Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Volleyball Back Home For Two BIG EAST Matches This Weekend

Oct. 10, 2001

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#21 Notre Dame vs. Villanova, Friday, Oct. 12, 4 p.m.

#21 Notre Dame vs. Rutgers, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2 p.m.

Notre Dame vs. Villanova series history:

Notre Dame and Villanova will be meeting for the 10th time … Notre Dame has won all nine previous meetings, including the 1997 BIG EAST Championship match … Notre Dame won the 2000 match 15-5, 15-2, 15-9 in the BIG EAST season-opener for both schools … Marcie Bomhack contributed five kills and 10 digs for the Irish … Notre Dame is 4-0 at the Joyce Center vs. Villanova.

A look at the Wildcats:

Villanova (5-8, 1-2) defeated Providence last weekend for its first BIG EAST Conference match victory of the season … Leah Matthews leads the Wildcat offense with 155 kills (3.23 kills per game) and also is averaging 3.31 digs per game … Jennifer Edwards is the Villanova setter this season and is averaging 8.95 assists per game … Villanova’s roster features 12 players that have played in over 10 games this season.

Notre Dame vs. Rutgers series history:

Notre Dame and Rutgers will be meeting for the ninth time … the Irish have won all eight previous meetings … the Irish and Scarlet Knights met twice last season (both games at the Joyce Center), including the BIG EAST Championship match … the Irish won the BIG EAST title with a 15-8, 15-8, 15-10 victory … Malinda Goralski and Kristy Kreher both had 15 kills in the match and Kreher added 18 digs … Shayla Bush led RU with 19 kills and 12 digs … Notre Dame is 4-0 vs. Rutgers in the Joyce Center.

A look at the Scarlet Knights:

Rutgers (8-3, 3-0) has moved into second place in the BIG EAST after winning its first three conference matches of the season … the Scarlet Knights also have won their last five matches … Shayla Bush triggers the Rutgers attack, averaging a solid 5.00 kills per game on .305 hitting … one of the best hitting teams in the BIG EAST, the Scarlet Knights have a .263 hitting percentage this season … RU’s setter, Pualani Tuyay is averaging 13.47 assists per game … Dawn Christjaener is another threat in the Rutger’s offense, with 307 kills this season.

Matches cancelled:

The matches previously scheduled against Michigan, Indiana State, Tulane and Purdue, originally postponed due to the terrorist attack on the United States, will not be replayed this season.

Irish move up to 21st in latest national poll:

After a hard-fought five-game victory at Toledo and two conference road victories over the weekend, Notre Dame moved up to 21st in the latest USA Today/AVCA Top 25 poll. The 21st ranking is the highest the Irish have been ranked since Sept. 3, when they were 20th.

#21 Notre Dame at #16 Northern Iowa:

Tickets for the Reynolds Ford Volleyball Classic will go on sale-Tuesday, Oct. 9, at several locations around the Quad Cities.

The Reynolds Ford Volleyball Classic will feature #16 Northern Iowa (15-0) against #21 Notre Dame (10-3) and be played Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m., at Bettendorf High School. Bettendorf High School is located at 3333 18th St. in Bettendorf. Tickets are available at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Davenport, Temples Sporting Goods in Moline, Beaver’s East in Bettendorf, Reynolds Ford in East Moline and the Northern Iowa Athletic Ticket Office in Cedar Falls at 319-273-DOME.

Tickets are $6 with kids five and under admitted free. Doors will open for fans to watch warm-ups at 5:30 p.m., with the match starting at 7 p.m.

The Reynolds Ford Volleyball Classic will be the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame and Northern Iowa.

Notre Dame in BIG EAST volleyball competition:

Since the Irish joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995, they have posted an exceptional 69-2 (.971) regular-season conference mark. Notre Dame has also won 38 consecutive conference regular-season matches. The two conference losses the Irish suffered were to Connecticut and West Virginia (both on the road) in 1998.

The Irish are 39-0 at home in regular-season BIG EAST matches.

Goralski leads BIG EAST:

Senior middle blocker Malinda Goralski ranks at the top of two statistical categories in the conference rankings (as of Oct. 8). The Missouri City, Texas, native leads all league players in blocks per game with 1.64 (72 total). She also is ranked first in hitting percentage (.401) and plays a major role in Notre Dame’s top team ranking in blocks per game (3.33).

In the latest NCAA statistical rankings (Oct. 7), Goralski is ranked 12th in blocks per game (1.64) and 19th in hitting percentage (.401).

Fletcher emerges in the middle of the Irish offense:

Sophomore middle blocker Kim Fletcher, who earned BIG EAST All-Rookie Team honors in 2000, is third on the team in kills (120), fourth in digs (67) and second in blocks (52). Her quickness and ability to reach the entire court caught the eye of competing coaches in the 2001 Shamrock Invitational, who played a hand in voting her the Most Outstanding Player of the two-day tournament.

Fletcher set career marks this season for kills (14) and digs (10) while posting her first career double-double against Idaho in the Shamrock Invitational championship match. She currently ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in hitting percentage (.322).

The second-year middle has stepped up her blocking lately, stopping a career-best nine shots at the net against Georgetown and seven at Toledo. She is currently averaging 1.21 blocks per game.

Kreher getting back into form:

After suffering through a hitting slump early in the season, senior Kristy Kreher has returned to form. One of the top percentage hitters in Irish volleyball history, Kreher was slowed early in the season fighting off the effects of a severe high ankle sprain suffered over the summer. Recently, she has raised her hitting percentage to .294 for the season with four matches of over .400 hitting.

In the first BIG EAST match of the season she posted her second double-double of the season with 14 kills and 11 digs against the Syracuse Orangewomen. She also posted a .458 hitting percentage in the match.

Continuing to show marked improvement, the senior opposite was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week on Oct. 1, after posting 32 kills in two matches against Virginia Tech and Georgetown.

Kreher also helped carry the Irish at Toledo with a season-high 19 kills with 13 digs and 20 kills in a four-game victory at Connecticut. She is now sixth on the all-time list for double-digit kill matches (60) and is tied for fifth in matches with 20 or more kills (eight).

Alderete excels in the back row:

Irish defensive specialist Janie Alderete, who usually subs in for starting middle blocker Malinda Goralski in the back row, is becoming one of the top performers on the Irish roster. A junior from Santa Clara, Calif., Alderete has recorded more than four digs in 10 out of 11 matches this season, including five double-digit dig matches.

She was all over the court against #15 Pepperdine on Sept. 9, digging a career-high 19 balls. She has continued that form lately as well, recording 13 digs vs. Valparaiso, nine against Georgetown and 12 at Toledo.

Alderete currently leads the team in digs per game with a 2.84 average (125 total).

Not just a defensive threat, Alderete is second on the team with 12 aces this season and recorded a career-high four against Virginia Tech on Sept. 28.

Kristen Kinder takes advantage of starting opportunity:

Heading into the 2001 season, the starting setter was clearly one of the more pivotal positions on the team. After the graduation of four-year starter Denise Boylan, the reigns of the Irish offense were handed to sophomore Kristen Kinder.

The second-year player from Fresno, Calif., has responded. Leading the team to a .262 hitting percentage 13 matches into the season, Kinder has turned a possible team weakness into a team strength.

Shrugging off a lack of playing time in 2000, Kinder has helped the Irish lead the conference in hitting and is a presence across the boxscore after every match. She is first on the team in aces with 15, second in digs with 105 and has collected 23 blocks (including five solo). Her assist average is third in the conference at 12.00 (as of Oct. 8) and she also has shown the ability to provide a kill when needed – knocking down 41 shots this season (0.93 per game).

Irish forced to adjust from the comforts of home to life on the road:

Notre Dame played 19 matches in the friendly confines of the Joyce Center last season. The Irish had 17 regular-season home matches scheduled and won both matches at the 2000 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship, which was held on campus.

The 2001 schedule calls for at least 13 road matches, a number that could increase if the Irish qualify for the BIG EAST Championship. A key stretch of the Irish schedule will be six consecutive road matches from Oct. 16 through Nov. 4.

Notre Dame broke through for its first road victory of the season at Toledo on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The Irish are now 3-3 on the road, with all three losses to ranked teams (#1 Nebraska, #7 UCLA, #15 Pepperdine).

Freshman ready to contribute:

Even as the Irish welcome back 10 monogram winners to the 2001 roster, three talented freshman have joined the team and have already seen playing time early in the season. Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind.) has made a push for playing time after posting a 10-6 jump-reach in a preseason test and displaying solid offensive and defensive skills. Loomis tied for the team lead in kills in the Shamrock Invitational championship match vs. Idaho with 14. She is currently fourth on the team in kills (88, 2.20 per game).

OH Leah Nedderman (Grapevine, Texas) and MB Kelly Corbett (Mountain View, Calif.) have both impressed the Irish coaching staff in the preseason and are poised to see significant playing time off the bench. Both Corbett and Nedderman hit their first career kills against Valparaiso and also saw action vs. Syracuse on Sept. 22.

Strong schedule:

Irish head coach Debbie Brown, who led the team to two key victories over high ranked opponents in 2000 (3-2 come-from-behind victory over #15 BYU and a 3-1 win over #22 Loyola Marymount), has scheduled a number of highly-rated teams this season. Notre Dame will face five top 25 teams in 2001, including #9 Florida in the Gator’s Volleyball Conference Challenge at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex on Nov. 24. The Irish have already faced #1 Nebraska, #7 UCLA and #15 Pepperdine this season at the US Bank/Arby’s Tournament in Lincoln, Neb.

Northern Iowa, who entered the USA Today/AVCA Poll on Sept. 9 (currently ranked 16th), will meet the Irish on Tuesday, Oct. 16, in the Quad Cities.


A number of Irish players have posted career-bests during the 2001 season. Malinda Goralski tied her career high in both kills (18) and blocks (11) vs. Southwest Texas and Idaho, respectively. Kim Fletcher posted two career-bests while achieving her first career double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs against Idaho. Fletcher also posted a personal-best nine blocks against Georgetown. Freshman Emily Loomis also posted 14 kills vs. the Vandals, for a personal-best total of her young career.

Junior DS Janie Alderete set a new career mark with 19 digs against #15 Pepperdine on Sept. 9, while sophomore DS Christa Moen posted a personal-best 10 digs at Boston College.

Sophomore OH Jessica Kinder has also excelled in the back row recently, digging a career-best 10 attempts at Connecticut.

NCAA Championship selections pushed back:

Due to the tragic events Sept. 11, the NCAA Executive Committee directed NCAA committees to make appropriate accommodations, such as extending playing seasons, altering schedules and adjusting criteria for championship selection for institutions that chose not to play during the last few days.

The Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee voted to move the championship selection announcement from Sunday, Nov. 25, to Monday, Nov. 26, in order to allow greater flexibility for member institutions to reschedule contests that may have been postponed due to world events. The championship dates of competition will not be adjusted.

Additionally, the committee further emphasized its existing policy of preferred first- and second-round competition dates of Friday/Saturday as first choice, Saturday/Sunday as second choice and Thursday/Friday as third choice.