Nov. 18, 1999
PITTSBURGH – After setting conference records for blocks and hitting percentage, Notre Dame senior captain Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.) was named the 1999 BIG EAST Volleyball Player of the Year Thursday evening at the conference?s annual award banquet. Leffers was joined by junior setter Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.) on the all-BIG EAST first team, while junior Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.) and sophomore Kristy Kreher (Birmingham, Mich.) were named to the all-conference second team.
Leffers, a middle blocker, set BIG EAST records for most blocks (67) and highest hitting percentage (.475) in conference matches and is currently ranked fifth nationally in blocks per game. A three-time BIG EAST Player of the Week, Leffers recently became the 10th Notre Dame player to reach the 1,000 career kill mark and currently holds the Irish record for career hitting percentage with a .303 mark. She joins past Notre Dame BIG EAST Players of the Year, Jenny Birkner (1995) and two-time player of the year, outside hitter Jaimie Lee (1997, 1996).
Joining Leffers on the all-conference first team was Boylan, who ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in assists per game in both conference (12.21) and overall (11.90) matches. A 1999 preseason all-BIG EAST selection, Boylan has led the Irish to a .290 hitting percentage and a phenomenal .359 hitting percentage in BIG EAST matches. Boylan recently recorded her 3,000-career assist in the team?s last regular season home match against Syracuse and ranks second in Notre Dame history in that category.
Girton was named to the all-BIG EAST second team for the second year in a row after earning all-rookie honors in 1997. The outside hitter ranks first on the team in kills per game (3.96) and digs per game (2.49) and has recorded five double-doubles (kills/digs) in her last seven matches. A BIG EAST all-rookie team selection in 1998, Kreher is third in conference hitting percentage (.377) and fourth in overall hitting percentage with a .301 mark. The opposite or rightside hitter has tallied six double-doubles in 1999 and has set career highs in digs with 18 against Providence, in blocks with seven against Michigan and in hitting percentage with a .700 (15-1-20) mark against Connecticut.
Top-seeded Notre Dame (18-6 overall, 11-0 in the BIG EAST) will face the winner of the Rutgers-Connecticut match on Saturday, Nov. 20, at the University of Pittsburgh?s Fitzgerald Field House. The Irish are in search of their fifth straight BIG EAST tournament title and can secure their eighth consecutive bid to the NCAA tournament with a win in the conference championship match Sunday.
1999 BIG EAST Volleyball Awards
BIG EAST Player of the Year ? Mary Leffers, Notre Dame
BIG EAST Coach of the Year ? Ken Nichols, Providence
BIG EAST Rookie of the Year ? Lauren Warner, Georgetown
All-BIG EAST First Team
Mary Leffers, Notre Dame
Denise Boylan, Notre Dame
Kiran Gill, Georgetown
Chanice Harris, Connecticut
Colleen Lee, Providence
Lola Opadiran, Rutgers
All-BIG EAST Second Team
Christi Girton, Notre Dame
Kristy Kreher, Notre Dame
Dana Fiume, Syracuse
Sarah Katinger, Providence
Amy Schweitzer, Georgetown
Yulia Vtyurina, Georgetown