Two Irish players - Kellie Sciacca (pictured) and Serinity Phillips - were named to the Shamrock Invitational All-Tournament squad last week.

Notre Dame Heads West For Idaho Volleyball Classic

Sept. 4, 2008

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The second week of the young Notre Dame volleyball season will see the Irish hit the road for the first time as the team travels to the University of Idaho’s Volleyball Classic in Moscow, Idaho. Notre Dame (2-1) took two matches while hosting last week’s Shamrock Invitational before falling to Valparaiso.

Idaho Volleyball Classic
Memorial Gym • Sept. 5-6
University of Idaho • Moscow, Idaho

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(2-1 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST)

Eastern Washington Eagles
(1-2 overall / 0-0 Big Sky)
Sept. 5 • 7 p.m. (PT)

Washington State Cougars
(3-0 overall / 0-0 Pacific-10)
Sept. 6 • 10 a.m. (PT)

Idaho Vandals
(2-1 overall / 0-0 Western Athletic)
Sept. 6 • 7 p.m. (PT)

Bump, Set, Spike …
• Notre Dame is 2-1 to start a season for the first time since 2003 … the Irish defeated No. 10 Arizona and Eastern Washington but lost to No. 5 Pepperdine at the Four Points Sheraton Classic in Malibu, Calif. … last season, the Irish dropped their first three decisions before running away with three consecutive wins.

• Irish head coach Debbie Brown earned her 200th home win at Notre Dame with a victory over Nevada on Aug. 30 … Brown is now 200-38 (.840) within the friendly confines of the Joyce Center.

• The 2008 edition of the Shamrock Invitational marked the 14th time Notre Dame hosted the event … the Irish first held the tournament in 1993 and hold an all-time record of 35-6 in the showcase after posting two wins and one loss against last week’s field consisting of IPFW (W, 3-0), Nevada (W, 3-1) and Valparaiso (L, 1-3).

• The Aug. 31 loss to Valparaiso snapped a seven-game regular-season win streak for the Irish.

• With a 3-0 sweep over IPFW (Aug. 29) Notre Dame is now 22-7 all-time in home openers.

Series Notes …
• Eastern Washington is winless against the Irish in two tries … a 1998 meeting in the NCAA tournament saw the Irish hand Eastern Washington a 3-1 loss … the two teams met at the Four Points Sheraton Classic in Malibu, Calif., in 2003 with Notre Dame claiming a 3-1 win … the first set of that match was won by Notre Dame, 37-35 … the 72-point total was the largest in a single set in program history until last year’s 40-42 (84) set-three total at Pittsburgh (Sept. 22).

• Notre Dame and the Vandals met during the Shamrock Invitational in 2006 and 2001, both meetings resulting in wins for the Irish … Idaho took the first meeting between the two programs, a 3-1 decision at the Gonzaga Invitational in 1989.

• Washington State is the only team in this weekend’s field that holds a winning record over the Irish … Notre Dame is 1-3 overall versus the Cougars … this will be the fifth meeting between the two programs and the first since Notre Dame swept the Cougars in 1999 … Washington State took the first three matches (1990, 1996, 1997).

• Irish head coach Debbie Brown is 2-0 all-time against Eastern Washington, with each of those wins coming during her tenure at Notre Dame … she is 6-3 against Washington State (1-2 at Notre Dame) and 2-0 versus Idaho (2-0 at Notre Dame).

• Notre Dame is 6-1 all-time against opponents from the Big Sky Conference … Brown is 16-2 all-time against the Big Sky and 5-0 with Notre Dame squads … Notre Dame is 8-23 against the Pac-10 while Brown is 41-64 (7-16 at Notre Dame) … Notre Dame is 5-10 versus Western Athletic foes, with Brown carrying an 11-9 overall record (4-9 at Notre Dame).

• This weekend will mark the first time Notre Dame has ever played a match in the state of Idaho … last year, the Irish made their first-ever trip to the state of Tennessee, coming home with a 3-1 win.

Early Take On Eastern Washington … Eastern Washington had a subpar opening contest of its 2008 season at the Hilton Classic in Fort Collins, Colo., which saw the Eagles fall to Denver (25-18, 25-17, 25-22) but respond impressively with a 3-0 win over Arkansas in its next contest … the Eagles held the Razorbacks to a hitting percentage of -.085, the first time EWU has held its opponent to a negative hitting percentage since a 3-0 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) on Sept. 1, 2006 … in the tournament finale, the Eagles took 17th-ranked Colorado State to the wire before falling to the host Rams in five … EWU came within a hair of snapping Colorado State’s home winning streak, which now sits at 17 matches.

Watching Washington State … Washington State claimed the title at the Boise State Bronco Tournament last weekend but it did not come easily … on Friday the Cougars defeated Cal State Northridge, 3-2, and came back early Saturday morning to down Seattle University, 3-2 … the nightcap was a 3-1 win over host Boise State … Cougar middle blocker Emily Rooney (40 kills, four aces, seven digs, 16 blocks) was named the tournament MVP while setter Breann Nesselhuf and libero Kelly Hyder were each named to the six-player all-tournament team.

The Eye On Idaho … The host of this weekend’s tournament, Idaho brings the four-team event back to Moscow for the first time since 1997 … Idaho is off to a 2-1 start for the first time since the 2005 season, and is 30-12 in various tournament games played in Moscow … Idaho began the season with a pair of wins over Southeast Missouri State and South Dakota State before dropping a match to Middle Tennessee State, one of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference …the Vandals were picked to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference in 2008 and finished fifth in the conference with a 9-7 league record last season … Haley Larsen was selected the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week (Sept. 1) … Larsen and Sarah Conwell earned all-tournament honors at MTSU’s Blue Raider Bash.

On Top of the Summit … In 24 seasons of varsity volleyball, Notre Dame earned just its first win over a Summit League opponent with a 3-0 sweep of IPFW (Aug. 29) … the league changed its name from the Mid-Continent Conference to Summit in June 2007 … before the season-opening win over the Mastodons the Irish were 26-8 all-time against the conference and 14-3 under head coach Debbie Brown.

It’s Good To Be Home … Head coach Debbie Brown earned her 200th home win at Notre Dame with a 3-1 win against Nevada (Aug. 30) … Brown is now 200-38 (.843) within the walls of the Joyce Center … last season she picked up her 400th overall win as the Irish skipper.

Give Silva the Shovel … Freshman libero Frenchy Silva averaged 4.27 digs/set in four matches during the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) … that clip ranked fourth in the BIG EAST Conference and the best among league rookies … Silva scooped 21 shots against Valparaiso (Aug. 31), the first 20-dig effort by an Irish player since Adrianna Stasiuk posted an identical total at Connecticut (Oct. 27) in 2007.

Under .100 Is Fine With Us … An Irish defense that totaled 13.0 team blocks and registered 58 digs in four sets during a win against Nevada (Aug. 30) held the Wolf Pack to an overall hitting average of .080 … the Wolf Pack posted clips of .000, .162, .114 and .036 in the respective frames … Georgetown (Nov. 2) was the last team to hit under .100 versus the Irish in 2007, finishing with a .031 mark.

Brown Honored By Former Team … Head coach Debbie Brown was honored on Sept. 4 during the University of Southern California’s match versus Oklahoma as part of the program’s All-Time Great Night … Brown, a former Trojan standout, was joined during the ceremony with teammate Sue Woodstra … permanent banners with Woodstra and Brown’s name are now displayed in the Galen Center … after graduating from El Segundo High School (Calif.), Brown captained the University of Southern California to a 72-1 two-year record and national titles in both 1976 and 1977, including a 38-0 run in 1977 that, until 1998, was the only unbeaten season in Division I women’s volleyball history … her 1977 squad is still considered one of the all-time greatest at any level of volleyball … Brown (then Debbie Landreth) twice was named a collegiate All-American and received the Mikasa Award as the “nation’s best all-around player” in 1976 and 1977 … the 5-8 outside hitter left USC prior to her junior year, accepting an invitation to train full-time with the U.S. national team … she co-captained the team to a fifth-place finish at the 1978 World Championships … a year later, she and her teammates – including Debbie Green, Flo Hyman, Rita Crockett and Woodstra – qualified for the Olympics in Moscow and were considered serious medal contenders before the United States elected to boycott the games.

Early Experience … Freshmen Kristen Dealy and Frenchy Silva each cracked the starting lineups in their collegiate debut versus IPFW (Aug. 31) … last season, first-year players Kellie Sciacca and Angela Puente started in the season opener … setter Beth Wildermuth also saw significant action on the court in the season’s first weekend of play … Silva and Dealy earned starting nods in each of Notre Dame’s three matches … Dealy led the Irish with 31 kills (2.82 kills/set) while Silva averaged 4.27 digs/set … not to be outdone, Wildermuth split time with starting setter Jamel Nicholas and posted 3.73 assists/set.

Enzweiler Energizes Irish … Junior middle blocker Tara Enzweiler set career-high marks in virtually every statistical category during the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) … Enzweiler logged a pair of starts and matched or exceeded single-match personal bests in kills (5), attempts (13), aces (2), solo blocks (1), block assists (7), total blocks (8) and points (8.5).

Setting Herself Up … Junior setter Jamel Nicholas averaged 6.91 assists/set during the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) but much of her aid to the Irish offensive attack against Valparaiso (Aug. 31) came by means of a career-high seven kills … her previous high of two kills came versus Butler (Sept. 15) during Nicholas’ freshman campaign.

Kaelin Christens Court … Junior outside hitter Christina Kaelin returned from an injury that sidelined her for the duration of the 2007 campaign with three starts at the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) … her weekend was highlighted by 13 kills for a .480 clips versus Valparaiso (Aug. 31) … Kaelin was one of Notre Dame’s top offensive threats throughout her freshman campaign.

Shamrock Stars … Junior outside hitter Serinity Phillips and sophomore middle blocker Kellie Sciacca were each named to the Shamrock Invitational All-Tournament squad … Phillips had 13 kills and 12 digs in the season opener and scooped at least 10 digs in each of the invite’s three matches … Sciacca secured a double-double – the second of her career – against Nevada (Aug. 30) with a 14-kill, 10-block effort.

BIG EAST Honors Sciacca … Sophomore middle blocker Kellie Sciacca was selected to the league’s weekly honor roll (Sept. 1) … Sciacca totaled 30 kills (2.73/set) on a .359 average through three matches at the Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 29-31) … she led Notre Dame with 20 blocks over the course of three matches (1.82 blocks/set) … also registered one ace … Sciacca had 14 kills on a .464 average against Nevada (Aug. 30) along with 10 blocks for a double-double … she had seven blocks against Valparaiso (Aug. 31) … she finished with nine kills on 18 swings versus IPFW (Aug. 29).