Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Volleyball Heads West For NCAA Tournament

Nov. 30, 1999

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Notre Dame volleyball team will head back to California for the second week in a row and for the second year in a row for the NCAA Central Sub-Regional at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. The Irish will face Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. PST in Los Angeles, Calif.

The winner of the Notre Dame-Ohio State match will face the winner of the UCLA-Eastern Washington match on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. PST. UCLA is the number three seed in the central region and the tournament’s 12th seed overall.

The Irish just returned from a trip to California after participating in the University of the Pacific’s Community Bankers Classic in Stockton, Calif., November 26-27. It also is the second year in a row that Notre Dame will travel to California for NCAA competition after playing at Stanford for the 1998 tournament.

NCAA Central Sub-Regional
At UCLA (Los Angeles, Calif.)
(1st Round – Saturday, Dec. 4)
Notre Dame vs. Ohio State – 5 p.m.
UCLA vs. Eastern Wash. – 7 p.m.
(2nd Round – Sunday, Dec. 5)
Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner – 4 p.m.

NCAA Bids Keep Rolling
After qualifying for its eighth straight trip to the NCAAs, the Notre Dame volleyball program tied the men’s tennis team for having the longest active streak of NCAA appearances of any Irish athletic team.

The Irish advanced to the Elite Eight in 1993 and the round of 16 three times in 1994, 1995 and 1997. Notre Dame has suffered only one first round loss (1992) during that streak and have advanced to the NCAAs nine times overall.

For the third straight year, the BIG EAST Conference qualified two teams for the NCAA Tournament.

Georgetown, which defeated the Irish for its first BIG EAST Championship in 1999, are making their second consecutive appearance and will face Arkansas in the NCAA Mountain Sub-Regional at Long Beach State.

Success In The Golden State?
The Irish are hoping that history does not repeat itself this weekend. In the program’s 20-year history, the Irish are 4-20 on the Golden State’s soil and 3-16 since head coach Debbie Brown took over the program in 1991.

California Connections
California is the home state of 16 current and former Notre Dame players, including junior Adrienne Shimmel (Mission Viejo) and freshman Janie Alderete (Santa Clara). It also is the home state of head coach Debbie Brown, a native of El Segundo, Calif., who attended USC (1976-77) for two seasons before joining the U.S. National Team.

ND Takes Second In Stockton, Reach 20-Win Plateau
The Irish placed second at the University of the Pacific’s Community Bankers Classic last weekend by defeating Washington State before falling to fifth-ranked Pacific in three games.

The Irish got their first-ever win over Washington State by defeating the Cougars 15-10, 15-4, 15-6. The win also was Notre Dame’s first victory in five chances at the Bankers Classic and meant that for the 11th time in the program’s 20-year history, the Irish would finish with at least 20 wins.

The Irish had two players named to the all-tournament team, including middle blocker Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.) and setter Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.). It was the second such honor this season for Leffers and the third in as many tries for Boylan.

Community Bankers Classic
All-Tournament Team

Mary Leffers, Notre Dame
Denise Boylan, Notre Dame
Angela Lewis, Sacramento State
Danielle Shinn, Pacific
Tracey Chambers, Pacific
Jennica Smith, Pacific
MVP – Elsa Stegemann, Pacific

Scouting the Field
Notre Dame has faced Ohio State once before in NCAA action in 1996 at home in the second round. The Buckeyes, ranked 12th, defeated the Irish in a five-game marathon at the Joyce Center. Ohio State leads the all-time series between the two schools, 4-3, with Notre Dame’s last win coming in 1991, the same year Debbie Brown began her head coaching career with the Irish. The Irish played Eastern Washington for the first time in last season’s NCAA Tournament, beating the Eagles in four games to advance to the second round against host Stanford. Notre Dame and UCLA have yet to face each other.

Scouting the Buckeyes
This is the eighth meeting between Ohio State and Notre Dame and the second between the two schools in the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State will come into Saturday’s match with a 16-11 overall record and posted a 10-10 record in the powerful Big Ten Conference, finishing tied for fifth with Indiana and Michigan State. Under head coach Jim Stone, the program is making its 11th consecutive trip to the NCAAs.

The Buckeyes are led by all-Big Ten honoree outside hitter Jen Flynn, who averages 3.29 kills per game and 2.42 digs per game. Big Ten honorable mention selection Rosie Snow is first on the team in kills per game with a 3.56 mark and in digs per game with a 2.69 average. Setter Katie Virtue, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, leads the Buckeye offense with a 13.08 assists per game average.

Notre Dame and Ohio State have played three common opponents this season in Pittsburgh, Michigan and Northwestern. The Irish defeated Pittsburgh and Northwestern, but fell in four games to the Wolverines. The Buckeyes beat Pittsburgh and Northwestern twice in three games, but split their two matches with Michigan.

Scouting the Bruins
Eighth-ranked UCLA, the Pac-10 co-champions, enters this weekend’s competition with a 25-3 overall record and a 17-1 mark in conference play. Under head coach Andy Banachowski, the Bruins are making their 18th appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

UCLA is led by its four All-Pac-10 first team selections, Elizabeth Bachman, Ashley Bowles, Kristee Porter and Erika Selsor. Bachman leads the team in both hitting percentage (.429) and blocks per game (1.33). Porter and Bowles are first on the team in kills (5.25) and digs (2.88) respectively, while Selsor averages 13.49 assists per game and has helped the team to a .293 hitting percentage.

Notre Dame and the Bruins have played one common opponent in the University of Pittsburgh. Both teams defeated the Panthers in three games.

Old Teammates Reunite
Should the Irish and the Bruins play each other on Sunday, two former Northern Lights Volleyball Club (Minn.) teammates and pepper partners, Notre Dame’s Emily Schiebout (Blaine, Minn.) and UCLA’s Elizabeth Bachman (Lakeville, Minn.), will face each other for the first time.

Schiebout and Bachman led Northern Lights to back-to-back fifth-place finishes at the 1995 and 1996 Junior Olympics.

Scouting the Eagles
A win by both Notre Dame and Eastern Washington on Saturday would set up a rematch of the two school’s first round 1999 NCAA match, which the Irish won in four games to advance to play Stanford.

This season, the Eagles are 24-7 overall and went 12-4 in the BIG Sky Conference. Under head coach Pamela Parks, the team is led both offensively and defensively by senior Lacey Coover, who carries a 2.92 kills per game average and a 4.61 digs per game mark. Setter Kim Maxwell, a first team all-BIG Sky selection, runs the Eagle offense with a 12.13 assist per game average. Angie Hall and Jennifer Gabel add offensive power for Eastern Washington.

The Eagles and the Irish have not played any common opponents in 1999 and would meet for only the second time in the two schools’ history on Sunday.

Leffers Named BIG EAST Player of the Year
After setting conference records for blocks and hitting percentage, Notre Dame senior captain Mary Leffers was named the 1999 BIG EAST Volleyball Player of the Year at the conference’s annual award banquet. Leffers was joined by junior setter Denise Boylan on the all-BIG EAST first team, while junior Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.) and sophomore Kristy Kreher (Birmingham, Mich.) were named to the all-conference second team.

Leffers, a middle blocker, set BIG EAST records for most blocks (67) and highest hitting percentage (.475) in conference matches and is currently ranked fifth nationally in blocks per game. She joins past Notre Dame BIG EAST Players of the Year, Jenny Birkner (1995) and two-time player of the year, outside hitter Jaimie Lee (1997, 1996).

Joining Leffers on the all-conference first team was Boylan, who ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in assists per game in conference matches (12.21). A 1999 preseason all-BIG EAST selection, Boylan has led the Irish to a .280 hitting percentage and a phenomenal .359 hitting percentage in BIG EAST regular season matches.

Girton was named to the all-BIG EAST second team for the second year in a row after earning all-rookie honors in 1997. The outside hitter ranks first on the team in kills per game (3.77) and digs per game (2.35) and recorded seven double-doubles (kills/digs).

A BIG EAST all-rookie team selection in 1998, Kreher is third in conference hitting percentage (.377). The opposite or rightside hitter has tallied seven double-doubles in 1999 and has set career highs in digs with 18 against Providence, in blocks with seven against Michigan and in hitting percentage with a .700 (15-1-20) mark against Connecticut.

Providence head coach Ken Nichols, who led the Friars to their first BIG EAST Tournament appearance since 1994, was named conference coach of the year. Georgetown freshman Lauren Warner was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.

Irish Among National Leaders
The Notre Dame volleyball squad is leaving its mark as one of the nation’s top teams. In national statistics through Sunday, November 14, the Irish were listed as a team in two categories, while senior Mary Leffers was ranked individually in both blocks and hitting percentage.

Notre Dame appeared for the sixth time as a team among the nation’s leaders in hitting percentage with a .290 average (12th overall). The Irish fell two spots to 10th in team blocks per game with a 3.31 mark. Top-ranked Penn State is currently first in hitting percentage (.332), while third-ranked University of Hawai’i is first in blocks (3.94).

Individually, Leffers leads the Irish in both hitting percentage and blocks per game. The middle blocker is 17th in hitting percentage (.375) and fifth nationally in blocks per game (1.79). Leffers trails the national leader in blocks, Heather Bown of Hawai’i, who boasts a 2.22 per game average, and the national leader in hitting percentage, Heather Wright of Florida, who has a .450 percentage.

Notre Dame Tops District Rankings
The Irish went a perfect four-for-four in the NCAA District I rankings, placing first all four times. Notre Dame is joined by other BIG EAST teams, including Georgetown (3rd) and Connecticut (eighth).

Irish Claim BIG EAST Regular Season Title
For the fourth time in five years, Notre Dame claimed the BIG EAST regular season title, doing so in perfect fashion with an 11-0 conference record.

The Irish, who joined the conference in 1995, are 53-2 all-time in BIG EAST conference regular season matches.

Leffers Sets BIG EAST Records
Capping her team’s undefeated regular BIG EAST season, Notre Dame senior Mary Leffers established herself as one of the best in conference history as she set records for both hitting percentage and total blocks.

With her season-best 10-block performance against Georgetown, Leffers finished with 67 total blocks in the 11 conference matches to surpass the previous record of 66 held by Stacy Evans of Villanova (1996).

Leffers also broke the all-time individual BIG EAST season record for hitting percentage with a .475 mark to top Sheri Kujawa of Rutgers, who had a .470 hitting percentage in 1996.

Boylan, Leffers Reach Milestones
Notre Dame’s two captains, Mary Leffers and Denise Boylan both reached milestones in their career last week.

Leffers reached the 1,000 career kill mark with her 17-kill performance against Illinois State. She becomes just the 10th player in Notre Dame volleyball history to reach that milestone.

Boylan recorded her 3,000 career assist with a 24-assist performance against Syracuse. The junior setter also passed up Taryn Collins for second place on the Notre Dame career assist list with a current total of 3,228.

Girton, Leffers Garner Weekly Honors
Two Notre Dame players, Mary Leffers and Christi Girton, were honored this season as BIG EAST Players of the Week. Leffers was a three-time honoree, earning the distinction September 6, October 4 and October 11, while Girton was the BIG EAST Player of the Week back on November 8.

Kreher Named To Junior National Team
Sophomore opposite Kristy Kreher was one of 20 players chosen for USA Volleyball’s Junior National Team following a tryout at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Although Kreher ultimately decided not to train with the team as it would cut into the start of the 1999 volleyball season and the academic year, the team, which included girls ages 17-19, trained in Colorado from July 10 – August 7. Twelve players then were chosen to compete in the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Junior World Championships in Saskatoon and Edmonton, Canada.

The team, which is in its second year of existence, consisted of nine college sophomores, eight incoming college freshmen and three high school seniors.

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 228-79 with the Irish and has a career record of 345-162, 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.


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, 3-0
9/12 at #18 Clemson L, 0-3
9/18 Miami (Ohio) W, 3-0
9/24 at Wyoming W, 3-2
9/25 at #17 Colorado State L, 0-3
10/1 West Virginia* W, 3-0
10/3 Pittsburgh* W, 3-0
10/5 #23 Michigan L, 1-3
10/9 at Rutgers* W, 3-0
10/10 at Seton Hall* W, 3-0
10/17 USPV (Exhib.) L, 0-3^
10/19 at #8 BYU L, 0-3
10/20 at Utah L, 1-3
10/ 22 St. John’s* W, 3-0
10/24 Connecticut* W, 3-0
10/30 at Boston College* W, 3-0
10/31 at Providence* W, 3-2
11/ 3 Illinois State W, 3-1
11/6 Syracuse* W, 3-0
11/13 at Villanova* W, 3-0
11/14 at Georgetown* W, 3-2
BIG EAST Championships
(Pittsburgh, Pa.)
11/20 vs. Connecticut W, 3-1
11/21 vs. Georgetown L, 0-3
Community Bankers Classic
(Stockton, Calif.)
11/26 vs. Washington St. W, 3-0
11/27 at #5 Pacific L, 0-3
NCAA First/Second (@ UCLA)
12/4 vs. Ohio State 5 p.m. (PST)
12/5 vs. UCLA/E. Wash.# 4 p.m. (PST)
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
#Winners of each match play on 12/5

AVCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll
November 29, 1999

Rk School (’99 record) Points (1st)
1. Penn State (30-1) 1,488 (52)
2. Stanford (26-2) 1,444 (8)
3. Hawai’i (27-1) 1,367
4. Florida (30-2) 1,301
5. Pacific (28-2) 1,292
6. LBSU (27-3) 1,194
7. UC Santa Barbara (26-5) 1,116
8. UCLA (25-3) 1,056
9. Pepperdine (24-3) 1,048
10. Nebraska (25-5) 934
11. Colorado State (28-2) 922
12. BYU (26-4) 857
13. Texas A&M (25-5) 780
14. USC (20-8) 684
15. Texas (21-7) 614
16. Clemson (31-2) 604
17. Northern Iowa (28-0) 555
18. Arizona (19-10) 437
19. Kansas State (20-8) 387
20. Baylor (25-8) 361
21. Colorado (18-11) 261
22. Minnesota (25-8) 239
23. North Carolina (27-5) 221
24. Arkansas (29-6) 125
25. San Diego (22-5) 110

Others Receiving 30 or more points: Wisconsin (61)

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.)
Malinda Goralski, So., 6-1 (Missouri City, Texas)

Defensive Specialists
Janie Alderete, Fr., 5-4 (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Keara Coughlin, Fr., 5-7 (Chicago, Ill.)

Volleyball Magazine Poll
November 29, 1999

R School 1999 Record
1. Penn State 30-1
2. Stanford 26-2
3. Florida 30-2
4. Hawai’i 27-1
5. Pacific 28-2
6. Long Beach State 27-3
7. UC Santa Barbara 26-5
8. UCLA 25-3
9. Nebraska 21-5
10. Pepperdine 21-3
11. Colorado State 28-2
12. Texas A&M 25-5
13. Brigham Young 26-4
14. Texas 21-7
15. Northern Iowa 28-0
16. USC 20-8
17. Clemson 31-2
18. Baylor 25-8
19. Arizona 19-10
20. Arkansas 29-6


BIG EAST Player of the Year –
Mary Leffers, Notre Dame

BIG EAST Coach of the Year –
Ken Nichols, Providence

BIG EAST Rookie of the Year –
Lauren Warner, Georgetown

All-BIG EAST First Team
Mary Leffers, Notre Dame
Denise Boylan, Notre Dame
Kiran Gill, Georgetown
Chanice Harris, Connecticut
Colleen Lee, Providence
Lola Opadiran, Rutgers

All-BIG EAST Second Team
Christi Girton, Notre Dame
Kristy Kreher, Notre Dame
Dana Fiume, Syracuse
Sarah Katinger, Providence
Amy Schweitzer, Georgetown
Yulia Vtyurina, Georgetown

BIG EAST All-Rookie Team
Jen Crownover, Syracuse
Janice Dykema,Connecticut
Anna Kleinsorge, Georgetown
Carrie Norris, Pittsburgh
Lauren Warner, Georgetown
Melissa Wooley, Connecticut


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
11/1 Colleen Lee, Providence
11/8 Christi Girton, Notre Dame
11/15 Sarah Katinger, Providence

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
11/1 Pualani Tuyay, Rutgers
11/8 Carrie Norris, Pittsburgh
11/15 Janice Dykema, Connecticut


Standings Overall BE
1. NOTRE DAME 16-6 9-0
2. Georgetown 24-3 8-1
3. Rutgers 14-12 7-2
4. Providence 14-11 6-3
5. Connecticut 17-8 5-4
6. Syracuse 20-12 4-5
7. Seton Hall 14-12 3-6
8. St. John’s 15-14 3-6
9. Pittsburgh 10-10 3-6
10. Boston College 12-15 3-6
11. West Virginia 11-15 3-6
12. Villanova 9-18 0-9


Notre Dame’s Records

In the NCAAs 9-8
At home in the NCAAs 5-1
In 5-game NCAA matches 1-2
In 2-point NCAA games 8-4

1998 NCAAs
NCAA Mountain Sub-Regional
(at Stanford, CA)

Notre Dame def. E. Washington 3-l
Stanford def. Notre Dame 3-0

1997 NCAAs
NCAA Central Sub-Regional
(at Fayetteville, AR)

Notre Dame def. Liberty 3-0
Notre Dame def. Arkansas 3-1
NCAA Central Regional
(at Madison, WI)
Wisconsin def. Notre Dame 3-1

1996 NCAAs
First Round and Second Rounds
(Notre Dame, IN)

Notre Dame def. Hofstra 3-0
Ohio State def. Notre Dame 3-2

1995 NCAAs Second Round (Notre Dame, IN)

Notre Dame def. Iowa State 3-0
Pacific Regional (Stanford, CA)
Oral Roberts def. Notre Dame 3-0

1994 NCAAs
Second Round (Notre Dame, IN)

Notre Dame def. Pittsburgh 3-1

Mideast Regional (Lincoln, NE)

NCAA District 1 Rankings
As of November 17

Rank Team Record
1. NOTRE DAME 18-6
2. Temple 20-5
3. Georgetown 25-4
4. Xavier 22-7
5. Rhode Island 16-8
6. Massachusetts 15-12
7. George Washington 15-9
8. Connecticut 19-8
9. Hofstra 24-5
10. Dayton 14-12