Oct. 4, 2001
Notre Dame Volleyball Release
#22 Notre Dame at Boston College, Saturday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m.
#22 Notre Dame at Connecticut, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2 p.m.
Boston College match start time changed:
When the Irish travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to take on BIG EAST Conference opponent Boston College, the match will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. The match was originally scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m., but was moved after a Boston College football game time change.
Notre Dame vs. Boston College series history:
Notre Dame and Boston College will be meeting for the eighth time … the Irish have posted a 7-0 record in the series … Marcie Bomhack had six kills and nine digs in the 2000 meeting (a 15-6, 15-2, 15-7 Irish victory) … Notre Dame setter Kristen Kinder added 16 assists in just over one game of action … Rachel Bach had six kills for the Eagles, while Nancy Legan added three kills, two digs and two blocks … Notre Dame is 3-0 at Power Gym.
A look at the Eagles:
Boston College (11-4, 1-1) is coming off a three-game victory at Harvard, Wednesday, Oct. 3 … four BC hitters have posted over 100 kills so far this season, led by Rachel Bach with 3.11 per game … the Eagles are hitting .235 as a team and setter Jessica Brizzolara is averaging 11.55 assists per game … the Eagles are 1-1 in the BIG EAST this season, earning a three-game victory over Villanova and dropping a three-game match to Rutgers … Boston College has won five straight at Power Gym.
Notre Dame vs. Connecticut series history:
Notre Dame and Connecticut will be meeting for the 10th time … the Irish hold a 8-1 advantage in the series … Notre Dame earned two victories over the Huskies in 2000, a five-game battle in Storrs and a three-game victory in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship at the Joyce Center … Kristy Kreher and Malinda Goralski both posted 18 kills in the second meeting last season … Goralski added 11 blocks … Maria Shaker had 32 assists, 11 digs and six blocks for Connecticut … Notre Dame is 2-0 at Gampel Pavilion.
A look at the Huskies:
Connecticut (10-3, 1-1) is coming off two non-conference victories over Brown and Fairfield last weekend … Connecticut will face Syracuse on Friday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. … the Huskie’s conference loss ocurred at Rutgers on Sept. 21, in three games … Melissa Wooley leads the UConn offense this season with 167 kills (3.98 per game) and also has scored 19 aces … Christine Lambert and Laura Wooley have both totaled more than 100 kills this season as well … Maria Shaker is the Huskie setter, averaging 11.39 assists per game and 2.97 digs per game … Lambert leads the team in blocks with 48 (1.09 per game).
The matches previously scheduled against Michigan, Indiana State, Tulane and Purdue, originally postponed due to the terrorist attack on the United States, will not be replayed this season.
Irish move up to 22nd in latest national poll:
After two BIG EAST Conference victories over Virginia Tech and Georgetown, Notre Dame moved up two spots in the USA Today/AVCA Top 25. The 22nd ranking is the highest the Irish have been ranked since Sept. 3, when they were 20th.
Kreher named BIG EAST Player of the Week:
Senior opposite Kristy Kreher was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week on Monday, Oct. 1, for her outstanding performance while leading the team through two conference victories over the weekend.
One of the main offensive weapons for head coach Debbie Brown’s team, Kreher totaled 32 kills in the two matches (4.57 kills per game) and posted a .407 attack percentage. The senior also was highly active on defense, digging 14 attacks (2.00 per game) and blocking 13 shots (1.86 per game).
The Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year, Kreher stepped up to the challenge in Notre Dame’s match against conference rival Georgetown. She helped the Irish even the match at one game apiece with two consecutive kills to score the 29th and 30th points of game two. In the fourth and deciding game, she played a hand in four of Notre Dame’s final five points with three kills and a block to ensure a 3-1 victory over the Hoyas.
Goralski leads BIG EAST:
Senior middle blocker Malinda Goralski ranks at the top of two statistical categories in the conference rankings (as of Oct. 1). The Missouri City, Texas, native leads all league players in blocks per game with 1.81 (51 total). She also is ranked first in hitting percentage (.427) and plays a major role in Notre Dame’s top team ranking in blocks per game (3.27).
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings (Sept. 30), Goralski is ranked fourth in blocks per game (1.76) and 15th in hitting percentage (.427).
Fletcher emerges in the middle of the Irish offense:
Sophomore middle blocker Kim Fletcher, who earned BIG EAST All-Rookie Team honors in 2000, is third on the team in kills (99), fourth in digs (62) and second in blocks (41). Her quickness and ability to reach the entire court caught the eye of competing coaches in the 2001 Shamrock Invitational, who played a hand in voting her the Most Outstanding Player of the two-day tournament.
Fletcher set career marks this season for kills (14) and digs (10) while posting her first career double-double against Idaho in the Shamrock Invitational championship match. She currently ranks eighth in the BIG EAST in hitting percentage (.301).
The second-year middle has stepped up her blocking lately, stopping a career-best nine shots at the net against Georgetown and seven at Toledo. She is currently averaging 1.14 blocks per game.
Kreher getting back into form:
After suffering through a hitting slump early in the season, senior Kristy Kreher has returned to form. One of the top percentage hitters in Irish volleyball history, Kreher was slowed early in the season fighting off the effects of a severe high ankle sprain suffered over the summer.
In the first BIG EAST match of the season she posted her first double-double of the season with 14 kills and 11 digs against the Syracuse Orangewomen. She also posted a .458 hitting percentage in the match.
Continuing to show marked improvement, the senior opposite was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week on Oct. 1, after posting 32 kills in two matches against Virginia Tech and Georgetown.
Kreher also helped carry the Irish at Toledo with a season-high 19 kills with 13 digs for her third double-double of the season. She is now fifth on the all-time list for double-double matches (55).
Alderete excels in the back row:
Irish defensive specialist Janie Alderete, who usually subs in for starting middle blocker Malinda Goralski in the back row, is becoming one of the top performers on the Irish roster. A junior from Santa Clara, Calif., Alderete has recorded more than four digs in 10 out of 11 matches this season, including three double-digit dig matches..
She was all over the court against #15 Pepperdine on Sept. 9, digging a career-high 19 balls. She has continued that form lately as well, recording 13 digs vs. Valparaiso, nine against Georgetown and 12 at Toledo.
Alderete currently leads the team in digs per game with a 2.54 average (94 total).
Not just a defensive threat, Alderete is tied for first on the team with 12 aces this season and recorded a career-high four against Virginia Tech on Sept. 28.
Kristen Kinder takes advantage of starting opportunity:
Heading into the 2001 season, the starting setter was clearly one of the more pivotal positions on the team. After the graduation of four-year starter Denise Boylan, the reigns of the Irish offense were handed to sophomore Kristen Kinder.
The second-year player from Fresno, Calif., has responded. Leading the team to a .268 hitting percentage 11 matches into the season, Kinder has turned a possible team weakness into a team strength.
Shrugging off a lack of playing time in 2000, Kinder has helped the Irish lead the conference in hitting and is a presence across the boxscore after every match. She is tied for first on the team in aces with 12, tied for second in digs with 89 and has collected 22 blocks (including four solo). Her assist average is second in the conference at 11.88 (as of Oct. 1) and she also has shown the ability to provide a kill when needed – knocking down 35 shots this season (0.95 per game).
Notre Dame in BIG EAST volleyball competition:
Since the Irish joined the BIG EAST Conference in 1995, they have posted an exceptional 67-2 (.971) regular-season conference mark. Notre Dame has also won 36 consecutive conference regular-season matches. The two conference losses the Irish suffered were to Connecticut and West Virginia (both on the road) in 1998.
The Irish are 39-0 at home in regular-season BIG EAST matches.
Robin Davis, most recently an assistant at Northern Arizona, has joined the Irish staff as an assistant. Davis replaces Lindsay Rosenthal and will help the Irish in the day-to-day business of the program, recruiting and on-court teaching.
Davis also has head coaching experience at Biola (Calif.) University. He coached 10 years at Biola, then moved on to Northern Arizona, helping them qualify for the NCAA Tournament in 1999 and 2000 while capturing the Big Sky Conference Co-Championship in 2000.
Irish forced to adjust from the comforts of home to life on the road:
Notre Dame played 19 matches in the friendly confines of the Joyce Center last season. The Irish had 17 regular-season home matches scheduled and won both matches at the 2000 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship, which was held on campus.
The 2001 schedule calls for at least 13 road matches, a number that could increase if the Irish qualify for the BIG EAST Championship. A key stretch of the Irish schedule will be six consecutive road matches from Oct. 16 through Nov. 4.
Notre Dame broke through for its first road victory of the season at Toledo on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The Irish are now 1-3 on the road, with all three losses to ranked teams (#1 Nebraska, #7 UCLA, #15 Pepperdine).
Freshman ready to contribute:
Even as the Irish welcome back 10 monogram winners to the 2001 roster, three talented freshman have joined the team and have already seen playing time early in the season. Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind.) has made a push for playing time after posting a 10-6 jump-reach in a preseason test and displaying solid offensive and defensive skills. Loomis tied for the team lead in kills in the Shamrock Invitational championship match vs. Idaho with 14. She also tied for a team-high with eight kills vs. #15 Pepperdine at the U.S.Bank/Arby’s Tournament in Lincoln, Neb.
OH Leah Nedderman (Grapevine, Texas) and MB Kelly Corbett (Mountain View, Calif.) have both impressed the Irish coaching staff in the preseason and are poised to see significant playing time off the bench. Both Corbett and Nedderman hit their first career kills against Valparaiso and also saw action vs. Syracuse on Sept. 22.
Irish head coach Debbie Brown, who led the team to two key victories over high ranked opponents in 2000 (3-2 come-from-behind victory over #15 BYU and a 3-1 win over #22 Loyola Marymount), has scheduled a number of highly-rated teams this season. Notre Dame will face five top 25 teams in 2001, including #8 Florida in the Gator’s Volleyball Conference Challenge at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex on Nov. 24. The Irish have already faced #1 Nebraska, #7 UCLA and #15 Pepperdine this season at the US Bank/Arby’s Tournament in Lincoln, Neb.
Northern Iowa, who entered the USA Today/AVCA Poll on Sept. 9 (currently ranked 18th), will meet the Irish on Tuesday, Oct. 16, in the Quad Cities.
A number of Irish players have posted career-bests during the 2001 season. Malinda Goralski tied her career high in both kills (18) and blocks (11) vs. Southwest Texas and Idaho, respectively. Kim Fletcher posted two career-bests while achieving her first career double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs against Idaho. Fletcher also posted a personal-best nine blocks against Georgetown. Freshman Emily Loomis also posted 14 kills vs. the Vandals, for a personal-best total of her young career.
Junior DS Janie Alderete set a new career mark with 19 digs against #15 Pepperdine on Sept. 9. Alderete followed up her career-high digs effort with 13 against Valparaiso on Tuesday.