Aug. 13, 2001
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team has been ranked #20 in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Top 25, released on August 13. The Irish return 10 monogram winners and four starters from last season’s 26-7 team that finished ranked 21st in the nation.
“It is a good starting point for us,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said.
“It is nice that there are coaches across the country who believe we are worth of this position. That kind of recognition is something we want for our program. Hopefully, we can prove worthy of this ranking and move up to an even higher position this season.”
The 2001 Irish will feature BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year senior opposite Kristy Kreher (Birmingham, Mich.) to lead the offense, as well as all-BIG EAST preseason pick senior outside hitter Marcie Bomhack (Waukesha, Wis.). Kreher posted 440 kills and 269 digs last season and is currently ranked first on Notre Dame’s all-time hitting percentage list (.321). Bomhack earned all-BIG EAST second-team honors last year, accumulating 324 kills and 258 digs and will combine with Kreher to carry most of the offensive load for the team this season.
The Irish also feature returning starter Malinda Goralski (Missouri City, Texas) at middle blocker and junior defensive specialists Janie Alderete (Santa Clara, Calif.) and Keara Coughlin (Chicago, Ill.). Goralski led the team in blocks last season (144, including 19 solo blocks) and hitting percentage (.380), while also reaching a career high in kills.
Looking ahead at the 2001 schedule, the Irish will face three ranked teams in just the second weekend of competition this season. Notre Dame will travel to the U.S. Bank/Arby’s Tournament in Lincoln, Neb., Sept. 7-9, where it will face preseason #1 and defending National Champion Nebraska, #7 UCLA and #17 Pepperdine in a round-robin tournament. The Irish and the Huskers will meet just six hours before the Notre Dame – Nebraska football match up in Lincoln on Sept. 8. Preseason #9 Florida is Notre Dame’s last regular-season scheduled match on Nov. 24 at the University of Florida Volleyball Conference Challenge in Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex (Buena Vista, Fla.).
Two other Irish opponents received some mention in the poll as Michigan (Sept. 12) and Northern Iowa (Oct. 16) are in the ‘also receiving votes’ category.
USA Today/AVCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll, August 13, 2001
3. Penn State
8. Long Beach State
13. UC Santa Barbara
14. Colorado State
16. Ohio State
18. Texas A&M
19. Kansas State
20. Notre Dame
22. Santa Clara
23. South Carolina
24. Loyola Marymount
25. Georgia Tech
Also receiving votes: Louisville, Missouri, Colorado, Washington State, Michigan State, North Carolina, Northern Iowa , Utah State, Michigan, Texas Tech, San Diego, South Florida, Tennessee, Arizona State, Baylor, Duke, Arkansas, Florida State, Western Michigan, Fairfield, Cal Poly, Northern Arizona, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and San Jose State.
Bold indicates 2001 Notre Dame opponents.