Freshman Christina Theofilos

Notre Dame Heads South To Seminole Tri-Tournament

Sept. 16, 2009

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame carries a two-match winning streaking into this weekend’s volleyball action as the Irish head to Tallahassee, Fla., for the Seminole Tri-Tournament hosted by Florida State. The 19th-ranked Seminoles and Notre Dame join Miami in the three-team field.

“This season’s schedule has worked out really well for us in terms of playing strong competition every weekend, and this weekend will be no different,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said. “Both Miami and Florida State are strong Atlantic Coast Conference teams and will provide a great opportunity for us to take our game to another level. It’s just what we need as we prepare for BIG EAST competition.”

Seminole Tri-Tournament
Tully Gymnasium • Tallahassee, Fla.
Friday – Sunday, Sept. 18-20
Live stats:
Live video: (Notre Dame vs. Florida State)
IRISH ALERTS (text messaging): Sign up on volleyball page at
Tickets: Free admission

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
5-3 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
[ •]

Miami Hurricanes
7-2 overall / 0-0 Atlantic Coast
[ •]

No. 19 Florida State Seminoles
8-1 overall / 0-0 Atlantic Coast
[ •]

Tournament Schedule
Friday, Sept. 18 – Florida State vs. Miami – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 19 – Notre Dame vs. Miami – 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 20 – Notre Dame vs. Florida State – 1:00 p.m.
*all times local to site (ET)

The Field …
– Series: Notre Dame leads, 3-1 (1-1 BIG EAST)
– First meeting: 11.15.02 – at Miami – Miami, 3-2
– Last meeting: 11.22.03 – BIG EAST Championship (Notre Dame, Ind.) – Notre Dame, 3-1
– Notre Dame and Miami were members of the BIG EAST Conference from 2002-2003 and met twice in the league tournament … the Irish have won each of the last three meetings … this will be the third time in the series that Notre Dame has not been ranked … the Hurricanes are the first of four schools from the Sunshine State appearing on Notre Dame’s 2009 schedule (along with Florida State, USF and Florida) … Miami’s lone losses this season have come to in-state rivals USF and Florida International … in their most recent action, the Hurricanes downed Albany, 3-0, last weekend … it was the third 2008 NCAA Tournament participant Miami had played in as many days (after playing FIU and Middle Tennessee State) … two weeks ago, Miami defeated host Northern Colorado to claim the title at the Hampton Inn & Suites Tournament … sophomore outside hitter Lane Carico was named the tournament MVP … coming off the second-best season in school history and its best ACC record in school history in 2008, Miami returns four starters including its libero in 2009 … last season, the Hurricanes opened the year with a 13-0 record that included three in-season tournament championships … their 26-6 record (14-6 ACC) was not quite enough for an NCAA Tournament appearance, but bought Miami a share of third place in the final ACC standings … Irish assistant coach Matt Botsford held a similar position with the Hurricanes from 2004 through the 2007 season.

Florida State
– Series: Notre Dame leads, 2-1
– First meeting: 10.9.92 – Golden Dome Invitational (Notre Dame, Ind.) – Notre Dame, 3-2
– Last meeting: 9.15.00 – Lady Seminole Classic (Tallahassee, Fla.) – Notre Dame, 3-1
– This is the fourth time in the series history that either team has carried a ranking into the matchup as Florida State is currently ranked 19th … Notre Dame was ranked 25th in 1992, 12th in 1994 and 25th in 2000 … in 1992, Notre Dame held the Seminoles to one point in the fourth set (15-1) during a 3-2 Irish win and just two points (15-2) in the final frame of a 3-1 win in 2000 … currently on a five-match winning streak, Florida State has moved up to No. 19 in the latest AVCA poll … Florida State was ranked No. 22 but jumped in the polls after earning a victory in all three of its matches played at last weekend’s FIU / Miami Invitational … by winning the event, the Seminoles are off to the program’s best start since the 2000 campaign … prior to last week, Florida State had not been placed in the national rankings since being pegged as the No. 21 team in the USA Today Coaches Poll on Sept. 22, 1998 … the program’s highest ranking was a No. 17 position on Oct. 12, 1993 … the Seminoles’ only loss on the season came Aug. 31 at fifth-ranked Florida.

Next week: Notre Dame begins BIG EAST play with a two-match trip to Connecticut (Sept. 25) and St. John’s (Sept. 27).

Bump, Set, Spike …
• Notre Dame went 2-0 on its home floor last week while hosting the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational … a 3-1 win over Wisconsin (Sept. 11) came two days before a sweep of New Mexico State, 3-0.
• In the month of September, Notre Dame is 301-124 (.708) overall, 44-43 (.506) on the road and 59-44 (.573) on neutral floors.
• Irish head coach Debbie Brown has shelved over 400 wins with Notre Dame and won five BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year awards since joining the league in 1995 … the 2009 season is her 19th at the helm of the Fighting Irish program … with a career record of 544-249 (.686) in her 25th season as a head coach, Brown has a 427-166 (.720) mark at Notre Dame.

Upward Bound …
Notre Dame is receiving votes (27) in the AVCA Top 25 Poll for the third consecutive week … deemed Notre Dame the 35th-best team in the nation according to its Sept. 14 poll … Notre Dame is the highest ranked BIG EAST Conference team in each poll.

Just Swing and Hit It …
Notre Dame ranks 38th nationally with a .265 team hitting percentage … the Irish are 30th overall with 13.77 kills/set … Notre Dame is second in both of of those categories among BIG EAST teams, while Kristen Dealy (9th – 3.50) and Serinity Phillips (10th – 3.38) rank among the league leaders in kills/set.

Irish Earn Stripes at Notre Dame / adidas Invite …
The Irish hosted the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational and swept the competition with wins over Wisconsin (Sept. 11) and New Mexico State (Sept. 13) … after dropping the first set of the matchup against Wisconsin, Notre Dame rallied to take the final three periods en route to a 3-1 win … not only was it the first win against the Badgers for Irish head coach Debbie Brown in six tries – and Notre Dame’s first since 1987 – but it was just the second win overall for Notre Dame against a Wisconsin program that eliminated the Irish from their last three NCAA Tournament appearances (2004, 2005 and 2006) … it was the first time Notre Dame lost the first set in a win since Nov. 22, 2008, against St. John’s.

Trio Find Spot On adidas All-Tournament Team …
Sophomore Kristen Dealy and seniors Serinity Phillips and Jamel Nicholas were each named to the Notre Dame / adidas All-Tournament team for their performances against Wisconsin (Sept. 11) and New Mexico State (Sept .13) … Dealy, the tournament MVP, averaged 4.43 kills/set and 2.57 digs/set … Phillips went for 3.86 kills/set and 1.71 digs/set while Nicholas put up stellar numbers with 11.14 assists/set and 2.57 digs/set while leading Notre Dame to a .324 hitting percentage … in playing pivotal roles for Notre Dame in the opening match against the Badgers, Dealy and Phillips slammed down 19 kills apiece, a career-high for Dealy and season-high for Phillips.

Hang It On the Fridge …
Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Dealy was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of Week on Sept. 14 … the Santa Barbara, Calif., native earned the honor on the heels of being named MVP of the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational after leading the Irish to wins over Wisconsin (Sept. 11) and New Mexico State (Sept. 13) … Dealy posted a season-best 19 kills with 13 digs for a double-double and three aces in the tournament’s opening match against the Badgers … Dealy added 12 kills against New Mexico State while cleanly fielding 24 serves in the tournament finale.

Aces By Irish …
Notre Dame showed signs of improvement in its serving as is evident by its 14 aces and 12 errors in two matches at the Notre Dame / adidas Invitational (Sept. 11-13) … heading into the event, Notre Dame had just 30 aces and 68 service errors … five players – Kristen Dealy, Jamel Nicholas, Megan Dunne, Stephanie Slatt and Frenchy Silva – had multiple aces during the tournament … in fact, a career-high four aces came off the stroke of Slatt after she went back-to-back from behind the stripe on a pair of occasions during pivotal Irish runs against New Mexico State (Sept. 13).

Nicholas Cracks National Rankings …
Senior Jamel Nicholas ranks 21st nationally with 11.12 assists/set while Notre Dame’s team mark of 12.58 assists/set is 39th … Nicholas’ average is third overall in the BIG EAST … she is the lone setter on the Irish roster and cracked the program’s all-time assists list last year by bringing her total to 1,958 … she has since eclipsed the 2,000-assist mark after notching 100 in nine sets played during the season-opening Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 28-30).

Queen City Queens …
Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and senior setter Jamel Nicholas both earned all-tournament nods at the Xavier Invitational (Sept. 4-6) … Phillips poured in a season-high 20 kills against Xavier (Sept. 4) on a .459 average and had 11 digs against Tennessee (Sept. 5) … she averaged 3.40 kills/set while Nicholas punched in 11.10 assists/set … for her efforts, Phillips was named to the BIG EAST Conference’s Weekly Honor Roll.

Fresh Start …
Freshman middle blocker Hilary Eppink made the first start of her career against No. 7 Michigan (Sept. 6) … she came through with eight kills on a .438 swinging average and two blocks – one of the solo variety.

Scoops By Silva …
Second-year libero Frenchy Silva had a career-high 23 digs against Xavier (Sept. 4) … her previous career-best (21) came on Aug. 31, 2008, against Valparaiso … it was the 12th double-digit dig performance of her young career.

Point Irish, Point Wolverines …
Notre Dame and Michigan combined for 60 points in the second set of a Sept. 6 matchup at the Xavier Invitational, setting the Irish record for scores in the 25-point set era … the set had 13 tie scores and three lead changes … Notre Dame stared at set point after a Lexi Zimmerman attack error (24-23) and Michigan would eventually get the win after converting its sixth set point … previously, Notre Dame and Valparaiso combined for 58 points in the third set of an Aug. 31, 2008, meeting … Valparaiso won the set, 30-28, while escaping with the match victory.

Conquering the Cardinal …
For just the second time in program history – and the first since 1993 – Notre Dame earned a win over a top-five opponent, as the Irish dealt No. 5 Stanford a 3-0 loss on Aug. 29 … Notre Dame’s last win over a ranked opponent came at home against Louisville on Nov. 11, 2007, while the lone win versus a top-five opponent came on Sept. 25, 1993, when the 14th-ranked Irish defeated No. 3 Nebraska at the Joyce Center … the Irish and Cardinal last met in 2003 with Stanford pulling out a 3-0 win … the 2008 NCAA Championship runner-up had never dropped a match to Notre Dame in six tries until this season … the Irish have earned 32 wins against ranked teams and 13 victories over top-10 teams … furthermore, the 1,843 fans in attendance to watch Notre Dame knock off Stanford made up the largest crowd to view a game in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse and the 15th-largest crowd overall in Irish history.

BIG EAST Deals Honor To Dealy …
Sophomore Kristen Dealy was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll (Aug. 31) one day after being tabbed to Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team … the outside hitter narrowly missed out on a pair of double-doubles during Irish sweeps over Denver (Aug. 28) and No. 5 Stanford (Aug. 29) … Dealy had nine kills against both the Pioneers and Cardinal before peppering LSU with 15 on a .400 average … she also cleanly fielded 40 consecutive serves through three matches before committing an error … Dealy led Notre Dame with 3.67 kills/set and 2.78 digs/set over the three matches.

All-Tournament Nods …
Senior Serinity Phillips joined sophomore Kristen Dealy on the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team … Dealy led the Irish against the Tigers with 15 kills while narrowly missing out on double-doubles in Notre Dame’s first two matches … Phillips steadied the Irish attack with 3.11 kills/set and 2.89 digs/set in the three matches … LSU’s Michele Williams, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, finished the three-match event with 37 kills (2.85/set) and 19 blocks (1.46/set) … Brittnee Cooper (LSU), Cassidy Lichtman (Stanford), Gabi Ailes (Stanford) and Emmy Davidsmeyer (Denver) rounded out the all-tournament team.

Smacks By Sciacca …
Early into her third season with the Irish, junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca already sits second on Notre Dame’s career list for hitting percentage … Sciacca’s mark of .332 still significantly trails Malinda Goralski’s (’01) best of .361 … Sciacca has totaled 622 kills on 1,276 attacks with 199 errors … on the program’s single-season chart, Sciacca’s averages of .343 (2007) and .332 (2008) rank eighth and tenth, respectively.

Preseason Honors …
Senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin and junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca both earned all-BIG EAST preseason nods, as voted upon by the league’s coaches … the duo brought home second team all-BIG EAST honors at the conclusion of last year’s regular season … Kaelin went on to rack up all-region and Honorable Mention All-America honors from the AVCA in 2009 … Notre Dame was picked alongside Cincinnati to finish second in the BIG EAST standings.

All In the Family …
Senior Tara Enzweiler will be joined on campus this year by a few familiar faces … two of her brothers, Thomas and Matthew, are also undergraduates at the University … moreover, each of the three were valedictorians at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, N.C.

Bringing ‘Em Back …
The Irish added two new – but recognizable – members to their coaching staff during the offseason in assistant coach Robin Davis and volunteer assistant coach Adrianna Stasiuk …Davis was named assistant volleyball coach in June 2009 … Davis, who spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Boise State, rejoined the Irish after spending five seasons with the Notre Dame program from 2001-2005 … with the arrival of Davis in 2006, Boise State got an immediate boost to its program … in his first season with the program, Davis posted the largest win increase for a first-year coach in Bronco history in leading the squad to 13 wins, five more than the 2005 edition of the Broncos … as an assistant coach with Notre Dame for four seasons and an associate head coach for one season, Davis helped lead the Fighting Irish to five consecutive BIG EAST Conference regular-season championships and appearances at the NCAA Tournament, reaching the round of 16 in 2005 … Notre Dame also finished that year with its highest-ever final national ranking – No. 12 in the AVCA poll and No. 11 in the Volleyball Magazine poll … Stasiuk was a four-time monogram winner with the Irish volleyball team from 2004-2007 … a three-time all-BIG EAST honoree, Stasiuk also copped All-American honors as a sophomore and was twice named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team … she also became only the seventh Irish player ever to register 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career.

Freshmen Orientation …
Three highly touted freshmen will see action for the Irish this season … outsider hitter Marie Roof (Muskegon, Mich./Mona Shores), middle blocker Hilary Eppink (Westfield, Ind./Westfield) and libero Christina Theofilos (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley) each dominated the prep volleyball circuits in their respective regions of the country before donning the blue and gold … Eppink was part of Volleyball Magazine’s “Fab 50”, Theofolis was a All-American and Roof was a finalist for Michigan’s Miss Volleyball award … Eppink made her collegiate debut at the Shamrock Invite against Denver, registering one kill on her lone swing along with a solo block.

This Calls for a Party …
Eight members of the Notre Dame volleyball team traveled to Florida in late April and came back to campus with the team title after winning the Collegiate Beach Volleyball Challenge at Fiesta On Siesta Key … the four tandems of Megan Fesl and Angela Puente, Kellie Sciacca and Frenchy Silva, Kristen Dealy and Serinity Phillips, and Christina Kaelin and Beth Wildermuth totaled enough points in both pool and championship play to earn the distinction for the Irish … the Fiesta On Siesta Key tournament featured 48 two-person teams … the initial stage of the tournament had teams broken into 12 pools … at the conclusion of pool play, the top 16 overall teams moved to the Gold bracket, the next 16 to the Silver bracket and the final 16 to the Bronze bracket … all four of Notre Dame’s teams won or came in second in their respective groupings during pool play.

Action Across the Pond …
Notre Dame spent nearly two weeks in Italy this past summer while posting a 6-1 record against the nation’s finest club teams on top of splitting a pair of matches against the Italian Junior National Team … Notre Dame hoisted the championship trophy after sweeping through four matches unscathed at the Margie Himmelberg Memorial Tournament in Modica, Italy. … at the tournament, Christina Kaelin was named “Best Attacker”, Kellie Sciacca was named “Best Blocker” and Serinity Phillips was named the showdown’s MVP.

Looking Back at 2008 …
With a 17-14 overall record (9-5 BIG EAST) Notre Dame secured its 22nd winning season since the program’s inception in 1980 and 18th consecutive (each of the 18 coming under the direction of head coach Debbie Brown) … the completion of the 2008 BIG EAST Championship saw the Irish earn a spot in the final match for the 13th time in 14 seasons since joining the league in 1995 … Notre Dame now sports a 27-5 (.844) all-time record in the league tournament with nine championships and four runner-up finishes … the Irish have faced Louisville in each of the last four conference tournaments while falling to the Cardinals in three of those matches – and twice in the finale … Notre Dame downed Louisville for the 2005 title … four Notre Dame players – Christina Kaelin, Serinity Phillips, Justine Stremick and Kellie Sciacca – were named to the all-BIG EAST second team … the season marked the first time ever that Notre Dame had four players on the second team … Kristen Dealy found a spot on the league’s all-tournament squad.