Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Loyola Marymount Volleyball Classic Stands As Next Challenge For Volleyball

Sept. 4, 2002

Click here for the complete release in PDF format, including roster information, additional statistical breakdowns, full team schedule and BIG EAST Conference standings.
dot.gifspacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

2002 Loyola Marymount Volleyball Classic

Sept. 6

Notre Dame at Loyola Marymount, Los Angeles, Calif., 7 p.m.

Sept. 7

Notre Dame vs. Colorado, Los Angeles, Calif., 10 a.m.

Notre Dame vs. Saint Louis, Los Angeles, Calif., 5 p.m.

Notre Dame heading west to California for first road matches of the season:

After a successful weekend during the Shamrock Invitational, the University of Notre Dame volleyball team (3-0) hits the road for the first time in 2002 to participate in the Loyola Marymount Volleyball Classic in Los Angeles, Calif., this weekend. The Irish will face the host Lions, plus Colorado and Saint Louis during the two-day tournament. Notre Dame ended up 7-2 on the road last season and 3-5 on neutral courts.

Notre Dame defeated UW-Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Cal Poly (all in three games) last weekend to win the Shamrock Invitational title for the third consecutive season. Junior setter Kristen Kinder was named the tournament MVP, while teammates Lauren Brewster, Lauren Kelbley and Emily Loomis joined her on the all-tournament team.

Notre Dame will continue its road trip at Valparaiso on Tuesday, Sept. 10, after its visit to the west coast.

Kelbley lands first conference award of her career:

It took just one week of competition for one of Notre Dame’s talented freshman players to earn a BIG EAST weekly award. Rookie MB Lauren Kelbley was named the BIG EAST co-rookie of the week on Monday, Sept. 2, after leading the team in kills and hitting percentage during the Shamrock Invitational.

Kelbley committed just two attack errors in 67 swings over the weekend, ending up with a .448 hitting percentage, 32 kills (3.56 per game), two aces, seven digs and nine blocks.

Miami’s Valeria Tipiana was named the BIG EAST player of the week, while Julie Hockenson from West Virginia shared the rookie award with Kelbley.

Irish home-court winning streak stands at 25 matches:

Three consecutive victories to begin the 2002 season in the Shamrock Invitational has pushed Notre Dame’s home court winning streak to 25 matches – the second-best streak in school history.

The Irish have not lost in the Joyce Center since a three-game setback to #7 Colorado State on Sept. 23, 2000. Here is a list of Notre Dame’s last 25 victories at home:

2000 –

Sept. 29, Villanova, W, 3-0

Oct. 1, Georgetown, W, 3-0

Oct. 20, Rutgers, W, 3-0

Oct. 22, Seton Hall, W, 3-0

Nov. 3, Boston College, W, 3-0

Nov. 4, North Carolina, W, 3-0

Nov. 7, Saint Louis, W, 3-0

Nov. 18, Connecticut, W, 3-0*

Nov. 19, Rutgers, W, 3-0*

2001 –

Aug. 31, SW Texas St., W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Florida Atlantic, W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Idaho, W, 3-1

Sept. 18, Valparaiso, W, 3-0

Sept. 22, Syracuse, W, 3-0

Sept. 28, Virginia Tech, W, 3-0

Sept. 30, Georgetown, W, 3-1

Oct. 12, Villanova, W, 3-0

Oct. 14, Rutgers, W, 3-0

Nov. 9, St. John’s, W, 3-0

Nov. 11, Seton Hall, W, 3-0

Nov. 14, Illinois State, W, 3-2

2002 – Aug. 30, UW-Milwaukee, W, 3-0

Aug. 31, Cincinnati, W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Cal Poly, W, 3-0

* – 2000 BIG EAST Championship

During the Irish winning streak at home, they have dropped just four games while winning 21 matches 3-0. Notre Dame has also won three tournament titles during the streak, including the 2000 BIG EAST Championship and the 2001 and 2002 Shamrock Invitational titles.

Notre Dame utilizing its front row strength to dominate at the net:

Led by BIG EAST Player of the Year Malinda Goralski, the Irish enjoyed their most successful blocking season since 1988 during the 2001 season. The 2001 Irish team posted a 3.42 blocks-per-game average, second to just the ’85 (3.51) and ’88 (3.57) teams.

Front row specialists Goralski, Kristy Kreher and Marcie Bomhack graduated, but a talented freshman class, combined with some experienced front line players, have shown the ability to improve the Irish defense at the net. In the first three matches of the 2002 season, Notre Dame dominated at the net to collect 44 team blocks (13 vs. Cal Poly, 16 vs. Cincinnati and 15 vs. UW-Milwaukee).

The Irish front line of Lauren Brewster, Lauren Kelbley, Emily Loomis and Katie Neff (along with contributions from Jessica Kinder and Kristen Kinder) averaged 4.89 blocks per game during the Shamrock Invitational. Notre Dame also posted 16 solo blocks during the tournament.

Libero addition raises dig average:

With the addition of the libero for back row substitutions, the Notre Dame dig average ended up at 17.56 per game for the Shamrock Invitational. Senior libero and tri-captain Janie Alderete led the team with 40 digs over the weekend, including 19 against Cincinnati on Saturday. Alderete split time at libero with classmate and fellow captain Keara Coughlin, who registered 28 digs (3.11 per game) over the weekend.

Shamrock Invitational all-tournament honors:

Notre Dame landed four players on the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team (as voted on by the participating coaches) led by MVP Kristen Kinder. Notre Dame’s junior setter had a great weekend, leading the team to a .262 hitting percentage in the three matches (including a .325 mark against Cincinnati) and chalking up 99 assists over the weekend (11.00 assists per game).

Kinder appeared in every statistical category in the post-match box scores, with 14 kills, a .448 hitting percentage, two aces, 22 digs and six blocks in the three matches.

Lauren Brewster, Lauren Kelbley and Emily Loomis also were named to the all-tournament team.

Highly-touted freshman class ready to contribute:

Ten returning veterans have combined with six members of the ’02 freshman class to provide head coach Debbie Brown with one of her deepest teams since she took over the Irish program in 1991.

Lauren Brewster, Kelly Burrell, Carolyn Cooper, Meg Henican, Lauren Kelbley and Lindsay Peterson were named Volleyball Magazine’s fifth-rated recruiting class and Student Sports Magazine’s third-rated group.

“The Irish loaded up on tall, talented athletes,” Volleyball Magazine writes.

“In addition to two Fab 50s (#26 Meg Henican and #36 Lauren Brewster), 6-3 middle Carolyn Cooper, 5-11 setter Kelly Burrell, and 6-1 middle Lauren Kelbley are headed for South Bend.”

The ‘Fab 50,’ Volleyball Magazine’s rating of the top 50 recruits in the nation, is one of the premier rankings of incoming freshmen. The list is ranked first through 50 in order of the impact they are expected to make in college volleyball during the next four years. Former Irish stand outs Marilyn Cragin, Jaimie Lee and Mary Leffers, along with current players Kelly Corbett, Kim Fletcher, Kristen Kinder and Emily Loomis have been listed among the ‘Fab 50.’ Henican (ranked 26th) and Brewster (ranked 36th) represent the list for this year’s freshmen group.

Brown and her staff reached across the nation for their six incoming freshmen. Brewster is from Brentwood, Tenn., Burrell hails from Pheonix, Ariz., Cooper calls Houston, Texas, her hometown, Henican is from New Orleans, Kelbley is from Bascom, Ohio, and Peterson is from Mt. Carroll, Ill..

Debbie Brown coaching is in her 12th year as the mentor of the Irish volleyball program:

Debbie Brown has guided the program throughout the 90’s and into the new century, developing the Irish into a volleyball power in the BIG EAST and one of the best programs in the nation. Brown is 279-94 (.748) and has earned numerous coach-of-the-year accolades throughout her 11 years with the Irish, including the 2000 and 2001 BIG EAST Coach of the Year awards.

Notre Dame picked by league coaches to win its third-straight and seventh-overall BIG EAST Championship:

Notre Dame has been picked to win its third-straight league title this year, as voted by the conference head coaches. The Irish received 10 of 13 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Pittsburgh and Rutgers.

Two Irish players landed on the preseason all-BIG EAST squad. Junior setter Kristen Kinder, the 2001 BIG EAST Setter of the Year, and junior middle blocker Kim Fletcher made Notre Dame the only conference team represented by two players on the preseason all-BIG EAST team.

Pittsburgh’s Wendy Hatlestad was named the Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year.

The top four teams in the conference (which includes 13 teams with the addition of Miami) will qualify for the 2002 BIG EAST Championship in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 23-24.

Notre Dame has won the last two conference championships, including last season’s showcase in Pittsburgh (defeating Georgetown in five games). The Irish have won their last 27 matches against BIG EAST Conference teams and have posted 34 straight wins in regular-season league action. Notre Dame also is 43-0 at home against BIG EAST Conference opponents.


The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee has introduced another rule change that will have a large effect on how the game is played. After the introduction rally scoring in 2001, the 2002 season marks the beginning of the libero era in women’s collegiate volleyball.

A libero (designated back row player) will be allowed in the lineup for the 2002 season. A defensive specialist that does not count toward the team’s substitutions, the libero can freely replace any player that has rotated to the back row. Unlike traditional substitutions that are administered by the referee, the libero can enter the match any time there is a dead ball.

Since the libero is a defensive player, a certain restrictions have been established on the libero’s offensive capabilities. A libero only plays in the back row and cannot serve or attempt to block a shot. The libero cannot attack the ball above the net, nor can the libero set the ball with an overhead finger pass in the attack zone.

Once the libero comes out of the match, the player must wait at least one point before reentering.

Janie Alderete, Keara Coughlin and Christa Moen might all be seen wearing the libero jersey this season – a jersey that cannot match the color worn by the rest of the team.

Notre Dame vs. Loyola Marymount series notes:

The Irish and Lions will be meeting for the third time, with Notre Dame holding a 2-0 edge in the series … Notre dame and Loyola Marymount are meeting in the second match of the Loyola Marymount Volleyball Classic, which also features Saint Louis and Colorado … that Irish and Lions last met in 2000, a classic match in the Joyce Center … Notre Dame defeated the 22nd-ranked Lions in four games (15-9, 16-14, 15-17, 16-14) … former LMU player Sarah McFarland recorded 45 kills in that match (a Joyce Center record), while former Irish opposite Kristy Kreher posted a team record (for a four-game match) 32 kills … this is the first match in Gersten Pavilion for Notre Dame. Notre Dame vs. Colorado series notes: The Irish and Buffaloes will renew their spirited rivalry this season … the teams will be meeting for the seventh time, with the series tied at 3-3 … Colorado has been ranked in the top 25 for the last five meetings of the series … Notre Dame defeated the 15th-ranked Buffaloes at the Coors Invitational in 1994 and twice in two days in 1995 … Colorado has won the last two meetings, the most recent during the Shamrock Invitational in 1998.

Notre Dame vs. Saint Louis series notes:

The Irish will be looking to avenge their 2001 loss to the Billikens in the 11th meeting between the two teams … Notre Dame leads the all-time series 6-4, but Saint Louis knocked off the Irish in St. Louis last year … this is the second year in a row that Katie Neff and Kim Fletcher will get to face one of their hometown schools … Fletcher had six kills, five digs and seven blocks against the Billikens in 2001 … Colleen Hunter, who returns for Saint Louis, led her team to victory against the Irish last season with 26 kills and 14 digs.

Notre Dame faces tough schedule in 2002, including 15 of 28 regular-season matches on the road:

The young Irish squad faces a tough road this season, which includes matches against Colorado, two matches at #4 Hawaii and a home match with #14 Pepperdine. A key stretch of the schedule will be a six-match road trip from Oct. 5 through Oct. 22. That trip will take the Irish from two consecutive weekends on the east coast competing in BIG EAST Conference matches to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, taking on #4 Hawaii twice in two days.

Follow all Irish home matches via live statistics on the official athletic web site:

The University of Notre Dame official web site,, will provide live statistics for all Irish home volleyball matches this season.

The link,, will be available as soon as the matches start in the Joyce Center. Be advised, however, that the statistics displayed are not official until the game is over. The official boxscore from the match will be posted with the match recap on the volleyball home page.

The volleyball match game tracker will provide play-by-play, team statistical breakdowns and a running scoreboard – which is updated just seconds after each play concludes in real time.

Only home matches involving the Fighting Irish will be available on