Sophomore Jeni Houser earned a spot on the preseason BIG EAST team on Friday.

Irish Picked Third; Houser Named To Preseason Team

Aug. 17, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame volleyball team has been picked to finish third in the annual BIG EAST preseason poll, the league office announced on Friday afternoon. In addition to the poll, Irish right side hitter Jeni Houser has earned a spot on the all-BIG EAST preseason team. The league’s 14 head coaches vote on both the poll and the preseason team.

Notre Dame received 140 votes to finish behind the preseason one Louisville (168 points) and Marquette (150 points). The Cardinals earned 12 of a possible 14 first places votes, while the Golden Eagles earned one and No. 4 Cincinnati received the other.

The Irish, who finished 17-13 (8-6 BIG EAST) last season and advanced to the BIG EAST Tournament Championship match, return four starters from last year’s squad, including Houser, a second team all-BIG EAST selection from a season ago.

Houser had quite a freshman campaign, tallying a team-high 320 kills, good for better than three a set. The Louisville, Ky., native also was second on the team and eighth in the league with a .288 attack percentage.

The Irish kick off the season next weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they will battle No. 1 and defending national champion UCLA on Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Saturday will see Notre Dame meet Saint Louis, before heading to Omaha, Neb., for a Sunday showdown with No. 4 Nebraska.

BIG EAST play begins with a 14-match opening weekend on Sept. 21-23. The BIG EAST’s 14 volleyball teams play every league school once and two schools twice for a 15-game schedule. The top eight finishers in the BIG EAST standings, based on winning percentage, advance to the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship.

First-round action of the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship will begin on Nov. 16. The event spans three days and is single elimination. The championship game will take place on Nov. 18 and the tournament champion will
receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA’s 32nd Annual Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship.

2012 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll
School Points
1. Louisville (12) 168
2. Marquette (1) 150
3. Notre Dame 140
4. Cincinnati (1) 139
5. Syracuse 112
6. Pittsburgh 96
7. Seton Hall 88
8. Villanova 83
9. USF 75
10. Connecticut 72
11. Georgetown 60
12. St. John’s 33
13. DePaul 31
14. Rutgers 27

(-) – first-place votes

2012 BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Awards

BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
* Lola Arslanbekova, Louisville, Sr., OH

All-BIG EAST Preseason Team
* Jordanne Scott, Cincinnati, Sr., MB/RS
* Lola Arslanbekova, Louisville, Sr., OH
* Emily Juhl, Louisville, Jr., OH
Gwen Rucker, Louisville, Sr., MH
* Danielle Carlson, Marquette, Sr., MH
Holly Mertens, Marquette, RS-Sr., RS
Jeni Houser, Notre Dame, So., RS
Monica Wignot, Pittsburgh, Jr., OH
Shelby Manthorpe, Seton Hall, So., S
Samantha Hinz, Syracuse, Sr., MB
Lindsay McCabe, Syracuse, Jr., MB
Valerie El Houssine, USF, So., OH

* – unanimous selection