Junior Serinity Phillips (right) joined senior Justine Stremick on the BIG EAST's 2008 preseason volleyball team.

Irish Pair Named To All-BIG EAST Preseason Team

Aug. 16, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior Justine Stremick and junior Serinity Phillips each found a spot on the BIG EAST Conference’s preseason volleyball team released by the league on Friday. Both Stremick and Phillips were second-team all-BIG EAST performers in 2007.

Stremick, a middle blocker from Langdon, N.D., was among the nation’s leaders in blocks-per-game last season, also earning all-district academic accolades from ESPN The Magazine.

Phillips is one of Notre Dame’s top outside hitters heading into the 2008 campaign. She left her mark on conference foes in 2007 with several outstanding performances, most notably with a (then) career-high 23 kills at West Virginia which was followed by 26 kills versus Villanova one week later.

Louisville was the top choice in preseason coaches’ poll. Eight of the BIG EAST’s 15 head coaches gave Louisville first-place votes, edging out defending conference champion St. John’s, which had four first-place tallies. Notre Dame received one first-place vote as Cincinnati collected a pair.

The Irish had been the top pick in the preseason voting the past two seasons. Last year, Notre Dame posted a 9-5 BIG EAST record, tying them for third, and a 15-13 record overall. The overall mark locked in their 21st consecutive winning season under the direction of head coach Debbie Brown

BIG EAST play will start with a 14-game opening weekend Sept. 26-28. The BIG EAST’s 15 volleyball teams play every league school once for a 14-game schedule. The top eight finishers in the BIG EAST standings based on winning percentage advance to the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship in Pittsburgh’s Fitzgerald Field House.

First-round action of the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship will begin on Nov. 21. The event spans three days and is single elimination. ESPNU will televise the championship game on Nov. 23. The tournament champion will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA’s 28th Annual Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship.

Notre Dame begins its 2008 season by hosting the Shamrock Invitational Aug. 29-31. The Irish play IPFW at 7 p.m. (ET) on Aug. 29.

2008 BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Awards and Coaches Poll
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the YearWioleta Leszczynska, St. John's, Gr., S
All-BIG EAST Preseason TeamLecia Brown, Louisville, Jr., MBMeagan Dooley, Pittsburgh, Jr., MH/OH*Marcela Gurgel, USF, Jr. OHTatyana Kolesnikova, Louisville, Sr., OHWioleta Leszczynska, St. John's, Gr., SJana Matiasovska, Louisville, Sr., OH/MBTricia Meyers, Seton Hall, Sr., MBJessie Nevitt, Cincinnati, Sr., MBStephanie Niemer, Cincinnati, So., MB/OHSerinity Phillips, Notre Dame, Jr., OHJustine Stremick, Notre Dame, Sr., MBLena Yee, St. John's, Sr., L* - unanimous selection
BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll
Team / 2007 Overall RecordLouisville (8) / 22-8St. John's (4) / 33-4Cincinnati (2) / 19-12Notre Dame (1) / 14-14USF / 19-10Connecticut / 19-11Pittsburgh / 15-16Marquette / 10-16Villanova / 14-14Seton Hall / 16-12Syracuse / 21-13Georgetown / 5-27DePaul / 7-21West Virginia / 16-14Rutgers / 3-22
(x) - indicates first-place votes