Freshman Toni Alugbue

Irish Start BIG EAST Play, Face Villanova Sunday On ESPNU

Sept. 23, 2011

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The BIG EAST Conference portion of this season’s schedule begins Saturday when the Notre Dame volleyball team welcomes Georgetown to Purcell Pavilion. That contest will be followed by a 1:00 p.m. (ET) matchup with Villanova set to be televised live nationally Sunday on ESPNU.

Anne Marie Anderson (play-by-play) and Jennifer Hoffman (color) will be calling the shots from the sideline for ESPNU. Hoffman, who both played and coached at Louisville, won CBS’ Amazing Race along with her sister, Kisha, this past May.

Notre Dame heads into the weekend after sweeping the competition at the InnTowner Invitational with wins over Western Michigan and host Wisconsin.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-3 overall – 0-0 BIG EAST)
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Georgetown Hoyas (8-5 overall – 0-0 BIG EAST)
Saturday, Sept. 24 – 2:00 p.m. (ET)
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Series: Notre Dame leads, 20-1 (16-0 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W12
First meeting: 10.20.86 – Notre Dame, 3-1
Last meeting: 10.3.10 – Notre Dame, 3-0

Villanova Wildcats [8-5 overall – 0-0 BIG EAST]
Sunday, Sept. 25 – 1:00 p.m. (ET)
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Series history: Notre Dame leads, 18-3 (13-3 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W1
First meeting: 10.25.82 – Notre Dame, 3-0
Last meeting: 11.19.10 – Notre Dame, 3-1

Following the Irish …
TV: ESPNU (vs. Villanova only)
Live stats:
Live audio:
Live video: (vs. Georgetown only)
Live chat:
Twitter: @UND_com, @NDvolleyball, @NDcoachBrown

Bump, Set, Spike …

– The Irish have won 60 of 69 sets with Georgetown, including each of the last 29 … this season’s meeting will be the 22nd overall between the two squads and the 17th in as many seasons, with the Irish riding a 12-match winning streak over the Hoyas … 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.

– Notre Dame won the first 16 matches of the series with Villanova but has dropped three of the last five … Notre Dame and Villanova have played four times in the BIG EAST Championship, most recently in 2010 when the Irish pulled out a 3-1 first-round win in Pittsburgh … in 1999, the Irish turned in their fourth-highest hitting percentage in school history against Villanova, with 60 kills and just eight errors on 102 swings for a .510 mark … Villanova had the distinction of being one of the nation’s top serving teams when the Wildcats last visited Purcell Pavilion in 2009, but it was Notre Dame that aced Villanova for a 3-0 win … the Irish recorded eight aces – including four from Jamel Nicholas – against a Wildcat squad that entered the match ranked second in the country with 2.33 aces/set … the win in 2009 improved Notre Dame’s record to 9-4 overall, the program’s best start since 2005 … it also marked head coach Debbie Brown’s 800th career match and her 600th at Notre Dame.

– One day after redeeming a 2010 loss to Western Michigan, Notre Dame swept host Wisconsin to claim the team title at the InnTowner Invitational … senior Kristen Dealy earned MVP honors with senior Frenchy Silva and junior Hilary Eppink earning all-tournament nods … the win on Wisconsin’s home floor was the first ever for the Irish, also giving Notre Dame its first back-to-back wins over the Badgers in the history of the 10-match series.

– Senior Kristen Dealy earned MVP honors at the InnTowner Invite after a strong showing across the board with 3.00 kills/set, 4.29 digs/set and 3.57 points/set.

– Notre Dame’s 1,000-1,000 club inducted a new member in senior Kristen Dealy during a Sept. 16 match against Western Michigan … now with more than 1,000 career kills and 1,000 digs, Dealy is the eighth Irish player ever to join the club and the first since Adrianna Stasiuk did so in 2007.

– Notre Dame is 15-1 all-time in BIG EAST regular-season openers, with the lone loss coming at Pittsburgh to begin the 2007 league slate … all said and done, the Irish are 172-25 (.873) in regular-season play since joining the BIG EAST, including a home record of 95-8 (.922).

– Freshman Jeni Houser was named MVP of the Golden Dome Invitational after leading all players at the four-team event in hitting (.348), kills/set (3.82) and points/set (4.36) … Houser matched a career-high with 19 kills against Portland (Sept. 10) as Notre Dame went 2-1 on the weekend.

– Freshman Toni Alugbue and sophomore Andrea McHugh were named to the Golden Dome Invitational all-tournament team … Alugbue averaged 1.36 blocks/set on the weekend and McHugh shelved a pair of double-doubles and dropped four aces on Portland (Sept. 10).

– A highly efficient and balanced offensive output from Notre Dame helped produce a 3-0 win over visiting Lipscomb (Sept. 9) as the Irish hit .549 as a squad, committing just two errors on 91 swings with 52 kills … with the effort from above the net, Notre Dame set a program record for hitting pct. in a three-set match … the previous best (.539) was set against Marquette in 1986 … it was also the first time the Irish hit over .500 in a contest since a 3-0 win versus DePaul in 2005 … even more, Notre Dame’s side-out pct. on the evening was .840, which included a 12-for-12 effort in the first set.

– Sophomore Sammie Brown became the 11th player in Notre Dame history to record at least 1,000 assists in a career, doing so with a 32-assist effort against Portland (Sept. 10).

– Notre Dame dropped each of its two matches at the Stanford Invitational (Sept. 2-3), falling to both the host Cardinal and St. Mary’s (Calif.).

– Freshman Jeni Houser pounded No. 6 Stanford for a team- and career-high 19 kills … the slugger averaged 3.57 kills/set in the two matches on the West Coast to earn a spot on the Stanford Invitational All-Tournament team.

– Notre Dame opened the season with three wins at the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 26-28) for its best start to a campaign since 2006 … Notre Dame dropped the second set in each of its 3-1 wins over Eastern Michigan, Idaho and Butler … the victory over Butler was the program’s 300th home win … Notre Dame is 302-95 (.760) all-time on its home floor.

– Senior Frenchy Silva, junior Hilary Eppink and sophomore Andrea McHugh were each named to the Shamrock Invitational All-Tournament team … in fact, McHugh was named the tournament’s MVP one day prior to shelving Player of the Week honors from the BIG EAST Conference … McHugh led the Irish with 58 kills in three tournament matches and posted a career-best 25 kills to go along with 13 digs against Idaho … McHugh averaged 4.83 kills and 3.92 digs/set while recording double-digit kills in all three weekend matches.

– A 22-dig performance against Butler (Aug. 28) put senior Frenchy Silva over the 1,000-mark for her career … what’s more, Silva’s 3.36 digs/set average is fourth all-time, and senior Kristen Dealy’s 3.06 digs/set clip ranks fifth … that makes the duo the only classmates ever to rank among the top 10 in digs/set.

– With an Aug. 26 win over Eastern Michigan to begin the 2011 campaign, Notre Dame is 25-7 (20-1 under head coach Debbie Brown) in home openers.

– Notre Dame was picked to finish second in league play according to the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll … the Irish received one first-place vote.

– Co-captains for the 2011 season are seniors Kristen Dealy and Frenchy Silva.

– Senior Kristen Dealy was a preseason all-BIG EAST choice along with sophomore Andrea McHugh.