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Volleyball Clinches BIG EAST Tournament Bid

Nov. 3, 1999

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – With its two wins over Boston College and Providence last weekend the Notre Dame volleyball team wrapped up its fifth consecutive tournament bid. The Irish moved to a perfect 8-0 in conference with only three regular season BIG EAST matches remaining.

Notre Dame Rolls By BC, Survives Scare From Providence
Wrapping up its fifth straight BIG EAST Tournament bid wasn’t easy for the Irish. After rolling by Boston College on Saturday in three games, Providence charged out to a 2-1 game lead, before Notre Dame squeaked out a 15-12 game-five win.

It was the first time in 1999 that the Irish had given up a game to a BIG EAST opponent. The Irish also are now 2-0 in five-game matches this season.

Last Home Weekend
The 1999 home regular season will come to a close this week with two matches. On Wednesday, the Irish face non-conference rival Illinois State, while on Saturday, BIG EAST opponent Syracuse travels to the Joyce Center for a 1 p.m. match.

Senior Day Caps 1999 Season
Not only will the Syracuse match on Saturday, Nov. 6, be the last regular season home match, it will also be the final scheduled home match for the Class of 2000, seniors Mary Leffers, Emily Schiebout, Lauren Stettin and current student assistant and former player Mandi Powell.

Leffers will go down in Irish volleyball history as one of the most intimidating blockers and dynamic players. If the season were to end today, the Tampa, Fla., native would be the all-time Notre Dame career leader in hitting percentage (.298) and second in total blocks (529) and block average (1.41).

Schiebout battled through injury for most of her career, finally enjoying her first full season last year. The Blaine, Minn., native shared starting time with then freshman Kristy Kreher at the opposite position, playing in all 31 matches. Known for her explosive hitting skills, Schiebout reached career highs in every statistical category in 1998.

Stettin’s career also has been limited by injury. The Burr Ridge, Ill., native has been forced to sit out her last two seasons recovering from back surgery, while she was limited by the same injury to just two games as a sophomore in 1997. In 1996, Stettin played in five matches, picking up her best performance in the team’s match against Pacific with 49 assists, 11 digs, four blocks, three kills and two aces (all career-bests).

Powell played for the Irish from 1996-98 before she was forced to miss her senior season due to injury. In her playing days, the Monrovia, Ind., native was a valuable asset coming off the bench in the back row or at outside hitter, recording 102 kills and 176 digs.

Scouting the Redbirds
The Notre Dame-Illinois State series has been one of the most competitive in recent history as six of the last seven have gone to five games. In 1998, the Redbirds won a four-game match in Normal, Ill., which broke the streak of consecutive five-game matches. Overall, Notre Dame is behind in the all-time series, 5-6.

The Redbirds enter Wednesday night’s match with a 13-10 overall record and a 11-3 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference. Under 13th-year head coach Julie Morgan, Illinois State is led by junior middle blocker Kendra Haselhorst, who leads the team in kills per game (4.20), and middle blocker Jenny Kabbes, who is first on the team in blocks per game (1.50). The Redbird offense is run by sophomore Becky Weber, who averages 11.93 assists per game.

So far in 1999, Illinois State has one notable three-game loss to Clemson, which also defeated the Irish in three games back on September 12.

Breast Cancer Awareness Match
The Notre Dame match versus Illinois State will be the team’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness match. Fans can get into the match by wearing a National Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon, which can be obtained for a $2.00 donation at the gate. All money collected will benefit the Catherine Peachey Foundation, Inc., for breast cancer research.

Last Wednesday, head coach Debbie Brown was the hostess for the Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon at Notre Dame.

Scouting the Orangewomen
Syracuse has had an up and down 1999 season. Prior to its two matches on November 2, the Orangewomen have a 17-11 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the BIG EAST. Of their eight conference matches, five have gone the distance with the Orangewomen coming out on top two times.

Under fifth-year head coach Jing Pu, Syracuse is led by outside hitter Rachel Watson and opposite Dana Fiume, who recorded her first career triple-double in the team’s loss to Providence last weekend.

The Irish lead the all-time series between the two schools with six straight victories, including a 15-8, 15-4, 7-15, 16-14 win at home a year ago. Syracuse’s first and only win over Notre Dame came back in 1981.

Irish Among National Leaders
The Notre Dame volleyball squad is leaving its mark as one of the nation’s top teams. In national statistics released last Sunday, Oct. 24, the Irish were listed as a team in two categories, while senior Mary Leffers was ranked individually in blocks per game.

Notre Dame appeared for the third time as a team among the nation’s leaders in hitting percentage with a .275 average (17th overall). The Irish also continued their hike up the national ladder in blocks per game, ranking seventh overall for the second straight week with a 3.28 mark. Top-ranked Penn State is currently first in hitting percentage (.333), while third-ranked University of Hawai’i is first in blocks (3.97).

Individually, Leffers leads the Irish in both hitting percentage and blocks per game. The middle blocker is second nationally in blocks per game with a 1.78 mark. Leffers trails the national leader in blocks, Heather Bown of Hawai’i, who boasts a 2.29 per game average.

Notre Dame Tops District Rankings
For the second straight time, the Notre Dame volleyball team is ranked first in the NCAA District I rankings, which were released on October 20.

Other BIG EAST teams in the top 10 district rankings include Georgetown (fourth) and Connecticut (sixth).

Season Notes

DATE CHANGE: SportsCentral
Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown, who was originally slated to be on the SportsCentral (WHME-TV 46) show with host Bob Nagle on October 26 and November 9, is now scheduled to appear on November 16.

SportsCentral, which airs Saturdays at 6:30 p.m., is a weekly television show produced by LeSea Broadcasting that keeps fans updated on the progress of all Notre Dame intercollegiate athletic teams. Game footage and interviews with players and coaches are all a part of the half-hour weekly segment that recaps the week’s results and previews upcoming contests.

NCAA Bids Keep Rolling
After qualifying for its seventh straight trip to the NCAAs in 1998, the Notre Dame volleyball program currently has the second-longest active streak of NCAA appearances of any Irish athletic team. The Irish have advanced to the Elite Eight once (1993) and the round of 16 three times (1994, 1995, 1997). Notre Dame has suffered only one first round loss (1992) during that streak.

The only other Notre Dame team to have more is men’s tennis, which has earned eight consecutive bids from (1991-99)

Boylan, Girton Honored
The BIG EAST also released the coaches’ selections for the six-member preseason all-conference squad.

Notre Dame is represented by junior setter Denise Boylan, last year’s preseason player of the year, and junior outside hitter Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.), who made the 1998 all-BIG EAST second team. For other team members, please consult the bar on page three.

Opponents will find something a bit different this year when they visit the Joyce Center at Notre Dame.

Starting this fall, the Irish will be playing on a SPORT COURT, a synthetic playing surface, used at the NCAA championships and by the U.S. national teams.

Head Coach Debbie Brown
Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown is in her ninth season at Notre Dame and her 15th overall. Brown has compiled a mark of 222-77 with the Irish and has a career record of 339-160, which includes six years at the helm of her alma mater, Arizona State.

In recognition of Brown’s contribution to the University, Notre Dame’s National Monogram Club bestowed upon her an honorary monogram at the annual Monogram Club awards dinner in June 1999. She joins an elite group of six current Irish coaches to have been awarded an honorary monogram.

Notre Dame Third In Student-Athlete Graduation Rates
The University of Notre Dame has been ranked third in overall student-athlete graduation rates among the nation’s Division I-A colleges and universities, according to the latest annual report compiled by the NCAA.

Notre Dame Third In Survey Of Top Athletic Programs
The Notre Dame athletic program has been ranked third in a major survey by The Sporting News of 112 U.S. colleges who participate in NCAA Division I sports in both football and men’s basketball. Notre Dame finished behind only Penn State and North Carolina in the survey, which graded the departments on various standards ranging from on-field to academic performance.


9/1      Valparaiso        W, 3-0         Shamrock Invitational (Notre Dame, Ind.)9/3      Northwestern      W, 3-0         (#6 Pacific 3, Louisville 0)9/4      #6 Pacific        L, 0-3         (Louisville 3, Northwestern 1)9/5      Louisville        W, 3-0         (#6 Pacific 3, Northwestern 0)         BIG Orange Bash (at Clemson, S.C.)9/11     vs. Kentucky      W, 3-09/12     at #18 Clemson    L, 0-3         9/18     Miami (Ohio)      W, 3-09/24     at Wyoming        W, 3-29/25     at #17 Col. St    L, 0-310/1     West Virginia*    W, 3-010/3     Pittsburgh*       W, 3-010/5    #23 Michigan       L, 1-310/9     at Rutgers*       W, 3-010/10    at Seton Hall*    W, 3-010/17    USPV (Exhib.)     L, 0-3^10/19    at #8 BYU         L, 0-310/20    at Utah           L, 1-310/ 22   St. John's*       W, 3-010/24    Connecticut*      W, 3-010/30    @ Boston College* W, 3-010/31    at Providence*    W, 3-211/ 3    Illinois State    7 p.m.11/6     Syracuse*         1 p.m.11/13    at Villanova*     1 p.m.11/14    at Georgetown*    1 p.m.         BIG EAST Championships    11/19-21 @Pittsburgh, Pa.  TBA         Community Bankers Classic (Stockton, Calif.)11/26    vs. Wash. St.     5 p.m.11/27    vs. Pac./Sac. St. TBA
12/ 2-5 NCAA First/Second (TBA)12/ 9-12 NCAA Regionals (TBA)12/16 NCAA Semifinals (University of Hawaii)12/18 NCAA Finals (University of Hawaii)

All times local
*BIG EAST Conference Matches
^Does not count toward record

Top 25 Poll

November 2, 1999

Rk  School ('99 record)    Points (1st) 1. Penn State (22-1)      1,495 (58) 2. Stanford (18-2)        1,418 (2)  3. Hawai'i (19-1)         1,350 4. Florida (21-2)         1,294 5. Pacific (21-2)         1,251 6. LBSU (19-2)            1,216 7. UCLA (21-1)            1,209  8. UCSB (20-3)            1,049 9. Pepperdine (18-2)        99710. BYU   (19-3)             93111. Colorado State (20-1)    86712. Texas (16-4)             85013. Nebraska (17-5)          79914. Clemson (23-1)           70115. Texas A&M (18-4)         68916. USC (15-5)               58117. Kansas State  (15-5)     49018. Northern Iowa (23-0)     47619. Minnesota (12-7)         38819. Arizona  (12-7)          38821. San Diego (17-4)         23722. North Carolina (19-4)    21523. Baylor (20-5)            19124. Colorado (13-8)          12625. Arkansas (20-5)           81

Others receiving 30 or more points: Wisconsin, Cal Poly, Illinois

Probable Notre Dame Starters

Denise Boylan, Jr. 6-1 (Lisle, Ill.)

Outside Hitters
Marcie Bomhack, So., 6-0 (Waukesha, Wis.)
Christi Girton, Jr., 6-3 (Muncie, Ind.)

Kristy Kreher, So., 6-1 (Birmingham, Mich.)

Middle Blockers
Mary Leffers, Sr., 6-4 (Tampa, Fla.)
Jo Jameyson, Jr., 6-1 (Alvin, Texas)

Defensive Specialists
Adrienne Shimmel, Jr., 5-10 (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
Keara Coughlin, Fr., 5-7 (Chicago, Ill.)

Volleyball Magazine Poll
November 1, 1999

R   School             1999 Record 1. Penn State         22-1 2. Stanford           19-2 3. Florida            21-2 4. UCLA               21-1 5. Long Beach State   19-2 6. Hawai'i            19-1 7. Pacific            21-2 8. UC Santa Barbara   20-3 9. Colorado State     20-110. Nebraska           17-511. Brigham Young      19-312. Texas              16-413. Pepperdine         18-214. Texas A&M          18-415. USC                15-516. Clemson            20-117. Kansas State       15-518. Northern Iowa      23-019. Baylor             20-520. San Diego          17-4

1999 NCAA
District Rankings (10/20)

Rk    Team            Record    1.   NOTRE DAME      10-4    2.   Temple          13-4    3.   Xavier          14-5    4.   Georgetown      19-3    5.   Virginia Tech    7-12    6.   Connecticut     14-4    7.   Rhode Island    10-6    8.   Massachusetts   11-8    9.   New Hampshire   14-8   10.   Dayton           9-9

BIG EAST Standings

                     Overall  BE 1. NOTRE DAME       14-6     8-0    2. Georgetown       23-3     7-1 3. Rutgers          13-12    6-2 4. Providence       13-10    5-3 5. Connecticut      15-7     4-4 6. Syracuse         17-11    4-4 7. Seton Hall       14-10    3-5 8. St. John's       14-12    3-5 9. Boston College   11-14    3-510. West Virginia    11-14    3-5   11. Pittsburgh        9-10    2-612. Villanova         9-17    0-8

BIG EAST Players of the Week

9/6 – Mary Leffers, Notre Dame
Yulia Vyturina, Georgetown

9/13 – Melissa Alpers, Pittsburgh

9/20 – Kiran Gill, Georgetown
Olga Roudavski, St. John’s

9/27 – Breen Eddinger, Villanova
Dana Fiume, Syracuse

10/4 – Mary Leffers, Notre Dame
Lola Opadiran, Rutgers

10/11 – Mary Leffers, Notre Dame
Chanice Harris, Connecticut

10/18 – Yulia Vtyurina, Georgetown

10/25 – Rachel Watson, Syracuse

BIG EAST Rookies of the Week

9/6 – Melissa Wooley, Connecticut

9/13 – Lauren Warner, Georgetown

9/20 – Lauren Warner, Georgetown

9/27 – Erin Birunas, Villanova

10/4 – Lauren Warner, Georgetown

10/11 – Carrie Norris, Pittsburgh

10/18 – Melissa Wooley, Connecticut

10/25 – Jen Crownover, Syracuse
Tari Boutin, Pittsburgh