Sept. 14, 2000

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WHO: University of Notre Dame, Florida A&M University, Florida State University and Samford University.

WHAT: The Lady Seminole Volleyball Classic.

WHERE: Florida State University’s Tully Gymnasium.

WHEN: Notre Dame vs. Florida A&M, Friday, Sept. 15, 12:00 p.m.

Notre Dame at Florida State, Friday, Sep. 15, 7:00 p.m.

Notre Dame vs. Samford, Saturday, Sept. 16, 11:30 a.m.

Irish Improve to 4-3 With a Sweep of Valparaiso: The Notre Dame volleyball team (4-3) ended a three-match losing streak with a sweep of the Valparaiso Crusaders (2-9) at the Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 12. Notre Dame used its whole bench in the three-game win (15-7, 15-8, 15-3) and earned a victory in its first road game of the year.

Notre Dame effectively rebounded after three losses to #1 Nebraska, #7 UCLA and #17 Michigan State in the adidas Invitational last weekend.

The Irish started the match slow, allowing Valparaiso to build a 6-3 game-one lead. Notre Dame’s starting outside hitters, senior Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.) and junior Marcie Bomhack (Waukesha, Wis.) helped the Irish score seven straight points to build a 10-7 advantage. Bomhack had two kills and a block in the point streak, while Girton added an ace and two kills.

Junior Malinda Goralski (Missouri City, Texas), who continued her recent solid play in the match with eight kills and five blocks, and classmate Kristy Kreher (Birmingham, Mich.) combined with Bomhack and Girton to score four straight kills to win the first game of the match.

Game two was reminiscent of the first game, but this time it was the Irish building a 7-1 lead, then allowing Valparaiso to get back into the game. After calling a time-out down six points, the Crusaders scored five straight points to cut the Notre Dame advantage to 7-6.

Irish freshman Katie Neff (St. Louis, Mo.), came off the bench and started a four-kill point streak for the Irish to build a 11-6 lead. Girton then stepped up to dominate the rest of the way, scoring the last four points of the game with two kills and two blocks.

The third game permitted the entire Irish bench to get involved. Freshman setter Kristen Kinder (Fresno, Calif.) allowed starting setter Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.) the game off. Boylan had set the Irish to a .295 hitting percentage in game one and a .353 mark in game two. Senior outside hitter Adrienne Shimmel (Mission Viejo, Calif.) was also in the line up for the start of game three and totaled one kill and four digs.

The quality depth on the Irish roster was apparent as Notre Dame built a 10-0 lead in the third game before the Crusaders were able to react. K. Kinder had three kills, five assists and a block in the game while sophomore Janie Alderete (Santa Clara, Calif.) added three aces.

Notre Dame won the third game 15-3 to earn the match victory. All-in-all, 11 Irish players scored at least one kill in the match with seven of 11 tallying more than three kills. Notre Dame also improved their series record against the Crusaders to 15-2.

adidas Invitational Recap: Notre Dame suffered a three-game losing streak over the weekend of Sept. 8-10, to three highly-ranked teams.

On Friday, Sept. 8, the Irish fell in three games (4-15, 7-15, 6-15) to #4 Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were recently elevated to #1 in the nation in the new AVCA poll (Sept. 11). Senior MB Jo Jameyson (Alvin, Texas) had six kills on 11 attempts in the match and junior OH Marcie Bomhack added seven kills and five digs. Senior Denise Boylan had a double-double in the match with 23 assists and 11 digs.

Saturday, Sept. 2, the Irish met third-ranked UCLA. After a slow start (Notre Dame dropped the first two games 7-15, 7-15) the Irish pushed the Bruins to the brink in game three, losing 15-17. Junior OPP Kristy Kreher kept the Irish in the match with 15 kills and nine digs on .353 hitting.

Notre Dame dropped its third match to a ranked opponent in the tournament on Sunday, Sept. 10, in five games (15-12, 7-15, 12-15, 15-12, 10-15) to #16 Michigan State. Four Irish hitters had double-digit kills in the hard-fought match. Junior MB Malinda Goralski had a career-high 15 kills on 28 attempts with just two errors (.464 percentage). Kreher assured a spot on the adidas Invitational all-tournament team by tallying 21 kills, nine digs and four assists. The 20-plus kill effort was Kreher’s second of the season (23 against #15 BYU on Sept. 2).

Senior Christi Girton had 19 kills and 16 digs against the Spartans while Bomhack added 13 kills and 15 digs.

Nebraska earned the adidas Invitational title by defeating Notre Dame, Michigan State and UCLA over the weekend.

Nebraska setter Greichaly Cepero earned tournament MVP honors while leading the Cornhuskers to a 3-0 record over the weekend. Kreher earned her second consecutive all-tournament team selection (she was also named to the Shamrock Invitational all-tourney team on Sept. 3) after leading the Irish in kills in the UCLA and Michigan State matches.

Twenty Years in the Making: The Notre Dame volleyball team is celebrating its first 20 years of varsity status this season. One of the university’s first varsity sports for women founded in 1980, the volleyball program is one of the most successful in school history. Of the 590 matches the Irish have played, they have been victorious in 411 of them for an impressive .700 winning percentage.

Boylan Earns Player of the Week Honors: Senior setter Denise Boylan was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week on Monday, Sept. 4, for her performance during the Shamrock Invitational (Sept. 1-3). She led the team to three victories, including a come-from-behind upset over #15 BYU. Boylan’s statistics over the course of the Shamrock tournament: 136 assists (12.36 apg), 27 digs, 10 blocks, 10 kills and five aces.

Preseason Honors: Notre Dame senior setter Denise Boylan was chosen as the BIG EAST preseason player of the year on Aug. 8. Boylan earned first-team all-BIG EAST honors in 1999 after leading the Irish with 1,132 assists and 35 aces. Her career marks of 3,291 assists and 11.84 assist per game average are both second in school history.

Boylan was joined on the preseason all-BIG EAST team by fellow senior Christi Girton. Girton had previously earned second team all-BIG EAST accolades after the 1998 and 1999 seasons. She led the team in kills (333) and digs (201) last season and ranks 10th on the career hitting percentage list with a .254 mark.

1999 Review: Notre Dame earned its eighth consecutive NCAA tournament bid after going 20-9 overall and 11-0 in conference play to capture the BIG EAST regular season title. It was Notre Dame’s fourth regular season title since they began league play in 1995.

Senior middle blocker Mary Leffers earned the 1999 BIG EAST player-of-the-year ward, becoming the third Notre Dame player to be so honored (Jaimie Lee ’96,’97 and Jen Birkner ’95).

Notre Dame returns five starters in 2000 from the ’99 team, including all-BIG EAST first-team selection Denise Boylan and second-team selections Christi Girton and junior Kristy Kreher.

Top Hitters Return: Even after the loss of Mary Leffers, the top career percentage hitter in school history, Notre Dame boasts two of its top all-time ball strikers on its 2000 roster.

Kristy Kreher put together one of the best hitting percentage seasons ever in 1999, recording 272 kills on 592 attempts with only 85 errors (.316 percentage). Kreher has moved up the career charts as well, ranking second in hitting percentage with a .294 mark entering the 2000 season. So far in six games of the 2000 season, Kreher has a .301 percentage (101 kills, 33 errors on 226 attempts).

Senior Christi Girton also had an impressive 1999 season with 333 kills and just 111 errors for a .302 mark, which is tied for the 10th-best season mark in Irish history.

Head Coach Debbie Brown: Now entering her 10th season as head coach, Debbie Brown has led the Notre Dame volleyball team to victory in nearly 75 percent of its matches, going 232-83 (.736) since she joined the program in 1991. That success came after six years as head coach at Arizona State (1983-88), giving her a 348-166 record over 15 seasons.

Brown has coached teams that have qualified for the NCAA tournament 13 times and have won nine conference championships. The Irish have won four of five regular-season conference titles since they began BIG EAST play in 1995 and also have won four of five BIG EAST tournament titles. An NCAA berth at the end of the 2000 season would give Brown her 14th consecutive post-season coaching opportunity.

Home Court Advantage To Be Tested: The Irish continued their traditional success at home in 1999 with a 10-2 Joyce Center record. Notre Dame is 165-64 all-time in the Joyce Center and the Debbie Brown era (1991-current) is even better. Since 1991, Notre Dame has won 111 of 131 home matches for a stellar .847 winning percentage.

These numbers are being challenged in 2000 as the Irish have played #1 Nebraska, #7 UCLA, #10 BYU and #17 Michigan State in the first two weeks of the 2000 season. Notre Dame also will play host to #4 Colorado State, and #20 Loyola Marymount in addititon to the 2000 BIG EAST volleyball championship Nov. 18-19.

A Highly-Rated Group of Freshmen: The class of 2004 that features Kim Fletcher (St. Louis, Mo.), Jessica Kinder (Fresno, Calif.), Kristen Kinder (Fresno, Calif.), Katie Neff (St. Louis, Mo.) and Christa Moen (San Antonio, Texas) was ranked the ninth-best recruiting class in the nation by Volleyball Magazine. Fletcher and Kristen Kinder were members of Volleyball Magazine’s “Fab 50” list of the top senior high school volleyball players in the country.

Freshmen Contribute Early in the Season: The 2000 freshmen class has made some significant contributions in the first seven matches of the year. OH Jessica Kinder and MB Kim Fletcher have been in and out of the rotation for the Irish in the first two weeks of the season. Fletcher has played in 13 of the 25 games this season, scoring 18 kills, 11 digs and 10 blocks. Kinder has come off the bench with an effective jump-serve to score eight aces and also has eight kills and 20 digs.

MB Katie Neff and S Kristen Kinder were in the starting line up of the third game versus Valparaiso. K. Kinder set the Irish to a .409 hitting percentage in the decisive game and added three kills. Neff had two kills and a block in the game.

Freshman DS Christa Moen has seen action in 10 games this season, tallying 15 digs.

First Time Opponents: Notre Dame will play a number of matches in 2000 against teams it has never met before. Number seven UCLA is the highest profile new opponent for the Irish. UCLA makes the trip east to the Joyce Center to play in the adidas Invitational Sept. 8-10. Notre Dame also will face the Florida A&M Rattlerettes and Samford Bulldogs for the first time when the Irish travel to Tallahassee, Fla., for the Lady Seminole Classic Sept. 15-16.

A Record Number of Home Matches?: The Irish have 17 home matches scheduled in 2000. If Notre Dame qualifies for the BIG EAST tournament (the top four teams in the conference will make up the tournament field) it will have an opportunity to play the most home matches in the program’s history. Notre Dame played 18 home matches in 1992 and 1996.

Freshmen Connections: Four of the five Notre Dame freshmen enjoy two different bonds. Jessica and Kristen Kinder will be the first pair of twins to take the court for the Irish. Classmates Katie Neff and Kim Fletcher are both from the St. Louis, Mo., area and played on the same club team, the St. Louis Elite.

Neff and Fletcher will get a chance to play hometown St. Louis University when the Billikens visit the Joyce Center Nov. 7. The Kinders, who call Fresno, Calif., home, will get to return to the west coast when the Irish travel to USC Nov. 24.

California Dreaming: When the Irish travel to Los Angeles, Calif., for their final regular season match up versus USC, a number of players will get a chance to play in their home state. The Golden State is home to four players on the 2000 roster: Senior Adrienne Shimmel (Mission Viejo), sophomore Janie Alderete (Santa Clara) and freshmen Jessica and Kristen Kinder (Fresno).

Texas Representation: Texas also boasts four players on the 2000 Irish roster. Seniors Jo Jameyson (Alvin) and Michelle Graham (Austin), junior Malinda Goralski (Missouri City) and freshman Christa Moen (San Antonio) will compete with California for state bragging rights in the Irish locker room. Assistant coach Lindsay Rosenthal (Austin) also hails from the Lone Star State.

Scouting the Rattlerettes: Florida A&M (1-1) and the Irish are meeting for the first time … FAMU qualified for the 1999 NCAA tournament after earning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference volleyball championship automatic bid … Junior OH Jessica Sattler notched 249 kills in 1999 and has ten kills in the Rattlerette’s two matches this year … Shante Haymore leads FAMU in offense in 2000, with 32 kills, .313 hitting and 16 digs in the first two matches of the year.

Scouting the Seminoles: Florida State and Notre Dame are meeting for the third time … the teams split their previous two meetings … FSU assistant coach Sue Woodstra and Irish head coach Debbie Brown were teammates on the 1980 Olympic volleyball team … FSU is 8-1 in 2000, matching their win total from 1999 … the Seminoles are 6-0 in Tully Gymnasium this season … Alex Seveillano leads the Seminole offense and defense with 125 kills and 84 digs.

Scouting the Bulldogs: Samford (5-3) and Notre Dame are meeting for the first time … the Bulldogs are coming off a five-match homestand (3-2) … Shellie Ouldhouse leads the Samford offense with 104 kills and has also scored 10 aces … Samford started its volleyball program in 1984 and has a 186-284 (.395) all-time record … OPP Whitney Miller led Samford in 1999 with 348 kills and 255 digs … Miller has 99 kills, 59 digs and 15 blocks in 2000.