July 29, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – When the two top volleyball teams in the BIG EAST Conference meet on Nov. 9 in the Joyce Center, a national television audience will watch. The showdown between Notre Dame and Miami will be part of Sunday Night Spike, a presentation of College Sports Television (CSTV) and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), which will feature 11 matches of the week to be broadcast on Sunday evenings throughout the season. The Irish topped the Hurricanes in the final of the BIG EAST Championship a year ago, and the teams are picked to be at the top of the league again in 2003.
A year ago, Notre Dame and Miami split a pair of meetings — the first ever between the schools in volleyball. The Hurricanes took a five-game match at home in November to snap a 43-match Irish winning streak against BIG EAST foes. Notre Dame gained a measure of revenge the following weekend, downing Miami 3-1 in the title match of the conference tournament.
The Irish, which begin their season Aug. 29 vs. Arizona in the Four Points Sheraton Classic in Malibu, Calif. before opening at home Sept. 9 against Valparaiso, return all six starters and 12 monogram winners from last year’s team that was 24-8 (11-2) and earned the 16th seed in the NCAA Championship before falling in the second round.
The Hurricanes, which were competing in the BIG EAST in volleyball for the first time last season after restoring their program in 2001 following a 19-year hiatus, return five starters from their 2002 squad that was 27-6 (10-3) and advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. Among the returnees are 2002 BIG EAST player of the year Valeria Tipiana and setter of the year Mallorey James.
Notre Dame and Miami were picked to finish in the top two spots in the BIG EAST this season, according to the preseason poll by conference head coaches. Four of the six players on the preseason all-BIG EAST team are from the schools, with preseason player of the year Tipiana and James joined by Irish junior Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers H.S.) and sophomore Lauren Kelbley (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon H.S.). Loomis was named the most outstanding player of last year’s conference tournament, while Kelbley was the league’s rookie of the year.
Tickets for the Miami match and all 2003 Irish home contests are available via the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356.
For more information on CSTV, the first 24-hour college sports network, including the full Sunday Night Spike lineup, check www.cstv.com.