Aug. 14, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After finishing runner-up at the 2008 BIG EAST Conference Championship, the Notre Dame volleyball team received five first-place votes and was picked second in the league’s 2009 preseason coaches poll released Friday. Louisville tallied 186 points including six first-place votes, edging out Notre Dame and Cincinnati who tied for second with 178 points each. The coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
Louisville, who took the BIG EAST crown last season, boasts two unanimous all-BIG EAST preseason team selections in seniors Lecia Brown and Justine Landi. This is the third time – and second straight season – Louisville has been selected as preseason favorite in the conference.
Marcela Gurgel of USF, who led the conference in kills (486) and service aces (72) last year, was named the preseason player of the year. The Bulls were picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll.
The volleyball season will start on Aug. 28, with each BIG EAST team playing in fall tournaments. BIG EAST play begins with a 14-game opening weekend on Sept. 25-27. The BIG EAST’s 15 volleyball teams play every league school once for a 14-game schedule. The top eight finishers in the BIG EAST standings based on winning percentage advance to the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship hosted by Louisville at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
First-round action of the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship will begin on Nov. 20. The event spans three days and is single elimination. ESPNU will televise the championship game on Nov. 22 at 3:00 p.m. (ET). The tournament champion will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA’s 29th Annual Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Notre Dame starts its 30th season of varsity action Aug. 28 against Denver on the opening day of the Shamrock Invitational. The match at the Joyce Center will begin at 7:00 p.m.
2009 BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Awards and Coaches Poll
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the YearMarcela Gurgel, USF, Sr., OH
All-BIG EAST Preseason Team*Lecia Brown, Louisville, Sr., MBMeagan Dooley, Pittsburgh, Sr., MHAnnie Fesl, Cincinnati, Jr., S*Marcela Gurgel, USF, Sr., OHChristina Kaelin, Notre Dame, Sr., OH*Justine Landi, Louisville, Sr., OPPKacie MacTavish, Syracuse, Sr. OHAllie Matters, Seton Hall, Sr., OHChauntay Mickens, Connecticut, Sr., OHSarah Morton, Syracuse, Sr., MB*Stephanie Niemer, Cincinnati, Jr., OHKellie Sciacca, Notre Dame, Jr., MB* - unanimous selection
Coaches Poll(team - first place votes - points)1. Louisville (6) 1862. Notre Dame (5) 1782. Cincinnati (4) 1784. USF 1515. St. John's 1446. Marquette 1197. Connecticut 1188. Pittsburgh 1079. Syracuse 10310. Villanova 7411. Georgetown 6712. Seton Hall 6413. DePaul 3514. Rutgers 3315. West Virginia 18