Nov. 30, 2005
NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball ChampionshipNotre Dame, Indiana â€¢ Joyce Center- Real-Time Scoring (for all matches): www.und.com & www.ncaasports.comFirst Round -- Thursday, December 1Northwestern (19-11) vs. Texas A&M (16-13), 5:00 p.m.[No. 6 seed] #11 Notre Dame (28-3) vs. Dayton (24-10), 7:00 p.m.- Live Audio: www.und.comSecond Round -- Friday, December 2First-Round Winners, 7:00 p.m.- Live Audio: www.und.com (if ND is in match)
#11 IRISH TO PLAY HOST TO NCAA FIRST & SECOND ROUNDS: The 11th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s volleyball team (28-3), which earned an all-time high seeding of No. 6, will open play in the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship this weekend in the Joyce Center. Action will begin on Thursday at 5 p.m. (EST) with Northwestern (19-11) taking on Texas A&M (16-13). The Irish will then face Dayton (24-10) at 7 p.m., and the first-round winners will play on Friday at 7 p.m. (EST) for a trip to the round of 16 in College Station, Texas.
THE RADIO PLANS: Notre Dame’s official athletics website, und.com, features live internet audio broadcasts of an all-time high of at least 15 Irish volleyball matches this season. All contests involving the Irish this weekend will have live audio from Stephen Hinkel and Chris Masters, both former volleyball sports information directors and veterans of calling Notre Dame volleyball. The broadcasts are available to subscribers of Fighting Irish All-Access (details on und.com).
REAL-TIME STATS: Live in-game statistics will be made available free for all matches by www.ncaasports.com. They also will be linked on Notre Dame’s official athletics site, www.und.com.
Irish Items: Highlights of This Notes Package …
– Notre Dame is 28-3 with all three of its defeats coming in five games. The Irish are ranked 11th in the CSTV/AVCA poll, 10th in the RichKern.com poll, and eighth in the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI), which approximates the NCAA’s RPI.
– By winning the BIG EAST tournament for the ninth time in 11 years, Notre Dame secured the league’s automatic bid to the NCAAs. The Irish are in their 15th NCAA tournament and are one of just eight schools making their 14th consecutive trip to the event. ND’s No. 6 seed is an all-time high.
– ND’s best result in the NCAAs was a trip to the quarterfinals in 1993. The Irish have reached the round of 16 on five occasions (1988, `93, `94, `95, `97) and are 12-14 all-time (6-2 at home).
– The Joyce Center is an NCAA site for the seventh time (also in 1988, `93, `94, `95, `96, and 2002).
– The Irish began the year 7-0, upsetting #11 Texas (3-2), #8 USC (3-1), and #6 Florida (3-0), and then knocked off #6 Louisville (3-1) on Oct. 29 and #7 Louisville (3-2) on Nov. 20 in the BIG EAST final. It is the first time ND has ever beaten four top-10 teams in a season.
– ND was 13-1 in BIG EAST action and shared the regular-season title (its 10th in 11 seasons of league membership) with Louisville. The Irish then won a five-game match against the Cardinals to win the conference tournament (sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk was MVP).
– Debbie Brown was named the first five-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year (no other coach has won the award more than twice).
– ND became the first team ever to have five players on the all-BIG EAST teams. Seniors Lauren Brewster, Meg Henican, and Lauren Kelbley were first-team selections, while sophomores Adrianna Stasiuk and Ashley Tarutis gained second-team accolades.
– ND is one of just three teams to have 5+ wins over the current top 12 in the AVCA poll.
– Notre Dame is among the top five in Division I in blocking (5th, 3.59 per game) for the fifth consecutive season. Lauren Brewster (the ’03 NCAA blocking champ) is 12th individually at 1.59.
– Notre Dame boasts two players in the top eight in the BIG EAST in both blocks (Brewster, 2nd, 1.59 & Carolyn Cooper, 6th, 1.32) & digs (Henican, 4th, 4.84 & Stasiuk, 8th, 3.86). ND is the only team with two in the top 10 in points (Brewster, 4th, 5.01 & Kelbley, 8th, 4.48).
– Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis leads the BIG EAST in assists (12.74) and is 29th in Division I.
– ND’s offense — led by Tarutis, who is 48-11 as a starter (6-1 vs. top-15 teams) — has been much improved (16.46 K, .278 in 23 matches) following a lineup shift on Sept. 25 (which included switching Henican to libero and Stasiuk to OH). ND had 14.81 kills on .200 hitting in first eight.
– ND led the BIG EAST in assists (15.55) and digs (17.70; never higher than 6th before) in league play.
– ND is on pace to break the Irish record for opponent ace avg. (0.75, record-0.94 in `03). Henican has a .977 reception pct. (taking 50+% of serves). Danielle Herndon is at .973 & Stasiuk is at .968.
– Henican broke the ND career record for digs on Nov. 20 (has 1,692; record was 1,640).
– Brewster broke the ND career record for blocks on Nov. 25 (has 709; record was 699).
– Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Dayton (9-2) and Northwestern (7-2). Texas A&M leads the series with Notre Dame 4-3
The Irish in Brief …
SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame’s women’s volleyball program, now in its 26th varsity season, has experienced a wealth of success since the arrival of head coach Debbie Brown in 1991. Now in her 15th season, Brown has guided Notre Dame to a winning record every year (and 20+ wins in each year but one), compiling a 372-121 (.755) mark. The Irish have earned 14 consecutive berths to the NCAA Championship, including a `93 quarterfinal finish and three trips to the round of 16 (1994, `95, and `97). Since joining the BIG EAST Conference in `95, Notre Dame has dominated the league, winning 10 regular-season and nine tournament titles in 11 years. Overall, the Irish are 120-7 (.945) in regular-season BIG EAST play and 22-2 (.917) in conference tournament action. Notre Dame is 67-1 (.985) in BIG EAST regular-season matches in the Joyce Center. The 2005 Irish team returned nine of its top 10 players from last year’s squad that was 21-9, won both the regular-season and tournament titles in the BIG EAST and reached the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. The Irish also were among the top five blocking teams in Division I for the fourth straight year (4th, 3.37 after being 1st in `03), and they returned eight of their top nine blockers from that group. This year’s squad is one of the most-veteran groups in program history, featuring five seniors. Plus, all nine returnees had been a starter at some point in the past. The veteran leadership has allowed this squad to regularly prevail in tight games against top competition. Other strengths of the `05 team are its blocking (fifth nationally at 3.59 per game), floor defense (lead BIG EAST at 17.68 digs per game), receiving (0.75 aces allowed per game; on pace to break ND record), and serving (1.54 aces per game; 2nd-best ace-to-error ratio in ND history).
Up front, Notre Dame is led by a potent pair of senior fourth-year starters named Lauren: MB Lauren Brewster and OH/MB Lauren Kelbley (KELL-blee). Brewster, the 2003 NCAA blocking champ, became the second All-American in program history in 2004, earning third-team accolades from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). A three-time first team all-BIG EAST pick and the `04 MVP of the league tournament, she has led the conference in blocking in each of the last three years and ranks second in Irish history in career hitting percentage (.317) and block average (1.65), as well as fifth in kills (1,442). Brewster was the MVP of both of the first two tournaments on the ’05 Irish schedule (the Shamrock Invitational and UTSA Dome Rally) and has been the BIG EAST Player of the Week twice (bringing her career total to a program-best eight), as well as the Collegiate Volleyball Update’s National Player of the Week on Sept. 5. She ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in kills, hitting percentage, blocks, and points, and has broken the ND record for career block assists (currently 590; record was 516) and total blocks (currently 709; record was 699). Kelbley is the only Division I hitter to have been an all-region selection by the AVCA in each of the last three years. She was honorable mention All-America in both 2003 and ’04 and is just the third player from any school ever to be an all-BIG EAST pick four times (first team in 2003 and ’05). Kelbley began her collegiate career at middle blocker before moving to outside hitter late in 2003 and then leading Notre Dame in kills from that position a year ago. She has had 10+ kills in 87 matches, one shy of the Irish career record. This season she has been Notre Dame’s most prolific server, notching 41 aces and making just 40 errors.
Senior co-captain OH/L Meg Henican (HENN-ih-kin) is back for her third year in the starting lineup and is one of the top liberos in the country, as well as the top defensive player ever to compete for the Irish. A first-team all-BIG EAST selection, she holds every major Notre Dame season and career digging record. Henican broke the career mark for total digs in the BIG EAST final at #6 Louisville and has 537 digs this season, which puts her only 16 away from her own record in that category (553 in 2004). She also set Irish records for season dig average (4.94) and digs in any-length match (37 in four games vs. Seton Hall on 10/10/04) last season. Henican — who had a season-high 32 digs against Tennessee to become the first Irish player since 1992 to register 30+ digs in the Joyce Center — has had 20+ digs in a match on 26 occasions during her career and 10 or more in each of the last 26 (the second-longest streak in Irish history, behind her own string of 32 that was ended in September). She is also the team’s top passer, having taken 50+% of opposing serves and recording a .977 reception percentage. She had a streak of 238 receptions in a row without an error from Sept. 25-Oct. 15.
Two other Irish hitters — senior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper and sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (stuh-SHEWK) — are back for their second seasons as starters. The veteran stepped into the lineup at middle blocker a month into the `04 campaign and has seen Notre Dame post a 43-5 record with her as a starter through her career. This year, she ranks in the BIG EAST leaders in both blocking (6th, 1.32 per game) and hitting percentage (10th, .299). Stasiuk started every match in her rookie season at opposite and led the team in service aces (41), becoming just the second ND freshman to hit the 40-ace mark. She missed the first three matches of this season due to injury and has returned to play be a starter at outside hitter after posting a career-high 29 digs at libero vs. #8 USC. She was the league’s Player of the Week and the CVU.com National Player of the Week on Oct. 24 and then was tabbed the Most Outstanding Player in the BIG EAST tournament. She has 11 double-doubles on the season, including a string of four straight from Oct. 2-9 and a current streak of three in a row. Stasiuk joins Henican as the core of the serve-receiving unit that is on pace to break the Irish record for opponent ace average in a season. That duo also has broken the Irish record for combined digs by teammates in each of the last two campaigns.
The graduation of four-year starter Emily Loomis — who played all across the front row and finished her career fifth in kills (1,321) — opened up one starting spot in the lineup, which has been filled mostly by sophomore Ellen Heintzman (HIGHNTZ-min). She has started 17 matches there and exploded for a career-high 22 kills against Tennessee in the regular-season finale. Freshman OH Mallorie Croal (krole), a Volleyball magazine Fab 50 selection, also has seen time as a regular, starting 11 matches at outside hitter earlier this season. She was the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Sept. 5 and also played a key role in the final of the BIG EAST tournament, with 15 kills on .310 hitting off the bench.
Back in the starting setting role again this season is sophomore Ashley Tarutis (tuh-ROO-diss), who took over as the team’s top setter in the third match of 2004. She has a career record of 48-11 as a starter, including 6-1 against top-15 teams, and leads the BIG EAST in assists (12.74), ranking 29th nationally. She has 1,414 assists this season, which stands as the third-highest single-season mark in program history. Senior Kelly Burrell (burr-ELLE) is the backup setter, as she has been throughout her career, and also contributes as a back-row substitute.
Junior DS/L Danielle Herndon has played in every game this season, mostly at defensive specialist. She has been a regular throughout her career in that role. Freshman MB/OPP Justine Stremick has seen sporadic time for brief spurts to improve Notre Dame’s block, while fellow rookie DS/S Madison Clark has been a back-row sub and DS Annie Mokris also has seen some time in that role.
HEAD COACH Debbie Brown: Irish head coach Debbie Brown is in her 15th season at the helm of the Notre Dame program. She has led the Irish to a 372-121 (.755) mark, while holding a 489-204 (.706) overall record. Brown’s Notre Dame teams have earned 14 consecutive NCAA tournament berths, advancing to the quarterfinals in 1993 and the round of 16 in `94, `95, and `97. Her squads have won 20 or more matches 14 times. A nine-time conference coach of the year and the only five-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year (in addition to four honors in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference and one in the Pac-10), she has coached eight Irish players to All-America honors, while 40 have gained all-BIG EAST mention since 1995. The Irish also have claimed 14 regular-season conference titles (4 Midwestern Collegiate, 10 BIG EAST) and 13 league tournament crowns (4 MCC, 9 BIG EAST). A co-captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic volleyball team after winning a pair of national championships and earning All-America honors twice while playing at USC, Brown graduated from Arizona State in 1982 and coached her alma mater from 1983-88, helping the Sun Devils to five NCAA tournaments.
ND UP TO #7 IN CSTV/AVCA POLL: After beating Rice and losing to Tennessee (listed 27th last week), Notre Dame dropped four spots to 11th in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, released on Monday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. It is the lowest ranking for Notre Dame since it was 19th on Sept. 5, but is the highest listing heading into the NCAA tournament ever for the Irish (previous best was 12th in 1994). On Oct. 31, ND became the first team ever to enter the top five (program-best ranking of fifth) in the AVCA poll after being unranked to begin the year. This is just the third time in 13 polls this season that Notre Dame is not among the top 10. Since being ranked for the first time in the preseason of 1992, the Irish have been listed in the AVCA top 25 at some point in every season except for one (1999). In all, Notre Dame has been ranked in 133 of the 212 polls since then (62%). Only 20 schools have been ranked on more occasions than the Irish since the AVCA rankings debuted in 1982, and just 16 have been in more polls since the commencement of the 1992 campaign. Five of Notre Dame’s 2005 opponents – #4 Florida, #7 Texas, #9 Louisville, #12 Southern California, and #23 Tennessee – are also in the top 25. The Irish and Cardinals have made this season the first time ever that two BIG EAST Conference teams were listed simultaneously in the AVCA poll. The Irish are 10th in the RichKern.com poll and fell two spots to eighth in the the Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI), which approximates the NCAA’s RPI.
BROWN BECOMES FIRST FIVE-TIME BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR: Notre Dame’s Debbie Brown became the first five-time BIG EAST Women’s Volleyball Coach of the Year when the annual conference awards were announced on Nov. 17. She also won the honor in 1995, 2000, ’01, and ’03 and has been a conference coach-of-the-year on 10 occasions in her career, including in the Pac-10 (1986) and four times in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (1991-94). Since the BIG EAST’s award debuted in 1991, only two other coaches have won it multiple times (Connecticut’s Ellen Crandall in 1993 and ’94; Syracuse’s Jing Pu in 1996 and 2004), and no one else has won more than a pair of them.
ND MAKES HISTORY WITH FIVE ALL-BIG EAST SELECTIONS: Notre Dame became the first school ever to have five players named to the all-BIG EAST teams, as seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.), L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), and OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) were first-team selections, and sophomores OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) and S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) gained spots on the second team. No other school had more than three players on the all-BIG EAST teams. Brewster, Kelbley, and Henican are the first trio of Notre Dame classmates ever to be on the all-BIG EAST first team in the same season. It was the fifth time in 11 years of league membership that the Irish had three players on the first team. Kelbley (first team in 2003 and ’05; second team in 2002 and ’04) became just the third player from any school ever to be tabbed to one of the all-BIG EAST teams in each of her four seasons, joining Pittsburgh’s Jennie Driscoll (1993-96) and Villanova’s Stacy Evans (1994-97). Brewster, a unanimous pick for the second straight year, is just the sixth player from any school – and first since 1997 – to be named to the all-BIG EAST first team on three occasions (also in 2003 and ’04). The others were Ann Marie Lucanie from Pittsburgh (1991-93), Seton Hall’s Perrette Arrington (1992-94), Pitt’s Jennie Driscoll (1994-96), Villanova’s Stacy Evans (1994-95, ’97), and Notre Dame’s Jaimie Lee (1995-97). Henican joined Pittsburgh’s Megan McGrane in becoming the first liberos ever to be named to the all-BIG EAST team.
BREWSTER NAMED TO ESPN THE MAGAZINE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT FIRST TEAM; STASIUK ON SECOND TEAM: Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was one of six players named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 5 First Team, it was announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She will now move on to the Academic All-America ballot, which will include just nine players from teams currently in the AVCA top 25. Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) was a second-team honoree, making the Irish the only squad with both a first- and second-team selection in District 5. Brewster carries a 3.37 cumulative grade-point average as a marketing and sociology double major, while Stasiuk has a team-high 3.61 GPA as a business major with a minor in mathematics. The duo became Notre Dame volleyball’s first CoSIDA academic all-district honorees since Lindsay Treadwell in 1998. Brewster was joined on the first team by the Ball State duo of Sarah Obras and Stephanie Bacon, plus Bradley’s Gillian Falknor, Liz Mikos from Valparaiso, and Megan Kennedy of Eastern Illinois. That group – along with the first-team honorees from each of the other seven districts – will be featured on the 48-player ballot for Academic America, which will be announced on Nov. 30. Brewster is aiming to be the third CoSIDA Academic All-American in program history. Jessica Fiebelkorn was as second-team selection in 1992 and Jaimie Lee earned second-team accolades in ’97.
STREAKS: The following streaks are active heading into this week:
– ND has won 10 consecutive matches when splitting the first two games [last loss: 11/16/04 vs. Northern Iowa, 2-3]
– ND has won 20 consecutive matches when finishing with more digs than its opponent [last loss: 11/16/04 vs. Northern Iowa, 2-3, 83-81 digs]
– ND has won 19 consecutive matches lasting three games [last loss: 12/4/04 at Wisconsin, NCAA second round]
– ND has won 10 consecutive matches lasting four games [last loss: 9/28/04 at Michigan]
– ND has won six consecutive matches against nationally-ranked teams [last loss: 9/4/04 vs. #2 Nebraska, 2-3]
– ND has had at least one service ace in 201 consecutive matches [last without: 10/9/99 at Rutgers]
– Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican has had 10+ digs in 26 consecutive matches [second-longest streak in ND history behind her own string of 32; last without: 9/10 vs. Oklahoma, 8 digs]
– Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk has had double-doubles in three consecutive matches [last without: 11/9 vs. Cincinnati in BIG EAST semis @ Louisville; 7 kills, 10 digs]
– Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk has had 10+ digs in nine consecutive matches [last without: 11/2 vs. Saint Louis, 5 digs]
– Senior MB Lauren Brewster has had 10+ points in 58 consecutive matches [last without: 9/3/04 vs. #2 Nebraska, 9.5 pts.]
– Senior OH Lauren Kelbley has had 10+ points in 16 consecutive matches [last without: 10/9 at Connecticut, 9.5 pts.]
– Senior MB Lauren Brewster has had five or more blocks in five consecutive matches [last without: 11/13 vs. Rutgers, 2 blocks]
– Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican has played in each of the last 350 Irish games, the longest streak in school history [last game missed: 11/15/02 at Miami]
– Senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster has played in all 123 matches since stepping onto campus
– Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis has led Notre Dame in assists in all 61 matches as a collegian
Notes On This Week’s Matches …
BRIEF HISTORY OF ND IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame qualified for its first NCAA Championship appearance in 1988, defeating #20 Penn State in the Joyce Center before falling to #4 Illinois in Urbana, Ill. … this is the 14th straight season the Irish have appeared in the NCAA tournament (1992 – 2005) … the best NCAA Championship results for Notre Dame were a 1993 quarterfinals appearance and reaching the round of 16 in `88, `94, `95, and `97 … Notre Dame is 12-14 (.462) in NCAA tournament action … 11 of the Irish NCAA losses have come to current Big Ten schools, including three of the last four and five of the last seven … Notre Dame is 2-10 against the current Big Ten members in the NCAAs, including seven consecutive losses, dating back to 1993 … last season, Notre Dame defeated Valparaiso 3-1 in the opening round and then lost 3-0 to host and 14th-seeded Wisconsin.
IRISH EARN HIGHEST-EVER NCAA SEEDING: Notre Dame was tabbed the No. 6 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, behind only Nebraska (No. 1), Penn State (No. 2), Washington (No. 3), Arizona (No. 4), and defending NCAA champ Stanford (No. 5). The Irish earned one of the top 16 seeds in the NCAA Championship for the fifth time overall and the second time in four seasons. Notre Dame’s previous high seeding came in 1994, when it was the No. 3 seed in the Mideast Region, which would be the equivalent of being a Nos. 9-12 seed under the current seeding format. The Irish also earned top-16 seeds in 1993, ’95, and 2002. ND reached the quarterfinals in 1993, the round of 16 in both `94 and `95 and the round of 32 in `02.
JOYCE CENTER TO PLAY HOST TO NCAAs FOR SEVENTH TIME: The Joyce Center will play host to NCAA tournament action for the seventh time, having also done so in 1988, ’93, ’94, ’95, ’96, and 2002. The Irish are 6-2 in home action in the NCAA tournament. Most recently, Notre Dame beat the College of Charleston in the opening round in `02 and then lost to Michigan State.
IRISH IN ELITE GROUP WITH 14 STRAIGHT NCAA TRIPS: Notre Dame is one of eight schools to have been invited to each of the last 14 NCAA tournaments, along with Stanford (25 in a row), Penn State (25), UC Santa Barbara (25), Nebraska (24), Long Beach State (19), USC (15), and Florida (15). The 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances is the second-longest current streak of any Notre Dame sport, behind fencing. Overall, the Irish have earned 15 NCAA volleyball berths, reaching the quarterfinals in 1993 and the round of 16 in `94, `95, and `97.
ND LOOKS FOR 11TH TRIP TO ROUND OF 32 IN 14 YEARS: Since the current streak of NCAA appearances began in 1992, Notre Dame has been among the final 32 in the national championship in 10 of 13 seasons. The only years the Irish failed to be in that elite group were 1999, 2001, and `03.
ND & U of L CONTINUE TO MAKE BIG EAST HISTORY: Notre Dame (No. 6) and Louisville (No. 9) made the BIG EAST Conference one of only two leagues to have more than one of the top nine seeds, along with the Pac-10. It marks the seventh time in the last nine seasons that the BIG EAST has placed multiple squads in the NCAAs. The No. 6 seed for the Irish is the highest ever garnered by a BIG EAST team, and never before have two conference squads earned national top-16 seeds in the NCAAs.
NOTRE DAME GOES 7-2 AGAINST NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS IN 2005: A total of eight 2005 Irish opponents are in the field of 64 teams in the NCAA Championship, with four of them garnering top-16 seeds. Florida (SEC), the No. 8 seed, Loyola Chicago (Horizon League), and Valparaiso (Mid-Continent) gained gained automatic bids from winning their conference championships, while Louisville (No. 9 seed), USC (No. 12), Tennessee (No. 15), Louisiana State, and Texas earned at-large berths. The Irish went 7-2 against those teams, losing only to Tennessee and LSU, both in five games.
CONNECTIONS: Notre Dame head coach Debbie (Landreth) Brown and Texas A&M head coach Laurie (Flachmeier) Corbelli played on the U.S national team together … Debbie and her husband Dennis are the Godparents for Laurie and John’s son, Russell … Dayton has three Hoosiers on its roster: junior OH Shayla Warren (Fort Wayne) and freshmen MB Bethany Akerhielm (Carmel, Carmel H.S.) and RS/OH Kortney Norris (Indianapolis, Bishop Chatard) … Northwestern has one Indiana native: freshman DS Anne Bitzegaio (New Albany, New Albany H.S.) … Irish sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk and Dayton’s MB Gina Heiderman were classmates at Maine South High School, leading it to a third-place finish in the Illinois state tournament in 2003 … Notre Dame senior MB Lauren Brewster and Northwestern junior S/DS Lauren Greenwood played together at Brentwood High School in Tennessee.
ND-UD SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and the Flyers – formerly rivals in both the North Star (from 1983-87) and Midwestern Collegiate (1990-92) Conferences – will play for the 12th time overall, but the first since 1992 … the Irish lead the series 9-2, including three straight victories and a 3-0 mark at home (having won all nine games) … ND has won all three matches under current head coach Debbie Brown … the teams have played three previous times in the postseason, with Notre Dame prevailing in the North Star tournament in 1986 and ’87 and in the MCC Championship in ’92 … that was the most-recent meeting, which 20th-ranked Notre Dame won 15-8, 15-1, 16-14 in Pittsburgh … UD’s last trip to the Joyce Center came in 1991, when the Irish prevailed 15-5, 15-9, 15-4 … Dayton’s last victory was a 15-13, 15-3, 15-6 decision at home in 1990 … the Flyers also won the first-ever meeting between the schools, 15-8, 12-15, 11-15, 15-11, 15-12 in 1983, the only five-game affair in the series … Notre Dame leads 29-7 in games won … the Irish hold a 32-10 all-time record against current members of the Atlantic 10, including a three-game victory against Saint Louis this season … Brown boasts an 18-1 mark vs. the A-10, including a 16-1 record while at ND (only loss came against Saint Louis in 2001) and 3-0 during the careers of the current Notre Dame seniors … Irish senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Hopewell-Loudon High School, Black Swamp VBC) is the fourth Ohio native to play volleyball for the Irish.
ND-DAYTON MATCH-BY-MATCH: See pdf for the match scores of all 11 previous contests between the Irish and Flyers. ND leads 9-2, including 3-0 in the Joyce Center and 3-0 under head coach Debbie Brown.
ND-NU SERIES NOTES: The Irish and Wildcats have played 11 times, with Notre Dame leading the series 7-4, including three consecutive wins … ND won the most-recent meeting, a 30-28, 30-26, 30-21 decision in the 2002 Golden Dome Classic in the Joyce Center … Northwestern’s last victory over the Irish came in 1990 in the Joyce Center by scores of 16-14, 15-10, 15-6 … ND is 5-1 at home in the series, as well as 3-0 under current head coach Debbie Brown … the 18th-ranked Wildcats won 15-0, 15-7, 15-3 in Evanston, Ill., in the first-ever meeting between the schools, in 1985 … Northwestern has prevailed in two of the three five-game matches, winning in 1987 and `89 … the first 3-2 decision was a 9-15, 15-11, 15-10, 13-15, 15-6 Irish victory in the Joyce Center in 1986, which marked Notre Dame’s first-ever win over the Wildcats … Notre Dame leads 25-17 in games won … Brown holds a 30-23 career record against current members of the Big Ten Conference, including 25-22 at Notre Dame … the Irish are 6-4 against the Big Ten during the careers of the current seniors, including 0-2 in the NCAAs, as well as a three-game victory against Michigan in the 2005 season opener … sophomore Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Maine South High School, Sports Performance VBC) is the latest Chicago-area product to play volleyball for the Irish, with OH/MB Megan Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey H.S./Sports Performance VBC) set to join the team next year … Fesl will be the 19th Illinois native to play volleyball at Notre Dame, making it tied with Indiana as the second-most-common home state in program history (California – 24 players) … Northwestern ended the seasons for two of Notre Dame’s teams last spring, defeating the Irish women’s tennis team in the second round of the NCAA tournament and the ND softball team in the title game of an NCAA regional.
ND-NORTHWESTERN MATCH-BY-MATCH: See pdf for the match scores of all 11 previous contests between the Irish and Wildcats. ND leads 7-4, including 6-1 in the Joyce Center and 3-0 in the Debbie Brown era.
ND-TAMU SERIES NOTES: ND and the Aggies have played seven times previously, and Texas A&M leads the series 4-3 … the 16th-ranked Aggies won 17-15, 15-9, 15-10 over #25 ND in the most-recent meeting, in 1997 in the Tour of Champions in the Joyce Center … ND’s last win over A&M came in 1994 in College Station, where the Irish are 2-0 (having also won in 1987) … the Aggies only previously visit to the Joyce Center came in 1997, when they also beat California 3-0 to win the Tour of Champions, meaning they are unbeaten in six games in the facility … TAMU also won in 1989 and has won all six games at ND … the Aggies won the first meeting 15-12, 7-15, 15-9, 15-12 in the 1983 Wildcat Invitational in Lexington, Ky. … Texas A&M is coached by Laurie (Flachmeier) Corbelli, who was a teammate of Irish head coach Debbie (Landreth) Brown on the U.S. national team … Brown and her husband Dennis are the Godparents for Laurie and John Corbelli’s son Russell … Texas A&M leads 14-10 in games won … Brown holds a 19-14 career record against current members of the Big 12 Conference … ND is 3-3 vs. the Big 12 during the careers of the current seniors, including victories against Texas (3-2) and Oklahoma (3-0) this season … nine Texas natives (fourth-most among states) have played volleyball for the Irish, including current senior Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Lutheran South Academy, Houston Juniors).
ND-TAMU MATCH-BY-MATCH: See pdf for the match scores of all seven previous contests between the Irish and Aggies. Texas A&M leads 4-3, including 2-0 in the Joyce Center, but the Irish are 2-1 during the Debbie Brown era.
Notre Dame Team Notes …
BIG EAST CHAMPS … AGAIN: Notre Dame won a share of the BIG EAST Conference regular-season title — its 10th in 11 years — by posting a 13-1 record in league play, a mark matched by Louisville. Both schools broke the conference record for wins in BIG EAST play in a season, which was held by the 2001 Irish team that went 12-0 in BIG EAST action. Since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995, the Irish have failed to win at least a share of the regular-season championship on only one occasion: 1998. ND has won eight outright titles and a pair of co-championships (also 2003 with Pittsburgh). Since ’95, no other school has managed to capture more than just a portion of a single BIG EAST regular-season title. Georgetown and Connecticut shared the ’98 crown, while Pittsburgh and Louisville also have earned co-championships.
BIG EAST CHAMPS … AGAIN, PART II: Notre Dame beat Villanova, Cincinnati, and Louisville en route to claiming the title in the BIG EAST Championship. The Irish have reached the title match of the tournament in all 11 seasons since joining the conference, winning nine championships. The only defeats came to Georgetown in 1999 and Pittsburgh in 2003.
THOSE WINNING WAYS: Notre Dame’s 28 victories this season are the most by an Irish team since 1994, when ND finished 33-4. This is the fifth time in the 26-year history of the program that the Irish have had 28 or more victories in a season. Notre Dame has entered the NCAA tournament with 28 or more victories on just two previous occasions: 1992 (30-7) and `94 (32-3).
HIGHEST-RANKED ND SQUAD EVER IN NCAAs: Notre Dame is ranked 11th in this week’s CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25. It is the highest ranking ever for an Irish team entering the NCAA tournament. The previous high was 12th in 1994.
IRISH BOAST FIVE WINS OVER TOP-12 TEAMS: Notre Dame has a 5-0 record against the teams currently ranked among the top 12 in the CSTV/AVCA poll. See pdf for the list of teams with the most victories over those squads this season:
IRISH A TOP-10 STAPLE: Notre Dame has appeared in the top 10 of the CSTV/AVCA poll on 10 occasions (in 13 polls) this season after having done that just eight times combined over the first 25 years of the program’s existence. Before this season, the Irish had been in the top 10 during much of the 1995 season and briefly early in ’96.
TOUGH TO KNOCK OUT: Notre Dame has been strong when facing game point this season, winning 29 points and losing 21 (58%) when the opposition is on the verge of winning the game. The Irish are 7-3 when facing match point (saved four vs. LSU, two vs. Pittsburgh, one vs. Tennessee). On three occasions this year, ND has been down game point, but then won the game (game two vs. Texas & USC, game one vs. Valparaiso). Plus, the Irish saved five game points in the first game at St. John’s before losing 30-28.
IRISH 8-2 IN TWO-POINT GAMES vs. RANKED TEAMS: Though Notre Dame is just 10-12 overall this season in games decided by two points, the Irish have been outstanding in those situations when facing nationally-ranked teams. ND is 8-2 in two-point games against ranked squads, having gone 1-1 vs. #11 Texas, 1-0 vs. #8 USC, 3-0 vs. #6 Florida, 2-0 vs. #6 Louisville, and 1-1 vs. #7 Louisville in the BIG EAST final.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES: Perhaps the most notable characteristic of this year’s Irish team has been an ability to win close games. On the season, Notre Dame is 31-15 (.674) in games decided by four points or fewer (8-0 in the UTSA Dome Rally), including winning all three games against #6 Florida by exactly two points and winning three games over #6 Louisville by a combined seven points.
BLOCK PARTY: The Irish are once again one of the top blocking teams in the nation, coming into the weekend ranked fifth nationally, at 3.59 per game. Notre Dame, which has led the BIG EAST Conference in each of the last four years and has been among the top five blocking teams in the NCAA in all of those seasons, returned eight of its top nine blockers from last year’s squad that averaged 3.37 per game, good enough for fourth nationally. After being fifth in 2001 (3.53) and second in ’02 (3.66), the Irish led Division I in team blocking in 2003 (3.72). Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) has led the conference in blocking in both overall and league action in each of the last three collegiate seasons. After setting Notre Dame freshman records in both total blocks (175) and block average (1.68) and coming in fourth nationally in 2002, she was the NCAA blocking champ in 2003 (1.78) and finished 21st last season (1.54). Brewster and fellow senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) rank second and sixth, respectively, in this week’s conference leaders at 1.59 and 1.32 blocks per game. Brewster, who last week broke the Irish career blocks record, is 12th nationally this season.
SENIOR CITIZENS: Notre Dame has five seniors on its roster in 2005: MB Lauren Brewster, S Kelly Burrell, MB Carolyn Cooper, L/OH Meg Henican, and OH/MB Lauren Kelbley. The last Irish volleyball team to feature five seniors was the 2000 squad, which boasted S Denise Boylan, OH Christi Girton, S/DS Michelle Graham, MB/OPP Jo Jameyson, and OH Adrienne Shimmel. That team went 26-7 and finished ranked 21st after losing in five games at Ohio State in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament. This is just the third time in the 26-year history of the varsity program that a team has featured five or more seniors. The other squad was the `92 one, which had DS Andrea Armento, OH Marilyn Cragin, MB Jessica Fiebelkorn, MB Cynthia May, MB Majenica Rupe, OH Jen Slosar, and OH Alicia Turner. That team went 30-8 and finished 22nd, falling in the round of 32 of the NCAAs.
THE IRISH EXPERIENCE: Notre Dame has one of its most-experienced teams in 2005, as the Irish returned nine of their top 10 players (in terms of games played) from last year’s squad. All nine of Notre Dame’s returnees had been starters in the past, heading into the year having combined for 284 career starts (31.6 per person). A pair of fourth-year starters – seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and OH/MB Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) – lead the Irish veterans, along with third-year starter L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), as well as three other returning starters: senior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) and sophomores S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) and OPP Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.). Heading into this season, Notre Dame’s roster had players who had combined to play in 1,790 career games. See pdf for Irish teams with the most combined career games played heading into the season:
LINEUP SWITCH LEADS TO OFFENSIVE FIREWORKS: After eight matches, Notre Dame’s offense was averaging just 14.81 kills per game (10th out of 15 in the BIG EAST) on a .200 attack percentage (10th), plus 13.52 assists per game (8th). Head coach Debbie Brown responded by shifting her lineup, using mostly the same players, but altering rotations, sliding senior co-captain Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) into the libero and moving sophomore Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) from there to outside hitter, and using junior DS/L Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) and senior S Kelly Burrell (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep School) as back-row substitutes. The alterations have resulted in a much-improved Irish attack, as sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) has Notre Dame averaging 16.46 kills and 15.12 assists on .278 hitting over the last 23 matches.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Notre Dame’s serve-receiving corps has allowed just 783 aces in 111 games this season, an average of 0.75 per game (the Irish record is 0.94 in 2003). ND has not allowed an ace in 57 games (52%), and the Irish held Syracuse — which led the BIG EAST in the category at the time — without an ace in a 3-0 win on Sept. 30. The Irish are led by senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.), who has taken 50+% of the opposing serves this season and has made just 28 errors for a 97.7% reception percentage or one error every 3.96 games. That included a streak of 238 receptions in a row without an error from Sept. 25-Oct. 15. Sophomore OH/L Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) is next, having taken 31% of the serves with a 96.8% success ratio, while junior DS Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) is at 97.3%. The Irish are coming off the two best serve-receiving seasons in program history, having surrendered a program-record 0.94 aces per game in 2003 before allowing 0.96 last year. Henican was a big part of both of those marks, while Stasiuk also was a key in last year’s serve receiving.
DYNAMITE DIGGING: Notre Dame has put up some outstanding dig numbers this season, averaging a BIG EAST best 17.68 per game. The Irish have posted a higher season dig average just once in program history (18.23 in 1992). Leading the way are two players that rank among the top eight in the BIG EAST, senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) and sophomore OH/L Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.). Henican — who broke the Irish individual record for digs in a season last year and the career mark in the BIG EAST tournament — is fourth with an average of 4.84 per game, while Stasiuk ranks eighth at 3.86. Sophomore S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) is averaging 2.53 per game, while junior DS/L Danielle Herndon (Plant City, Fla./Durant H.S.) is at 2.39 per game.
SERVE IT UP: Notre Dame has been a prolific squad at the service line this season, as the Irish have 171 aces (1.54) and just 225 service errors (2.03). The ace-to-error ratio of 0.760 would rank as the second-best output in program history, behind only the 1996 squad (1.030). The Irish have had more aces than errors in 12 matches after doing that just five times in 2004. Leading Notre Dame is senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.), who is 10th in the BIG EAST in aces (41, 0.37). Senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) and sophomore S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) both have 29 aces for averages of 0.26 per game. All of those three have more aces than errors this season (something no Irish player has done in a season since Janie Alderete in 2000), as Cooper leads the way with just 20 errors for a 1.45 ratio, while Tarutis is at 1.07, and Kelbley is at 1.03.
IRISH STRONG IN BIG EAST CONFERENCE-ONLY STATS: With the completion of BIG EAST play for the 2005 season, Notre Dame earned a pair of conference statistical titles and was the only school to end up among the top three in the league in every team statistical category (a first in program history). The Irish finished first in the BIG EAST in both assists and digs. Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) led ND to an average of 15.55 assists per game, while St. John’s came in next at 15.51. It is the third time the Irish have led the BIG EAST in assists in league play, having also done so in 2000 (with starting setter Denise Boylan) and ’01 (Kristen Kinder). ND has been among the top three in the category in nine of 11 seasons. Tarutis just missed her first BIG EAST individual statistical title, finishing second in assists (13.17) to Cincinnati’s Noel Olson (13.35).
The digs title was much more notable, as Notre Dame had never before finished better than sixth in the BIG EAST in dig average in conference matches. The Irish held that spot in each of the last two seasons, but averaged 17.70 in league play this year to easily out-distance runner-up West Virginia (16.76). The Irish were the only team to have a pair of players among the individual leaders in digs, as senior co-captain and libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) ended third (5.04) and sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) was eighth (3.70) and the only non-libero among the top 10 in the conference in digs.
Notre Dame finished second to Louisville in four statistical categories: hitting percentage (.289, Louisville – .338), opponent hitting percentage (.145, .142), kills (16.79, 16.84), and blocks (3.26, 3.83). The Irish were third in the only other category, service aces (1.66), behind Villanova (1.69) and Louisville (1.68).
In conference play, senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) averaged 4.02 kills per game (7th in league leaders) on .396 hitting (3rd) to go with 1.43 blocks (5th) for 5.03 points (4th). She joined Louisville senior OH Lena Ustymenko as the only players to be listed among the BIG EAST leaders in four categories. Senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) averaged 3.53 kills on .308 hitting in league play and was tied for eighth in service aces per game at 0.36. Senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) finished ninth in blocking (1.23), while Stasiuk averaged 3.28 kills and 3.70 digs per game to go with 0.94 blocks. In addition to her prolific digging, Henican made just 10 reception errors in 512 attempts (taking 52% of opposing serves) in BIG EAST play for a .980 reception percentage.
ND SNAPS LOUISVILLE’S 20-MATCH WINNING STREAK, HANDS CARDS ITS ONLY TWO DEFEATS OF SEASON: Notre Dame won 30-28, 30-28, 27-30, 30-27 on Oct. 29 against Louisville in the Joyce Center after the Cardinals had begun the year with a 20-0 record. It marked the second straight year the Irish ended a long streak as 14th-ranked Utah had won 12 straight before getting swept by ND at home last October. ND also beat the Cards in the final of the BIG EAST tournament, handing U of L its only two defeats of the season.
ND WINS 15 STRAIGHT FOR SECOND-LONGEST STREAK IN PROGRAM HISTORY: The Irish won 15 consecutive matches from Sept. 25-Nov. 5, which is the second-longest winning streak in the 26-year history of the program and the longest during the 15-year tenure of current head coach Debbie Brown. The only longer perfect string was a 17-match winning streak from Oct. 24-Nov. 21, 1986. Many of the current Irish players also helped craft the third-longest streak in Irish history, a 14-match string from Sept. 17-Nov. 9, 2003.
IRISH HIT .522 AT DePAUL, INCLUDING .812 IN FINAL GAME: On Oct. 15, Notre Dame — led by sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) — posted its highest hitting percentage in a match in 20 years and its second-best all-time, finishing with 53 kills and six errors on 90 attempts for a .522 mark in a three-game win at DePaul. The only better hitting match in the 26-year history of the program came on Oct. 3, 1986, against Marquette, when ND hit .539. In game three, which ND won 30-10, the Irish had 14 kills and just one error on 16 swings (DePaul dug just one ball) for an .812 hitting mark. It is the highest in the 15-year Debbie Brown era (previous records inconclusive). The prior high was .750 (9-0-12) in game one against DePaul on Sept. 26, 1995.
THE BIG EAST’S DYNAMIC DUO: Louisville and Notre Dame — the regular-season co-champions of the BIG EAST Conference — have combined to make league history. On Sept. 5, the Irish moved into the AVCA poll at 19th, joining the 11th-ranked Cardinals to mark the first time ever that two BIG EAST schools were nationally-ranked in volleyball at the same time. The following week, the teams took it one step further, as Notre Dame rose to eighth in the AVCA rankings and Louisville was right behind at ninth. It was the first time that the BIG EAST has had two of the top 10 volleyball teams in the country.
GIANT KILLERS: The five-member class of 2006 is just the second group in Notre Dame history to have upset at least one top-15 team in each of its four seasons playing for the Irish. The current seniors topped #10 Pepperdine in 2002, #10 Arizona in `03, #14 Utah a year ago, and #11 Texas, #8 USC, #6 Florida, #6 Louisville, and #7 Louisville this season. The only other class to do that was the duo of OH Brett Hensel and S Shannon Tuttle, which graduated in 1996 after being part of teams that beat #13 New Mexico in 1992, #9 Illinois, #3 Nebraska, and #8 Nebraska in `93, #15 Colorado and #9 Florida in `94, and #9 USC as well as #15 Colorado twice in `95.
IRISH QUINTET POSTS 10+ KILLS EACH vs. LOUISVILLE: Notre Dame’s balanced attack saw five players finish with 10 or more kills in the five-game victory over #7 Louisville in the final of the BIG EAST Championship. Senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) led the way with 19, while sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) had 18, freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) added 15 off the bench, senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) had 13, and senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) registered 11. It was the first time five Irish players had 10+ kills since Sept. 10, 2004, in a five-game victory against Fresno State. Kelbley led the way with 17 against the Bulldogs, while Stasiuk had 15, Brewster 14, Emily Loomis 12, and current sophomore Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) 10.
IRISH CHAMPIONS AGAIN: Notre Dame won a pair of five-game matches (vs. #11 Texas and Arizona State) to win the championship of The Inn at Saint Mary’s Shamrock Invitational for the fifth consecutive time and eighth time in 11 all-time tournaments. It meant that 2005 is the sixth consecutive season in which the Irish have captured at least one in-season tournament championship. Last season, they won both the Cal Poly Invitational and the Baden Thanksgiving Tournament in Long Beach, Calif. In 2003, Notre Dame won both the Longhorn Classic in Austin, Texas, and its own Shamrock Invitational. The Irish also won the Shamrock Invitational from 2000-02 and were the champions of the 2000 Lady Seminole Classic in Tallahassess, Fla., and the `02 Golden Dome Invitational at home. Notre Dame also was the only 3-0 team in this season’s UTSA Dome Rally, though there was no champion declared.
A SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER: Notre Dame finished the month of September with a 10-1 record, marking the fourth time in program history — and second time in three seasons — the Irish were beaten just one time in the month. ND also was 14-1 in 1994, 12-1 in `95, and 8-1 in 2003. This September also marked just the third time in program history that the Irish beat a trio of nationally-ranked teams in the same month. Notre Dame also did that in Septembers of both 1993 (four wins: #3 Nebraska, #9 Illinois, #24 Washington, #24 New Mexico) and `95 (#9 USC, #15 Colorado, #15 Colorado).
OCTOBER FEST: Notre Dame posted a perfect 10-0 record in the month of October, marking just the second perfect record in a full month of play in the 26-year history of the program. Many of the current Irish players also contributed in the first-ever perfect month, when the 2003 squad was 8-0 in October. Notre Dame won 30 of 34 games in October 2005 and has now won 29 of its last 30 matches taking place in October, with the lone exception a five-game loss at BYU last season. The Irish are 52-6 (.897) in October over the last six-plus years. Six times before have the Irish gone undefeated in a month featuring a limited schedule — never one with more than four matches in it. Notre Dame went unbeaten in August in 1987 (1-0), ’91 (1-0), ’96 (3-0), 2001 (1-0) and ’02 (2-0), as well as posting an undefeated November (4-0) in 1982.
IRISH HIT 20 WINS FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT YEAR: Notre Dame’s win against Cincinnati on Oct. 30 was the 20th on the season, making 2005 the seventh consecutive year in which the Irish have registered at least 20 victories. In the 15 years under head coach Debbie Brown, Notre Dame has failed to win 20 matches on just one occasion, finishing 18-13 in 1998.
NOTRE DAME WINS FIVE STRAIGHT FOR 15TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON: By prevailing in the opening five matches in 2005, Notre Dame made this the 15th consecutive season in which the Irish have had a winning streak of at least five matches, a span that covers every year since head coach Debbie Brown took over the program.
KNOCKING THEM OFF: In the 26-year history of Notre Dame volleyball, the Irish have knocked off teams ranked among the national top 12 on 13 occasions, with five of those upsets coming this season. See pdf for a list of the top all-time Irish victories, sorted by ranking of the opponent.
IRISH FIRST TEAM IN SCHOOL HISTORY TO BEAT FOUR TOP-10 TEAMS: Notre Dame has victories over #8 USC, #6 Florida, #6 Louisville, and #7 Louisville this season, making it the first team in program history to knock off four top-10 teams in the same campaign. Only one Irish team before ever had beaten multiple top-10 teams in a season; the 1993 squad downed #9 Illinois, #3 Nebraska, and #8 Nebraska. The ’05 ND team has three wins over teams ranked among the top seven after the Irish had accomplished that feat only twice in the first 25 years of the program’s existence.
RANKED WINS: See pdf for the list of most wins over nationally-ranked teams in a season for Notre Dame:
FINISHING OFF GAMES: Notre Dame has saved its best volleyball for the ends of games this season. See pdf for some examples.
BIG POINTS MAKE BIG SEASONS: See pdf for a list of some of the most important points that have led to Notre Dame’s success this season:
LET’S PLAY FIVE: Notre Dame is 3-3 in five-game affairs this season, having beaten #11 Texas, Arizona State, and #7 Louisville and lost to LSU, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee. The Irish are 72-63 (.533) all-time in five-game affairs, including 10-10 (against some of the top programs in the country) since the current ND seniors stepped on campus. See pdf for all of the 3-2 matches played by them.
NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND: Three times this year — twice against top-15 teams — Notre Dame has been down game point, but come back to win the game. Twice the Irish had match points, but could not convert it en route to losing. See details of all four situations in pdf.
IRISH SIGN OUTSTANDING GROUP OF FIVE RECRUITS: Notre Dame announced recently that five high school and club standouts signed national letters of intent during the early period to join the Irish program beginning in 2006. The group – which will replace a quintet of current seniors that is in the midst of leading ND in one of its best seasons in program history – is comprised of OH/MB Megan Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey H.S./Sports Performance VBC), OH Christina Kaelin (Louisville, Ky./Assumption H.S./KIVA), MB Kim Kristoff (Carmel, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit Prep School/Team Indiana VBC), S Jamel Nicholas (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine-Richland H.S./Renaissance VBC), and OH/MB/OPP Serinity Phillips (Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center H.S./Vintage VBC). The Irish have three signees rated by PrepVolleyball.com as among the top 25 high school seniors in the nation (Kaelin #9, Fesl #14, Phillips #21), making ND one of only two schools able to boast that (along with Penn State). Only three other schools – Nebraska, Penn State, and Texas – could match the Irish in having a pair of the top 15 on that list. The Senior Aces list began with the current collegiate juniors, and Notre Dame’s highest-ranked recruit prior to this class had been current freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.), who was 32nd.
Notre Dame Player Notes …
HENICAN BREAKS CAREER DIGS RECORD: The 25th and final dig of the match for senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) in the final of the BIG EAST Championship at #7 Louisville was the 1,641st of her career, which broke the Irish record for career digs, which had stood for 11 years as 1,640 by two-time All-American OH Christy Peters from 1991-94. Henican, who enters the NCAAs with 1,692 digs, now owns every significant Notre Dame season and career dig record except for career dig average, which she will smash upon completion of the season. She is averaging 4.04 per game, while Peters averaged 3.72 during her career.
BREWSTER BREAKS ND CAREER RECORDS FOR BLOCK ASSISTS, TOTAL BLOCKS: Senior All-American and co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) broke the Notre Dame record for total blocks in game three against Rice on Nov. 25 in the Irish Thanksgiving Invitational, when she registered the 700th of her career. That brok the 17-year-old record of 699 by Mary Kay Waller (1985-88). Brewster, who enters teh NCAAs with 709 blocks (590 assisted), broke the Notre Dame career record for block assists with her first one against DePaul on Oct. 15. That allowed her to pass former record holder Mary Leffers, who had 516 from 1996-99. She also stands second on the Irish list for career block average (1.63, record is 1.68 by Waller) and third in solo blocks (119).
HENICAN BREAKS OWN SEASON RECORD FOR MATCHES WITH 10+ DIGS: Senior co-captain and libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) had 32 digs against Tennessee on Nov. 25, marking her 30th time in 31 matches this season that she has finished with at least 10 digs. That broke her own Notre Dame record for matches in a season with double-figure digs. She did that 29 times in 30 matches in 2004.
HENICAN 16 SHY OF HER OWN SEASON DIGS RECORD: Senior co-captain and libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) enters the NCAA tournament with 537 digs, which is just 16 shy of her own Notre Dame record for digs in a season. She had 553 last year.
KELBLEY ONE AWAY FROM IRISH RECORD FOR CAREER MATCHES WITH 10+ KILLS: Senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) has had 10 or more kills in 87 of the 120 matches that she has played for the Irish (72.5%). That puts her just one shy of the Notre Dame record for career times posting double-figure kills. Current AVP player Angie Harris (Akers) did that 88 times during her career from 1994-97.
TARUTIS POSTS THIRD 1,400-ASSIST SEASON IN ND HISTORY: Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) enters the NCAA tournament with 1,414 assists on the season (12.74 per game). It is just the third time in the 26-year history of Notre Dame volleyball — and the first time since 1995 — that a player has posted over 1,400 assists in a season. She is just 37 away from the second-highest season sum in program history: 1,451 by Janelle Karlan in 1991. Carey May holds the Irish record, having posted 1,536 assists in `95.
BREWSTER, KELBLEY HIT 1,400 KILLS: Senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) posted the 1,400th kill of her career on Nov. 20 in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville, becoming the fifth Irish player to reach that mark, as well as the only one who was primarily a middle blocker. Her classmate, OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) joined the club on Nov. 26 against Tennessee. Only one set of classmates — current AVP players Angie Harris (Akers) and Jaimie Lee (1994-97) — had accomplished that feat before.
BREWSTER, KELBLEY UNMATCHED AMONG BIG EAST SCORING DUOS: Seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) rank among the BIG EAST’s top 10 in points, making ND the only squad with two on that list. Brewster is fourth at 5.01 per game, while Kelbley is eighth at 4.48.
BREWSTER, COOPER AMONG TOP BLOCKERS IN BIG EAST: Seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) enter the NCAAs ranked second and sixth in the BIG EAST Conference blocking leaders, averaging 1.59 and 1.32, respectively. Notre Dame is the only school to have two of the top six blockers in the conference. Brewster has finished first in the BIG EAST in blocking both in overall and conference matches in each of the last three years, also taking the NCAA blocking crown in 2003. Cooper and Brewster have the Irish second in the team conference leaders in blocking (3.59), as well as fifth nationally. Brewster is 12th in the individual NCAA leaders.
HENICAN, STASIUK IN BIG EAST LEADERS IN DIGS: Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) and sophomore OH/L Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) rank fourth and eighth, respectively, among the BIG EAST leaders in dig average, at 4.84 and 3.86 per game. No other school has multiple players in the top 10, and Stasiuk is the only non-libero in the leaders. They helped Notre Dame lead the BIG EAST in digs per game in conference action (17.70) for the first time.
HENICAN, STASIUK BREAK OWN IRISH MARK FOR COMBINED DIGS: Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) and sophomore OH/L Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) have combined for 915 digs this season, which is the most ever for teammates in a single campaign. Henican has 537, while Stasiuk has posted 378. Last year, they tallied 884 together, which broke the previous record, done by Jessica Fiebelkorn and Christy Peters in 1992, by a single dig.
STASIUK LOOKS TO BECOME FOURTH ND PLAYER TO POST 400+ DIGS IN A SEASON: Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) enters the NCAA tournament with 378 digs on the season (3.86 per game). She is just 22 away from becoming only the fourth different Notre Dame player ever to have 400+ in a season. That has been done three times by current senior libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) and twice each by Jessica Fiebelkorn (1991 and `92) and Christy Peters (1992 and `93). The 1992 season — in which Notre DAme piled up 2,407 total digs for an average of 18.23 per game (both still stand as Irish records — is the only one in which teammates have both posted 400+ digs.
TREMENDOUS TARUTIS: Sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) entered the week ranking first in the BIG EAST Conference in assists per game, at 12.74, as well as 29th nationally. She helped the Irish lead the league in assists per game in conference action (15.55).
HEINTZMAN POUNDS CAREER-HIGH 22 KILLS vs. TENNESSEE: Sophomore OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) turned in the best offensive match of her career in the regular-season finale against Tennessee, pounding 22 kills. She had notched double-figure kills just three times in 2005 and topped her previous career best in the category by seven (15 in 2004 vs. Michigan State). Heintzman also notched a career-high 23.5 points. She became the sixth player on the Irish to post 15+ kills in a match this season and the fourth to go over the 20-kill barrier.
HENICAN POSTS MOST KILLS FOR ND PLAYER IN JOYCE CENTER SINCE `92: Senior co-captain and libero Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) finished with 32 kills on Nov. 26 in the five-game defeat against Tennessee. It was the second-highest total of her career and the most by a Notre Dame player in the Joyce Center since Jessica Fiebelkorn had 34 against Bowling Green on Oct. 13, 1992.
COOPER HUGE IN BIG EAST FINAL AGAINST #7 LOUISVILLE: Senior MB Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) saved one the best matches of her career for one of the biggest moments, in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville. She matched her season high with 11 kills, while also matching her career high with four solo blocks. In addition, she led the Irish with a career-high four aces, while not making a single service error. Cooper also registered a career-best 19 points.
CROAL PROVIDES SPARK OFF BENCH IN BIG EAST FINAL: Freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) turned in one of her best matches of the season in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville. She entered the match early in game two, after the Irish had dropped the opening game and were down 7-2 in the second. She proceeded to hit 15 kills – seven in that game – on .310 hitting to go with a pair of blocks for 16.5 points. Though Croal was a starter for 11 matches early in the season, she had not played in more than two games in any match in more than a month (since Oct. 9).
IRISH HAVE TWO PLAYERS WITH 20 KILLS … TWICE: After it had not happened in nearly two years, Notre Dame had a pair of players post 20+ kills in the same match twice in the last month. Further accentuating the feats is that four different players were involved. Sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) and senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) turned in 21 and 20 kills, respectively, in Notre Dame’s four-game victory against #6 Louisville on Oct. 29. Then on Nov. 26, senior OH Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.) and sophomore OH Ellen Heintzman (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) posted 22 apiece in the five-game defeat against Tennessee. No Irish duo had done the trick previously since Brewster and Kelbley registered 22 each in a five-game win against Virginia Tech on Nov. 7, 2003. The Louisville match was just the eighth time in program history that two Notre Dame players have had 20 kills in a match shorter than five games, with the most-recent occurrence coming on Oct. 8, 2000, when Christi Girton had 30 and Kristy Kreher accounted for 22 in a four-game win at Pittsburgh.
BREWSTER DEADLY AND ACCURATE: Senior All-American MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) currently stands as the only player to rank among Notre Dame’s all-time top five in both hitting percentage (2nd, .317) and kills (5th, 1,442). The next-best combination of efficiency and power in Irish history is Zanette Bennett (1985-88), who ranks third in career kills (1,471) and sixth in hitting percentage (.289).
ND FIRST SCHOOL TO HAVE MULTIPLE CVU.COM NATIONAL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame became the first school to ever have multiple players be honored as the Collegiate Volleyball Update National Player of the Week, when both senior MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and sophomore OH Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.) won the honor this season. Brewster was recognized on Sept. 6 after being the Shamrock Invitational MVP and leading the Irish to an upset victory against #11 Texas. For the tournament, Brewster led all players in both kills (46, 4.60 per game) and blocks (15, 1.50 per game) and was second in hitting percentage (.310). She also had 10 digs (1.00), two assists, and a service ace for 56.5 points (5.65). Brewster was the top Irish performer in both game fives in the Shamrock Invitational, combining for 10 kills on .381 hitting to go with four digs and two blocks in those decisive frames. Stasiuk was honored on Oct. 25 after helping ND to a trio of wins. In victories against Illinois State, South Florida, and Georgetown, Stasiuk turned in outstanding all-around numbers, averaging 4.30 kills on .396 hitting to go with 3.90 digs and 1.50 blocks for 5.75 points per game. She tallied a total of 43 kills to go with 39 digs, 15 blocks (including eight solos), six assists, and three service aces for 57.5 points. An illustration of her all-around excellence was the fact that Stasiuk posted match-high numbers in a particular statistical category on nine occasions – and in six different categories. Prior to this season, only once had an Irish player been tabbed national player of the week by any organization. Christy Peters earned the accolade from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Sept. 27, 1993, after leading 14th-ranked Notre Dame to a three-game upset of #3 Nebraska in the Golden Dome Invitational, a victory that remains the highest-ranked win ever for the Irish.
HENICAN BACK IN LIBERO JERSEY: After not doing so in any of the season’s first eight matches (instead playing outside hitter), senior Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) has played 79 of the last 80 games in the libero jersey. As the Irish libero, she is averaging 5.35 digs (423 total) and has made just 21 reception errors in 882 attempts (.976).
IRISH 43-5 WHEN COOPER STARTS: Notre Dame has posted a 43-5 (.895) record when current senior MB/OPP Carolyn Cooper (Houston, Texas/Lutheran South Academy) is in the starting lineup, 1-0 in 2003, 16-2 in `04, and 26-3 this season.
CROAL’S KILLS: In the five-game loss to Louisiana State, freshman Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) had 19 kills. It was the most by an Irish rookie since Emily Loomis had 19 against Georgetown on Sept. 30, 2001.
JUST CALL HER “MISS GAME FIVE”: Senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) was outstanding in the two game fives in The Inn at Saint Mary’s Shamrock Invitational, posting 10 kills on .381 hitting to go with four digs and two blocks. She also had a pair of kills and a solo block to lead ND to an 8-3 advantage en route to the fifth-game victory in the BIG EAST final at #7 Louisville. Throughout her career in fifth games, Brewster is averaging 2.53 kills per game on .289 hitting (43-17-90) to go with 18 digs and 14 blocks for 51 points (3.00). [Note: Statistics unavailable from two game fives.]
IRON WOMAN I: Senior co-captain L/OH Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) enters the weekend having played in each of the last 350 Irish games, the longest streak ever by a Notre Dame volleyball player. She played in just two of five games against Miami on Nov. 15, 2002, but then finished out that campaign and then appeared in every game in both 2003 and `04 and all 103 thus far this season. She is the only Irish player ever to play in every game in consecutive seasons.
IRON WOMAN II: Senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) has played in all 123 Notre Dame matches since joining the team in 2002. She has a chance to be the third Irish player ever to play in every match during her career, following in the footsteps of Janelle Karlan (1990-93, 145 matches) and Jenny Birkner (1993-96, 140 matches). Brewster has participated in 431 of the 445 games Notre Dame has played over the past four seasons, which is 96.9%. That is on pace to break Birkner’s record for percentage of games played (96.5%).
BREWSTER’S ASU OUTPUT AMONG BEST EVER BY AN IRISH MB: Senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) had 28 kills against Arizona State on Sunday. Only once has a Notre Dame middle blocker had more kills in a match. See pdf for the list of top kill totals by Irish middles:
… AND MOST IN THE JOYCE CENTER BY ANY PLAYER SINCE 2000: The 28 kills by senior co-captain MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) against Arizona State on Sunday were the most in the Joyce Center by any player since Sept. 21, 2000, when Loyola Marymount’s Sarah McFarland had 45 (on 111 attempts, which still stands as an NCAA record for a four-game match) and Kristy Kreher of Notre Dame posted 32 in a four-game Irish triumph.
BIG EAST HONORS: See pdf for a summary of Notre Dame’s BIG EAST weekly honors in 2005 (POW – Player of the Week; ROW – Rookie of the Week):
ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: See pdf for a summary of Notre Dame’s all-tournament honors in 2005:
HENICAN, BREWSTER TABBED CO-CAPTAINS: Seniors MB Lauren Brewster (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood H.S.) and OH/L Meg Henican (New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman H.S.) will serve as Notre Dame’s co-captains this season. Henican is back for her second season in the role, after serving as the lone captain during the 2004 campaign. She is the 10th multiple-year captain in program history and just the fourth to have been a solo captain in at least one of those seasons.
LOCAL INTEREST: Freshman DS/S Madison Clark (Sturgis H.S.) hails from Sturgis, Mich., which is just across the state line and less than 50 miles east of Notre Dame. She is the most-local player for the Irish volleyball team since South Bend native Dyan Boulac wound up her career in 1993.
TOGETHER AGAIN: Sophomore S Ashley Tarutis (Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos H.S.) and freshman OH Mallorie Croal (Villa Park, Calif./Mater Dei H.S.) are teammates once again with the Irish this season. Both played for the Golden West Volleyball Club prior to coming to Notre Dame,helping it to the bronze medal at the 2004 Junior National Olympics.
Miscellaneous Notes …
IRISH MAKE MUCH AVCA POLL HISTORY: After knocking off #6 Florida and #8 USC en route to being the only 3-0 team in the UTSA Dome Rally (Sept. 9-11), Notre Dame jumped 11 spots to #8 in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Poll on Sept. 12. The 11-place rise matched the largest single-week ascension ever for any team in the poll (BYU also moved from 19th before the NCAA tournament to eighth in the final poll in 1996). The two-poll jump of more than 17 spots (from unranked to eighth) by ND stands as the largest in the 24-year history of the AVCA poll. The previous record was the 1995 Oral Roberts team that was unranked heading into the NCAAs, then moved up to 19th after the first two rounds and 10th in the final poll. The largest two-poll jump in ND history prior to this came in 2003, when the Irish were unranked in the preseason, moved to 21st, and then to 15th. The previous best one-week movement came in 1997, when the Irish went from unranked heading into the NCAAs to 18th in the final poll. The ranking was the highest for the Irish since Sept. 3, 1996. On Oct. 31, Notre Dame moved up to a program-best fifth in the AVCA poll, making it the first school ever to crack the top five in the AVCA poll after beginning the year unranked. Twice before (Minnesota in 2002, Ohio State in `04) teams had peaked at sixth in the listing after being unranked in the regular season.
NOTRE DAME RANKS 18TH NATIONALLY IN HOME ATTENDANCE: Heading into the week, Notre Dame ranked 18th in Division I in home volleyball attendance this season, averaging 1,653 for the 14 regular-season home matches of the 2005 campaign. That is on pace to break the Irish record of 1,576 per match in 2003. Overall, the Joyce Center has welcomed 23,145 volleyball fans this season, which is just shy of the record for total attendance, which was 23,643 in `03. The season opener against Michigan drew 1,574 fans — the most ever for a campaign lidlifter — and the crowd of 5,541 that watched ND beat South Florida on Oct. 21, just before the ND-BYU football pep rally, is the second-largest volleyball crowd in facility history. On Oct. 29, a crowd of 2,597 watched the Irish knock off #6 Louisville, which marked the second-largest non-pep rally crowd for volleyball in Joyce Center history. Overall, 19 of ND’s 31 matches this season have been played in front of crowds of more than 1,000. Notre Dame has finished among the top 25 in home attedance in each of the last three years: 25th in 2002, 16th in `03, 17th in `04.
UPSET OF FLORIDA GIVES BROWN 350th WIN AT NOTRE DAME: The 3-0 victory over #6 Florida on Sept. 11 was the 350th for the Irish with Debbie Brown as head coach. Since first stepping onto campus in 1991, she holds a 372-121 (.755) record. She is easily the winningest coach in program history — a status she first took over in 1995 — having nearly twice as many victories as her closest competitor, Art Lambert, who was 127-87 in seven seasons from 1984-90. Brown is just the ninth head coach in Notre Dame athletics history — in any sport — to register 350+ victories while coaching the Irish, joining Yves Auriol (men’s and women’s fencing), Mike DeCicco (men’s and women’s fencing), Tom Fallon (men’s tennis and wrestling), Jake Kline (baseball), Paul Mainieri (baseball), Muffet McGraw (women’s basketball), Liz Miller (softball), and Digger Phelps (men’s basketball). Of that group, only Auriol and DeCicco hold higher winning percentages during their time at Notre Dame than Brown does.
HOME, SWEET HOME: Notre Dame’s Joyce Center has become one of the most difficult places in the nation for road teams to win, especially since the arrival of head coach Debbie Brown in 1991. Over the last 15 years, Notre Dame has posted a 178-29 (.860) home record. The Irish have pieced together a variety of impressive winning streaks on their home floor, winning 14 or more in a row on five occasions, highlighted by streaks of 27 (1993-95) and 36 (2000-02) straight home victories. Notre Dame also won 74 in a row in regular-season action against conference opposition from 1991-2004. The Irish, who have topped 15 ranked teams – including five top-10 squads – at home, also hold a 168-10 (.944) record against unranked teams in the Joyce Center, including a 52-match winning streak. Notre Dame is 13-1 at home this year, including upsets of #11 Texas and #6 Louisville.
CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has experienced unprecedented success in the decade since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995. The Irish have compiled a 120-7 (.950) regular-season mark, highlighted by 10 titles and winning streaks of 45 and 35 consecutive matches. Notre Dame is 67-1 (.984) in BIG EAST regular-season contests in the Joyce Center, and the Irish have won nine BIG EAST tournament championships, posting a 22-2 mark and reaching the final every year. Notre Dame also has dominated the conference awards, winning player-of-the-year honors six times, the coach-of-the-year award on five occasions, and the league tournament’s most-outstanding-player award nine times. Also, Notre Dame student-athletes have garnered 40 all-conference accolades, including 24 first-team honors, which account for exactly one-third of the first-team selections during the span.
ACADEMIC ACHIEVERS: The Notre Dame women’s volleyball team posted its highest grade-point average on record for an academic year in 2004-05 and was rewarded as a recipient of a Game Plan/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award. The Irish, who had a team GPA of 3.362, were one of just four Division I squads to earn the Team Academic Award and also win at least one match in the 2004 NCAA Championship (also Kansas State, Ohio, and Wichita State). The AVCA Team Academic Award honors college and high-school teams that display excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team GPA on a 4.0 scale. Notre Dame was one of 45 Division I programs to be so recognized. The Irish previously copped the honor in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
TV STARS: Notre Dame will be featured on television at least four times during the 2005 season. The Irish beat Texas on Sept. 3 in The Inn at Saint Mary’s Shamrock Invitational in the Joyce Center, which was part of the AVCA’s national match-of-the-week package on College Sports Television (CSTV). Also part of that package was the BIG EAST Championship title match on Nov. 20 in Louisville, in which ND prevailed 3-2 over the Cardinals. Additionally, the Irish made their ESPNU debut on Oct. 30 against Cincinnati (3-0 win) and then play host to Tennessee (3-2 loss) on Nov. 26 in the Irish Thanksgiving Invitational in a match to be televised by Comcast Local. A year ago, Notre Dame was on TV three times in road matches (CSTV at South Carolina, Comcast at Michigan, BYU TV at Brigham Young). The Irish — who played host to Miami in 2003 in a CSTV match — are one of just 10 schools who have been on the regular-season slate of CSTV’s match-of-the-week series in all three years since it debuted. The others are Colorado State, Florida, Hawai’i, Nebraska, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, Stanford, Texas, and Utah.
KEEPING UP WITH ND VOLLEYBALL: For the fastest results of Notre Dame volleyball matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #5 and #1. The hotline provides schedules and result information for all Irish varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the match recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletics website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with results of each Notre Dame volleyball match. Once again, www.und.com will be the best place for in-depth coverage of Irish volleyball. Live scoring of all home matches, as well as live internet broadcasts of six contests supplement the regular match previews and recaps. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting assistant sports information director Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.firstname.lastname@example.org. All requests for story ideas, interview access, match credentials, and further information on Irish volleyball should similarly be directed to Rottenborn. Credential and interview requests should be made at least 24 hours in advance.