Nov. 19, 2000
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team (25-5, ranked 20th in the country) will make its eighth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance after sweeping through the BIG EAST Championship this weekend in the Joyce Center. The Irish earned a 3-0 victory over Connecticut Saturday, Nov. 18, then earned the Championship title this afternoon with a 3-0 sweep (15-8, 15-8, 15-10) over Rutgers (23-7).
Notre Dame, in similar fashion to its performance against UConn, used a balanced offensive attack to down the Scarlet Knights. Four Irish players scored double-digit kills in the match, led by Christi Girton’s (Muncie, Ind.) 16. Kristy Kreher (Birmingham, Mich.) and Malinda Goralski (Missouri City, Texas) both posted 15 kills a piece, while Marcie Bomhack (Waukesha, Wis.) added 13 kills. Girton, Kreher and Bomhack also posted double-doubles with 10, 11 and 18 digs, respectively.
“I am excited about the way the team is playing right now,” Irish head coach Debbie Brown said.
“I thought Connecticut and Rutgers played some very good matches against us, but we are playing at a very high level right now. When we set the goals for the year, this (BIG EAST Championship) was one of them. We are right were we wanted to be.”
The Irish offensive output was spearheaded by senior setter Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.). The BIG EAST Player of the Year, Setter of the Year, and now the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, Boylan has been the offensive catalyst for the Irish all season.
In the victory over Rutgers, the Irish co-captain posted 62 assists (20.6 per game) with 14 digs and an ace. Over the weekend, Boylan had 117 assists (19.5 per game) with 23 digs, six kills, five blocks and three aces. Even more impressive than her individual numbers is the Irish hitting percentage in the two tournament matches that Boylan set. Notre Dame scored 145 kills, while committing just 35 errors on 328 attack attempts for a .335 hitting percentage.
“Denise has really provided some significant leadership for us,” Brown said.
“She excels at controlling the ebbs and flows of the team. Her on-court leadership all weekend was excellent, especially today. Denise would not allow the team to let up.”
The Irish will receive an automatic invitation to the 2000 NCAA Championship 64-team tournament as a result of their BIG EAST title. The selection of sites and competitors for the tournament will not be completed until Sunday, Nov. 26. Notre Dame also has one regular season match remaining. The Irish will travel to Los Angeles, Calif., to face #3 USC on Friday, Nov. 23.