .750 hitting percentage was the highest mark for Notre Dame on the season and the highest for an Irish player that averaged at least four attacks per set since 2001 … Notre Dame swept the Bulls in the first meeting between the programs in 2005 and then again in 2006 … the 20-point margin in the first set of the 2005 match is tied for second-largest margin of victory for Notre Dame in a period.

Series history: Notre Dame leads, 19-1 (15-0 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W11
First meeting: Oct. 20, 1986 – Notre Dame, 3-1
Last meeting: Nov. 13, 2009 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Notes: One week after securing the No. 1 seed for the 2009 BIG EAST Conference Championship, Notre Dame powered past Georgetown, 3-0, to clinch the league’s regular-season title for the 11th time in program history … it was the first outright title for the Irish since 2004 after tying for first in 2005 … the win improved the Irish to 13-0 against BIG EAST opponents on the season and extended the nation’s fifth-longest winning streak to 13 matches … Notre Dame received 12 kills from Kellie Sciacca and overcame deficits in each of the three periods to sweep the Hoyas for the eighth consecutive time … the Irish have won 57 of 68 sets with Georgetown, including each of the last 26 … this season’s meeting will be the 21st overall between the two squads and the 16th in as many seasons, with the Irish riding an 11-match winning streak over the Hoyas … the teams have twice played five-set matches, with the Irish prevailing in both (1999 and 2001 BIG EAST Tournament semifinals) … the lone victory for Georgetown was a 3-0 (15-11, 15-10, 15-8) triumph in the title match of the 1999 BIG EAST Championship in Pittsburgh, which made the Hoyas the first team to defeat Notre Dame in the conference tournament … the schools played twice before the Irish became a member of the BIG EAST … the Irish won 3-1 (15-1, 15-6, 10-15, 15-6) at Georgetown in 1986 in the first-ever meeting and were victorious again in four sets during the 1992 William & Mary Invitational … the teams have played three times in the BIG EAST Championship, with the Irish winning in 1998 (3-0) and 2001 (3-2) … Georgetown’s 1999 win snapped its eight-match losing streak against the Irish.

Streaking … Again …
Notre Dame currently sports the nation’s ninth-best regular season conference winning streak, which stands at 17 matches … the Irish won their last BIG EAST contest of the 2008 season, went 14-0 in 2009, and came out victorious in the opening weekend of the 2010 campaign … the program is accustomed to such winning streaks in BIG EAST action, having once won 45 (Oct. 1, 1999-Nov. 9, 2002) and 35 (Sept. 30, 1995-Oct. 4, 1995) straight league matches.

Active Volleyball Regular Season Conference Winning Streaks(through Sept. 29)
1. North Dakota State - 422. Hawaii - 27T3. Central Arkansas / Lipscomb - 25T5. Northern Iowa / Albany - 227. Florida International - 208. Florida State - 199. Notre Dame - 17

The 500 Club …
Senior libero Megan Dunne shelved the 500th dig of her career against West Virginia (Sept. 24) in the BIG EAST Conference opener at Purcell Pavilion … Dunne became the third player on the Irish roster with at least 500 career digs (joining Kristen Dealy and Frenchy Silva).

Dealy Does It …
Junior outside hitter Kristen Dealy was named to the Notre Dame Invitational all-tournament team, which was hosted by the Irish Sept. 17-19 … she averaged 3.64 kills/set and 4.36 digs/set in three matches and went for 24 kills and 25 digs against Delaware (Sept. 17), career-high numbers in both categories … her final totals signified the 19th time in 31 seasons of varsity competition at Notre Dame that a player posted a 20-20 output (kills, digs or assists) … the last to do so was Adrianna Stasiuk against Cincinnati in 2006.

She Can Dig It …
Junior libero Frenchy Silva had a career-high 24 digs against Delaware (Sept. 17) … as Kristen Dealy notched 25 in the contest, the duo became the first pair of Irish players to record 20+ digs in a match since 2007 … Megan Dunne (23) and Adrianna Stasiuk (21) replicated the feat at LSU in 2007 … Silva leads all active players with five career 20+ dig performances (Megan Dunne – 3, Kristen Dealy – 3).

Start It Up …
Notre Dame’s 7-2 record through the first nine matches was the team’s best start since 2005 … that season, the Irish won their first seven contests before falling to LSU at the Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic in College Station, Texas, before winning the next 15 matches on the slate.

Brown Earns No. 450 …
Irish head coach Debbie Brown earned her 450th career win to start Denver’s Pioneer Classic with a 3-0 sweep of Gonzaga (Sept. 10) … Brown, now in her 20th season at the helm of the Notre Dame program, has a record of 452-175 (.724) with the Irish.

Hit ‘Em Hard …
Notre Dame posted a .488 hitting pct. in a 3-0 sweep of Denver (Sept. 12), the program’s best single-match average since Nov. 4, 2001 (when the Irish hit .495 in a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh).

Hit ‘Em High …
Senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca averaged 3.70 kills/set on a blistering .582 average across the three matches at the Pioneer Classic to earn her third straight all-tournament accolade … she became the first player since 2007 to finish a match with a clip over .700 after hitting .722 against Denver

Quick and Easy …
Notre Dame’s win over Denver (Sept. 12) spanned just 1:10, tying the program record for the second-quickest match played in the 25-point era.

Three of a Kind …
Notre Dame posted 2-1 marks at each of the first two tournaments to open the season before going 3-0 at Denver’s Pioneer Classic (Sept. 10-12) … it was the program’s first sweep of a three-match invite since 2005, when the Irish downed No. 8 USC, Oklahoma and No. 6 Florida at the UTSA Dome Rally in San Antonio, Texas … the 2005 team finished 30-4 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament … the Irish won each of their two contests at the 2009 Notre Dame Invitational with wins over New Mexico State and Wisconsin., BIG EAST Deal Honors To Sciacca …
Senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca missed out on the BIG EAST’s top weekly award, but was recognized nationally as a Top Performer by on Sept. 14 … the award came on the heels of being named to Denver’s Pioneer Classic all-tournament team after hitting .582 on the week and leading the Irish to three wins … the BIG EAST placed Sciacca on its weekly honor roll … Kristen Dealy was the last Irish player to earn recognition from after doing so in November 2009.

More All-Tournament Nods …
Senior middle Blocker Kellie Sciacca hit .582 across 10 sets in three matches at Denver’s Pioneer Classic (Sept. 10-12) with 3.70 kills/set and 1.30 blocks/set … sophomore Hilary Eppink wasn’t too far behind with a .561 average, nine blocks and a pair of aces … both were named to the event’s all-tournament team.

All-All-Tournament-Tournament …
Doubling up on all-tournament honors for the 2010 were senior Kellie Sciacca and freshman Andrea McHugh, who earned the distinction at the Nevada Invitational (Sept. 3-4) … each were also named to the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team to begin the season … McHugh totaled 43 kills (3.31/set) in three matches with 2.00 digs/set and 0.69 blocks/set … she led Notre Dame in scoring with 52.0 points … Sciacca was her usual steady self with 2.46 kills/set on a .338 clip and 1.31 blocks/set … against Weber State (Sept. 4), Sciacca tied a career best with three solo blocks in three sets.

Reno Aces …
Freshman Nicole Smith did not take many risks from behind the service line during the Nevada Invitational in Reno, Nev., but her performance would have caused plenty of envy from the blackjack players down the way from Virginia Street Gym … Smith fired in a match-high four aces in three sets against Weber State (Sept. 4), including back-to-back-to-back daisies to blow the match open in the opening frame … she is the first Irish freshman to knock down four aces in a single match since Beth Wildermuth, who also had four against California during her freshman season in 2008.

Early Five-Setters …
Through six matches to start the 2010 season, Notre Dame stretched it to the limit with three five-set affairs, winning two of the contests … the three five-setters are the most since 2004, when that squad went the distance in three of its first five matches while dropping two of three.

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.

Freshman Class Regarded By …
Notre Dame’s six-person freshman class – Maggie Brindock, Sam Brown, Sammie Brown, Andrea McHugh, Andie Olsen and Nicole Smith – was tabbed by 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 in 2006.

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.