Senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca will begin her final campaign in an Irish uniform Friday versus Marshall.

Irish Lift Lid On 2010 Season Friday, Host Shamrock Invitational

Aug. 26, 2010

Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader | Shamrock Invitational (tournament page)

Notre Dame will welcome three teams to campus this weekend to kick off the 2010 volleyball season with the Shamrock Invitational at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Marshall, Cal Poly and No. 18 Arizona join the Irish to comprise the four-team field, with Notre Dame slated to battle the Thundering Herd at 7:00 p.m. (ET) Friday in both team’s season opening match.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
0-0 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
[ –]

Marshall Thundering Herd
0-0 overall / 0-0 Conference USA
[ –]

Cal Poly Mustangs
0-0 overall / 0-0 Big West
[ –]

No. 18 Arizona Wildcats
0-0 overall / 0-0 Pacific-10
[ –]

2010 Shamrock Invitational
Friday, Aug. 27
4:30 p.m. – Arizona vs. Cal Poly
7:00 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Marshall
Saturday, Aug. 28
12:00 p.m. – Cal Poly vs. Marshall
5:00 p.m. – Marshall vs. Arizona
7:30 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Cal Poly
Sunday, Aug. 29
1:00 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Arizona

– Live audio / chat / stats:
– In-game twitter: @ndvolleyball
– Notre Dame Athletics Twitter: @und_com
– Tickets: / 574.631.7356 / also available on day of match

Bump, Set, Spike …
– Entering its 31st season of varsity action, the Notre Dame volleyball team carries an overall record of 629-356 (.636) into the 2010 campaign … the Irish seek an 18 NCAA Championship appearance while aiming towards a 20th consecutive winning season.
– Head coach Debbie Brown will direct the Irish on the hardwood for the 20th straight season … Brown is 445-170 (.724) at the helm of the Notre Dame program and 562-253 (.690) in 26 seasons as a head coach.
– The Irish are receiving votes (21) in the AVCA Top 25 Preseason Poll released Aug. 17 … Notre Dame received votes in the final poll of the 2009 season after peaking at No. 23 during the regular season.
– The 2010 edition of the Shamrock Invitational marks the 16th time Notre Dame will host the event … the Irish first held the tournament in 1993 and hold an all-time record of 37-7 (.841) in the showcase after posting two wins and one loss against last year’s field consisting of Denver (W, 3-0), No. 5 Stanford (W, 3-0) and LSU (L, 0-3) … the win over No. 5 Stanford (Aug. 29) was the second win for the Irish over a top-five opponent, and the first since 1993.

Series Notes …

Series history: First meeting
– Marshall returns four starters from its 2009 team that went 22-9 (10-6 Conference USA) while placing fifth in the league play … the Thundering Herd’s season ended in the Conference USA quarterfinals after a 3-0 loss to Rice … Marshall welcomes seven newcomers … Notre Dame is 9-5 all-time against Conference USA programs, as Debbie Brown is 8-1 against the league (6-0 at Notre Dame).

Cal Poly
Series history: Caly Poly leads, 2-1
Series streak: Caly Poly, W1
First meeting: Sept. 1, 2002 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Last meeting: Sept. 12, 2008 – Caly Poly, 3-1
– Trailing 2-0 to the sixteenth-ranked team in the nation, Notre Dame staged a late rally but fell to Cal Poly, 3-1, on the opening day of the 2008 Minnesota Diet Coke Classic when the two teams last faced off … Kristen Dealy paced Notre Dame in the kill column with 14 … three service aces by Frenchy Silva gave her match-high honors.

Series history: Notre Dame leads, 2-1
Series streak: Notre Dame, W1
First meeting: Sept. 9, 1988 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Last meeting: Aug. 29, 2003 – Notre Dame, 3-1
– This will be the fourth time Notre Dame and Arizona have met on the court, and the first since 2003 … the two teams first met in 1988, with the Irish pulling out a 3-0 win at the Saluki Invitational in Carbondale, Ill. … Debbie Brown is 8-7 against the Wildcats, with 13 of those contests coming during her tenure as head coach at Arizona State (1-1 at Notre Dame, 7-6 at Arizona State).

Coming Up Next …
Notre Dame starts a six-match swing away from home beginning with three contests at the Nevada Invitational in Reno, Nev. … Notre Dame will go head-to-head with Belmont (Sept. 3), Weber State (Sept. 3) and the host Wolfpack (Sept. 3) … after returning to South Bend, the Irish head west again for the Pioneer Classic in Denver, Colo. … Gonzaga (Sept. 10), Jacksonville State (Sept. 11) and Denver (Sept. 12) make up the field in that affair … the Pioneer Classic will serve as a homecoming of sorts for senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca, who played her prep ball for Lewis-Palmer in Monument, Colo. … the family of sophomore Hilary Eppink, who prepped in Westfield, Ind., currently lives just outside of the Denver.

Wide Openers …
Notre Dame is 23-7 (18-1 under head coach Debbie Brown) in home openers … the Irish are 18-8 (.692) in the month of August and 16-5 (.762) 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.

Incoming Class Regarded By …
Notre Dame’s six-person incoming 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 out-going six-person class was ranked fifth by in 2006.

BIG EAST Conference vs. Non-Conference …
BIG EAST Conference teams ended the 2009 season with a total record of 130-99 (.568) against non-conference opponents, the best winning percentage since 2005 when BIG EAST teams combined for a .627 winning percentage … Notre Dame registered a win against the highest ranked team in 2009 when they beat No. 5 Stanford on the opening weekend of play.

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.