Junior preseason all-BIG EAST player Kellie Sciacca

Volleyball 2009 Season Lidlifter Slated For Friday

Aug. 27, 2009

Shamrock Invitational – Tournament Site
Game Notes: Notre Dame | Stanford | LSU | Denver

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With the preseason already in the books the Notre Dame volleyball team looks ahead to Friday when the regular season starts with the Shamrock Invitational at the Joyce Center. The Irish will face Denver on Friday (Aug. 28) at 7:00 p.m. (ET), followed by matches against Stanford (Aug. 29) and LSU (Aug. 30).

Shamrock Invitational
Joyce Center Fieldhouse • Notre Dame, Ind.
Friday-Sunday, Aug. 28-30
Live stats: und.com
Text Alerts: Sign up on volleyball page at und.com
Tickets: 574.631.7356 / und.com / Joyce Center (gate 3) on game night

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
0-0 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
[und.com • bigeast.org]

Denver Pioneers
0-0 overall / 0-0 Sun Belt
[denverpioneers.com • sunbeltsports.org]

LSU Tigers
0-0 overall / 0-0 Southeastern
[lsusports.net • secsports.com]

No. 5 Stanford Cardinal
0-0 overall / 0-0 Pacific-10
[gostanford.com • pac-10.org]

Tournament Schedule
Aug. 28 – 5:00 – Stanford vs. LSU
Aug. 28 – 7:00 – Notre Dame vs. Denver
Aug. 29 – 4:00 – Denver vs. LSU
Aug. 29 – 6:00 – Notre Dame vs. Stanford
Aug. 30 – 11:00 – Stanford vs. Denver
Aug. 30 – 1:00 – Notre Dame vs. LSU

*home team listed first
*all times local to site (ET)
*Notre Dame vs. Stanford match will be streamed live on und.com
*matches will be played in Joyce Center Fieldhouse

The Field …
– First meeting
– Notre Dame and Denver have never faced off on the hardwood … however, the Irish are 3-0 all-time against Sun Belt Conference squads (with each of the three victories coming under head coach Debbie Brown) … Notre Dame’s last win against a Sun Belt team came in the second week of the 2007 season by means of a 3-2 defeat of Florida International … Denver returns three starters (+ libero) and 10 letterwinners to its roster this season for head coach Beth Kuwata … the Pioneers posted a 25-7 overall record in 2008, including a third-place finish in the Sun Belt Championship … outside hitter Emmy Davidsmeyer hit .340 last season (2.80 kills/set, 2.02 digs/set) … setter Clare Maxwell led the team with 1,219 assists while adding 143 kills.

– Series: LSU leads, 5-2
– First meeting: 11.27.83 – at LSU – LSU, 3-0
– Last meeting: 10.23.07 – at LSU – LSU, 3-2
– Under the guidance of head coach Fran Flory, LSU is coming off an 18-10 season and an NCAA Tournament appearance … the Tigers are the unanimous choice to win the SEC West this season … LSU returns five starters and its libero to this year’s squad … the Tigers’ top returnees include senior middle blockers Brittnee Cooper and Lauren DeGirolamo and sophomore outside hitter Michele Williams … the trio combined for 594 kills, 224 blocks and 757.5 total points in 2008 … Notre Dame’s Serinity Phillips tagged the Tigers for 20 kills and 17 digs while Megan Dunne scooped a career-high 23 shots during the 2007 matchup in Baton Rouge … the Irish last defeated the Tigers in 2001, when 25th-ranked Notre Dame swept LSU at the Florida Volleyball Challenge in Buena Vista, Fla.

– Series: Stanford leads, 6-0
– First meeting: 9.8.88 – at Notre Dame – Stanford, 3-1
– Last meeting: 11.29.03 – at Stanford – Stanford, 3-0
– Stanford enters the weekend ranked fifth in the AVCA preseason poll released earlier this month … Stanford has started the season among the top five teams in the nation seven of the last eight years … the Cardinal were tabbed by the league’s coaches to finish third in the Pac-10 … in 2008, Stanford posted a 31-4 record and won an unprecedented 12th Pac-10 title … the team finished the year with a postseason run to its 14th NCAA title match, where it fell to Penn State in three sets … Stanford has been ranked in each of the two teams’ six matchups and Notre Dame has carried a ranking into the fray on three occasions … the Irish and Cardinal went head-to-head in the second round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.

Next week: Notre Dame will travel to Cincinnati for the Xavier Invitational (Sept. 4-6), where they will be joined by Tennessee and Michigan along with the host Musketeers.

Bump, Set, Spike …
• Notre Dame has enjoyed 29 seasons of collegiate volleyball competition highlighted by 20 Academic and athletic All-Americans … over 140 women have earned monograms as members of the Notre Dame volleyball team while claiming 608 wins.
• All-American Christina Kaelin will be flanked by five fellow seniors to spark an effort to return the Irish to the NCAA Championship for the 16th time in 18 seasons … Kaelin was joined by junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca on the BIG EAST Conference preseason team.
• Irish head coach Debbie Brown has shelved over 400 wins with Notre Dame and won five BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year awards since joining the league in 1995 … the 2009 season is her 19th at the helm of the Fighting Irish program … with a career record of 541-246 (.687) through 24 seasons as a head coach, Brown has a 424-163 (.722) mark at Notre Dame.

Inside the Numbers …
Notre Dame is: 22-7 (.759, 17-1 under Debbie Brown) in home openers, 16-7 (.696) in the month of August, 14-4 (.778) at home in August, 20-24 (.455, 8-17 under Brown) vs. Pacific-10 Conference teams, 18-27 (.400, 15-12 under Brown) vs. Southeastern Conference teams and 3-0 (1.000, 3-0 under Brown) vs. Sun Belt Conference teams … the Irish have earned 31 wins against ranked teams and 12 victories over top-10 teams.

Shamrock Invite History …
The 2009 edition of the Shamrock Invitational marks the 15th time Notre Dame will host the event … the Irish first held the tournament in 1993 and hold an all-time record of 35-6 (.854) in the showcase after posting two wins and one loss against last year’s field consisting of IPFW (W, 3-0), Nevada (W, 3-1) and Valparaiso (L, 1-3).

Preseason Honors …
Senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin and junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca both earned all-BIG EAST preseason nods, as voted upon by the league’s coaches … the duo brought home second team all-BIG EAST honors at the conclusion of last year’s regular season … Kaelin went on to rack up all-region and Honorable Mention All-America honors from the AVCA in 2009 … Notre Dame was picked alongside Cincinnati to finish second in the BIG EAST standings.

Smacks By Sciacca …
With just two seasons under her belt, junior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca already sits second on Notre Dame’s career list for hitting percentage … Sciacca’s mark of .337 still significantly trails Malinda Goralski’s (’01) best of .361 … Sciacca has totaled 567 kills on 1,156 attacks with 117 errors … on the program’s single-season chart, Sciacca’s averages of .343 (2007) and .332 (2008) rank eighth and tenth, respectively.

The Giver …
Senior Jamel Nicholas is in the lone setter on the Irish roster and cracked the program’s all-time assists list last year by bringing her total to 1,958 … Nicholas led the team in assists in each of last season’s 31 matches and has a career average of 6.10 assists/set.

The Hitter …
Senior outside hitter Serinity Phillips has 823 career kills to her name, the most of any player on this season’s squad … Phillips has done it all for the Irish, as is evident by her 2.72 kills/set and 1.77 digs/set averages through three seasons.

All In the Family …
Senior Tara Enzweiler will be joined on campus this year by a few familiar faces … two of her brothers, Thomas and Matthew, are also undergraduates at the University … moreover, each of the three were valedictorians at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, N.C.

Bringing ‘Em Back …
The Irish added two new – but recognizable – members to their coaching staff during the offseason in assistant coach Robin Davis and volunteer assistant coach Adrianna Stasiuk …Davis was named assistant volleyball coach in June 2009 … Davis, who spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Boise State, rejoined the Irish after spending five seasons with the Notre Dame program from 2001-2005 … with the arrival of Davis in 2006, Boise State got an immediate boost to its program … in his first season with the program, Davis posted the largest win increase for a first-year coach in Bronco history in leading the squad to 13 wins, five more than the 2005 edition of the Broncos … as an assistant coach with Notre Dame for four seasons and an associate head coach for one season, Davis helped lead the Fighting Irish to five consecutive BIG EAST Conference regular-season championships and appearances at the NCAA Tournament, reaching the round of 16 in 2005 … Notre Dame also finished that year with its highest-ever final national ranking – No. 12 in the AVCA poll and No. 11 in the Volleyball Magazine poll … Stasiuk was a four-time monogram winner with the Irish volleyball team from 2003-2007 … a three-time all-BIG EAST honoree, Stasiuk also copped All-American honors as a sophomore and was twice named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team … she also became only the seventh Irish player ever to register 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career.

Freshmen Orientation …
Three highly touted freshmen will see action for the Irish this season … outsider hitter Marie Roof (Muskegon, Mich./Mona Shores), middle blocker Hilary Eppink (Westfield, Ind./Westfield) and libero Christina Theofilos (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley) each dominated the prep volleyball circuits in their respective regions of the country before donning the blue and gold … Eppink was part of Volleyball Magazine’s “Fab 50”, Theofolis was a PrepVolleyball.com All-American and Roof was a finalist for Michigan’s Miss Volleyball award.

This Calls for a Party …
Eight members of the Notre Dame volleyball team traveled to Florida in late April and came back to campus with the team title after winning the Collegiate Beach Volleyball Challenge at Fiesta On Siesta Key … the four tandems of Megan Fesl and Angela Puente, Kellie Sciacca and Frenchy Silva, Kristen Dealy and Serinity Phillips, and Christina Kaelin and Beth Wildermuth totaled enough points in both pool and championship play to earn the distinction for the Irish … the Fiesta On Siesta Key tournament featured 48 two-person teams … the initial stage of the tournament had teams broken into 12 pools … at the conclusion of pool play, the top 16 overall teams moved to the Gold bracket, the next 16 to the Silver bracket and the final 16 to the Bronze bracket … all four of Notre Dame’s teams won or came in second in their respective groupings during pool play.

Action Across the Pond …
Notre Dame spent nearly two weeks in Italy this past summer while posting a 6-1 record against the nation’s finest club teams on top of splitting a pair of matches against the Italian Junior National Team … Notre Dame hoisted the championship trophy after sweeping through four matches unscathed at the Margie Himmelberg Memorial Tournament in Modica, Italy. … at the tournament, Christina Kaelin was named “Best Attacker”, Kellie Sciacca was named “Best Blocker” and Serinity Phillips was named the showdown’s MVP.

Looking Back at 2008 …
With a 17-14 overall record (9-5 BIG EAST) Notre Dame secured its 22nd winning season since the program’s inception in 1980 and 18th consecutive (each of the 18 coming under the direction of head coach Debbie Brown) … the completion of the 2008 BIG EAST Championship saw the Irish earn a spot in the final match for the 13th time in 14 seasons since joining the league in 1995 … Notre Dame now sports a 27-5 (.844) all-time record in the league tournament with nine championships and four runner-up finishes … the Irish have faced Louisville in each of the last four conference tournaments while falling to the Cardinals in three of those matches – and twice in the finale … Notre Dame downed Louisville for the 2005 title … four Notre Dame players – Christina Kaelin, Serinity Phillips, Justine Stremick and Kellie Sciacca – were named to the all-BIG EAST second team … the season marked the first time ever that Notre Dame had four players on the second team … Kristen Dealy found a spot on the league’s all-tournament squad.