Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Volleyball Heads East For First BIG EAST Road Trip

Oct. 3, 2002

Complete Release in PDF Format, including updated statistics, BIG EAST standings and more.
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Notre Dame (11-3, 2-0) at Rutgers (11-4, 0-0), Saturday, Oct. 5, 2 p.m. College Avenue Gym, Piscataway, N.J.

Notre Dame at Seton Hall, Sunday, Oct. 6, 12 noon Walsh Gym, South Orange, N.J.

Notre Dame heads east for first of four BIG EAST Conference road trips:

The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (11-3, 2-0) will travel through the state of New Jersey this weekend for its first two conference road trips of the season. The Irish will face Rutgers (11-4, 0-0) at 2 p.m. (local to site) on Saturday, Oct. 5, before taking on Seton Hall (8-10, 0-0) on Sunday to complete the road trip.

The Pirates will take on Syracuse on Saturday before meeting the Irish on Sunday.

A number of winning streaks on the line this weekend:

The Irish are looking to extend their conference win streak this weekend. Notre Dame has not lost a regular-season BIG EAST Conference match since a loss at West Virginia on Nov. 15, 1998, a streak of 36 consecutive regular-season wins.

During the regular-season streak, the Irish have lost just one match to a BIG EAST foe, in the 1999 conference championship to Georgetown. Dating back to that setback vs. the Hoyas, Notre Dame has won 29 straight matches against league opponents (including BIG EAST Championship play).

Perhaps the most impressive streak the Irish have compiled is their home court win streak against conference opponents. Since Notre Dame began BIG EAST play in 1995, they have not lost to a BIG EAST team on the Joyce Center floor. That winning streak stands at 45.

Notre Dame also has won 31 consecutive matches at home.

Notre Dame vs. Rutgers series notes:

The Irish and Scarlet Knights will be meeting for the 10th time … Notre Dame is 9-0 in the all-time series … Kim Fletcher had 14 kills, three digs and three blocks against Rutgers in the ’01 meeting … Shayla Bush led Rutgers with 17 kills, 10 digs and two blocks … eight of the nine matches the Irish have played against Rutgers have been decided in three games … Notre Dame earned a four-game victory (15-7, 15-1, 15-17, 15-7) in 1998 … Notre Dame is 3-0 in College Avenue Gym … Shayla Bush, one of the best players in the BIG EAST, leads the team with 227 kills (4.37 per game) and has 230 digs … setter Pualani Tuyay is averaging 12.06 assists per game.

Notre Dame vs. Seton Hall series notes:

The Irish and Pirates will be meeting for the eighth time … Notre Dame is 7-0 in the all-time series … all seven Irish victories have come in three games … Kim Fletcher had 11 kills in the 2001 meeting, while Kristen Kinder compiled 46 assists in three games … Kari Belin paced the Pirate offense with 13 kills … Notre Dame is 3-0 in Walsh Gym … Belin is leading the Pirates this season with 207 kills … she also has 51 blocks … Shawn McDonald runs Seton Hall’s offense and is averaging 11.63 assists per game.

Loomis is on a tear:

Over Notre Dame’s last five matches, sophomore outside hitter Emily Loomis has scored 22, 21, 15, 20 and 20 kills, respectively. She hit over .358 in those matches (vs. Pepperdine, at Purdue, vs. Michigan, vs. Connecticut and vs. St. John’s) and is averaging over a block per game (1.05).

Not surprisingly, Loomis was named co-BIG EAST Player of the Week on Sept. 30, and leads the team in kills this season.

Notre Dame in the BIG EAST statistical rankings:

As a team, the Irish are third in league hitting percentage (.253), first in blocks (3.82 – a whole 1.25 ahead of West Virginia in second place), fourth in assists (13.68), third in opponent hitting percentage (.157) and third in kills (15.36).

As individuals, Lauren Brewster, who is ranked seventh in the country in blocks per game, leads the conference with a 1.58 average. Emily Loomis is sixth in the conference with a 1.21 average. Jessica Kinder is third in the conference in aces (0.48).

Notre Dame leads the country in blocks per game:

With a dominating blocking performance against St. John’s last Sunday, the Irish jumped back into the lead for blocks per game average in the country. Notre Dame enters this weekend’s action averaging 3.87 blocks per game, ahead of Nebraska (3.69) and Long Beach State (3.57).

Freshman middle blocker Lauren Brewster has 71 total blocks this season, which ranks her seventh in the nation as of Sept. 30.

Notre Dame has failed to post more than 10 blocks just once this season, against Colorado.

Bench plays large role in victory over UConn:

Dropping the first game to Connecticut on Friday prompted a few mid-match lineup changes from Irish head coach Debbie Brown. Freshmen Kelly Burrell and Meg Henican saw their most significant playing time of the season and preseason all-BIG EAST middle blocker Kim Fletcher continued her push toward more time in the rotation with a solid performance.

Burrell relieved starting setter Kristen Kinder in game two against UConn. Kristen Kinder had been working through a knee injury over the past week and the limited practice time might have caught up with her. Burrell ended up with 35 assists, four digs and five blocks in the match.

Henican came in on the outside to give the Husky defense a different look and responded with nine kills and 14 digs – both career highs.

Fletcher, arguably playing the best volleyball on the team at the end of the 2001 season, has been working her way into the rotation with a burst of energy off the bench. Against UConn, the junior middle came through with a season-high 11 kills and added five blocks.

Irish sets a new standard for consecutive home victories in memorable fashion:

Notre Dame’s victory over #10 Pepperdine extended the Irish home court winning streak to 28 matches. Notre Dame has moved that total to 31 with three victories since their upset of the Waves. The 31-match streak is the longest in school history, eclipsing the previous mark of 27 matches from Sept. 9, 1993 through Sept. 2, 1995.

The Irish have not lost in the Joyce Center since a three-game setback to #7 Colorado State on Sept. 23, 2000.

During the Irish winning streak at home, they have dropped just eight games while winning 23 matches 3-0. Notre Dame also has won four tournament titles during the streak, including the 2000 BIG EAST Championship, the 2001 and 2002 Shamrock Invitational titles and the 2002 Golden Dome Invitational.

Irish set school records during classic victory over #10 Pepperdine:

The victory over the visiting Waves on Saturday, Sept. 14, was more than just Notre Dame’s first victory over a top-10 opponent since 1995. The win stretched the Irish home court winning streak to a record 28 matches and provided Notre Dame its second home tournament title of the season (combined with the Shamrock Invitational).

The match against the Waves also set two team records. The 30-32, 30-24, 29-31, 30-25 and 15-10 game scores matched the team record for points in a match (134) from Notre Dame’s five-game victory over Illinois State in 2001. The Notre Dame – Pepperdine match also is the longest in the Joyce Center under the new rally scoring rules, as the match ended two hours, 28 minutes after it began (surpassing the Illinois State match by six minutes).

Another team record was set earlier in the tournament, when Notre Dame defeated Loyola College 30-16, 30-16 and 30-14 to win by 44 points, the largest winning margin for the Irish under the new rally scoring method.

Notre Dame utilizing its front row strength to dominate at the net:

The 2001 Irish team posted a 3.42 blocks-per-game average, second to just the ’85 (3.51) and ’88 (3.57) teams.

Entering the match with St. John’s, the Irish are averaging 3.82 blocks per game this season.

Front row specialists Malinda Goralski, Kristy Kreher and Marcie Bomhack graduated last season, but a talented freshman class, combined with some experienced front line players, have shown the ability to improve the Irish defense at the net. In the first 14 matches of the 2002 season, Notre Dame dominated at the net to collect 191 team blocks and have failed to post more than 10 team blocks in just one match this season (vs. Colorado).

Try to hit through this front line:

Notre Dame’s blocking prowess has been well documented this season, but the Irish have some rotations that defy opposing teams to get a shot through. At certain times during a match, Katie Neff (6-5), Lauren Brewster (6-3) and Lauren Kelbley (6-2) are patrolling the net for the Irish defense. Add in 6-1 all-BIG EAST high jumper Emily Loomis and the Irish defensive wall becomes even more impressive.

Neff (46 blocks), Brewster (71), Kelbley (44) and Loomis (58) play a large role in Notre Dame’s 3.82 blocks-per-game average, which ranked first in the nation as of Sept. 30.

Libero addition raises dig average:

With the addition of the libero for back row substitutions, the Notre Dame dig average is at 15.14 per game for the 2002 season. Senior libero and tri-captain Janie Alderete leads the team with 162 digs, including 19 against Cincinnati during the Shamrock Invitational and 20 vs. #10 Pepperdine in the Golden Dome Invitational.

Debbie Brown coaching is in her 12th year as the mentor of the Irish volleyball program:

Debbie Brown has guided the program throughout the 90’s and into the new century, developing the Irish into a volleyball power in the BIG EAST and one of the best programs in the nation. Brown is 287-96 (.749) and has earned numerous coach-of-the-year accolades throughout her 11 years with the Irish, including the 2000 and 2001 BIG EAST Coach of the Year awards.

Notre Dame picked by league coaches to win its third-straight and seventh-overall BIG EAST Championship:

Notre Dame has been picked to win its third-straight league title this year, as voted by the conference head coaches. The Irish received 10 of 13 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Pittsburgh and Rutgers.

Two Irish players landed on the preseason all-BIG EAST squad. Junior setter Kristen Kinder, the 2001 BIG EAST Setter of the Year, and junior middle blocker Kim Fletcher made Notre Dame the only conference team represented by two players on the preseason all-BIG EAST team.

Pittsburgh’s Wendy Hatlestad was named the Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year.

The top four teams in the conference (which includes 13 teams with the addition of Miami) will qualify for the 2002 BIG EAST Championship in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 23-24.

Notre Dame has won the last two conference championships, including last season’s showcase in Pittsburgh (defeating Georgetown in five games). The Irish have won their last 27 matches against BIG EAST Conference teams and have posted 34 straight wins in regular-season league action. Notre Dame also is 43-0 at home against BIG EAST Conference opponents.

The Irish are currently 2-0 in the BIG EAST Conference this season.


The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee has introduced another rule change that will have a large effect on how the game is played. After the introduction rally scoring in 2001, the 2002 season marks the beginning of the libero era in women’s collegiate volleyball.

A libero (designated back row player) will be allowed in the lineup for the 2002 season.

A defensive specialist that does not count toward the team’s substitutions, the libero can freely replace any player that has rotated to the back row. Unlike traditional substitutions that are administered by the referee, the libero can enter the match any time there is a dead ball.

Since the libero is a defensive player, a certain restrictions have been established on the libero’s offensive capabilities. A libero only plays in the back row and cannot serve or attempt to block a shot. The libero cannot attack the ball above the net, nor can the libero set the ball with an overhead finger pass in the attack zone.

Once the libero comes out of the match, the player must wait at least one point before reentering.

Janie Alderete, Keara Coughlin and Christa Moen might all be seen wearing the libero jersey this season – a jersey that cannot match the color worn by the rest of the team.

Here is a quick look at Notre Dame’s last 31 match victories at home:

2000 –

Sept. 29, Villanova, W, 3-0

Oct. 1, Georgetown, W, 3-0

Oct. 20, Rutgers, W, 3-0

Oct. 22, Seton Hall, W, 3-0

Nov. 3, Boston College, W, 3-0

Nov. 4, North Carolina, W, 3-0

Nov. 7, Saint Louis, W, 3-0

Nov. 18, Connecticut, W, 3-0*

Nov. 19, Rutgers, W, 3-0*

2001 –

Aug. 31, SW Texas St., W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Florida Atlantic, W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Idaho, W, 3-1

Sept. 18, Valparaiso, W, 3-0

Sept. 22, Syracuse, W, 3-0

Sept. 28, Virginia Tech, W, 3-0

Sept. 30, Georgetown, W, 3-1

Oct. 12, Villanova, W, 3-0

Oct. 14, Rutgers, W, 3-0

Nov. 9, St. John’s, W, 3-0

Nov. 11, Seton Hall, W, 3-0

Nov. 14, Illinois State, W, 3-2

2002 –

Aug. 30, UW-Milwaukee, W, 3-0

Aug. 31, Cincinnati, W, 3-0

Sept. 1, Cal Poly, W, 3-0

Sept. 13, Northwestern, W, 3-0

Sept. 14, Loyola College, W, 3-0

Sept. 14, Pepperdine, W, 3-2

Sept. 21, Michigan, W, 3-1

Sept. 27, Connecticut, W, 3-1

Sept. 29, St. John’s, W, 3-1

* – 2000 BIG EAST Championship

Notre Dame ready to broadcast volleyball matches on

The University of Notre Dame athletic department, in conjuncture with the Official College Sports Network (OCSN), will provide live broadcast of Notre Dame volleyball matches this season. OCSN offers the Fighting Irish Pass, which is a subscription service that allows those involved access to all audio available on, including football games, press conferences and interviews.

Notre Dame Assistant Sports Information Director Chris Masters (who worked color commentary for Western Kentucky women’s basketball and volleyball before coming to Notre Dame) will do the play-by-play of the Irish matches this weekend, while Liz Muir, Notre Dame’s Director of Equipment Operations, will step in for color commentary from time to time during the season.

Liz Muir was a three-time all-ACC and all-region selection at North Carolina. She also was a member of the ACC 50th anniversary volleyball team.

Simply click on the “listen” link on the front page of Notre Dame’s official site,, for access to the live audio coverage.

Follow all Irish home matches via live statistics on the official athletic web site:

The University of Notre Dame official web site,, will provide live statistics for all Irish home volleyball matches this season.

The link,, will be available as soon as the matches start in the Joyce Center. Be advised, however, that the statistics displayed are not official until the game is over. The official boxscore from the match will be posted with the match recap on the volleyball home page.

The volleyball match game tracker will provide play-by-play, team statistical breakdowns and a running score board – which is updated just seconds after each play concludes in real time.

Only home matches involving the Fighting Irish will be available on