Nov. 21, 1999
PITTSBURGH – In a replay of last year?s BIG EAST championship match but with the opposite result, the second-seeded Georgetown Hoyas defeated the top-seeded University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish 15-11, 15-10, 15-8 to win their first BIG EAST championship and the conference?s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. With the loss the Irish fell to 19-7 overall, while the Hoyas, who picked up their first win over Notre Dame in nine tries, improved to 27-4 overall.
The Irish were led by senior Mary Leffers? (Tampa, Fla.) 15 kills, three blocks and six digs, while junior outside hitter Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.) had seven kills and junior setter Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.) contributed 36 assists. Notre Dame had been going for its fifth consecutive BIG EAST Championship since joining the conference in 1995 and had not lost a match in tournament play since that time.
The Hoyas jumped out early in the championship final with a six-point run. The Irish finally caught up at 9-9 on a Boylan ace and then took the lead on a Georgetown hitting error and a Notre Dame block. With Kiran Gill serving, however, the Hoyas reeled off five straight points to retake the lead at 13-11. Georgetown then got to game point when Girton was blocked and then converted on its first game point to jump ahead one game to none, 15-11.
In game two, it was Georgetown that opened once again with the early 6-1 advantage. The Irish came to within two after scoring six unanswered points to catch up at 10-8. A kill on an overpass and a hitting error moved the Georgetown lead back up to 12-8. An under the net violation got the Irish to 12-9, but a Marcie Bomhack hitting error and a kill by Gill moved the Hoyas to match point. A Boylan kill pushed the score to 14-10, but Georgetown claimed game two, 15-10, on a Girton hitting error.
For the third game in a row, the Irish fell behind early 0-6, before finally getting on the board with an ace by Leffers. Georgetown built up a seven-point lead at 10-3 and 11-4, until the Irish scored four straight points on the serve of Leffers to come within three at 11-8. A Notre Dame hitting error pushed the Georgetown lead back to four at 12-8. Georgetown then pushed three more points to win the game and the match with a 15-8 victory.
The Hoyas were led by Yulia Vtyurina?s 16 kills, while BIG EAST Tournament MVP Kaili Stevens contributed seven kills on 12 attempts.
The Irish will travel to Stockton, Calif., Thanksgiving Day for the University of the Pacific?s Community Bankers Classic. Notre Dame faces Washington State on Friday, Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. and then will face the winner of the Pacific-Sacramento State match on Saturday, Nov. 27. The Irish will find out if they will earn an at-large bid to the 1999 NCAA Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 28.