Kristen Dealy (left) and Hilary Eppink (right) look to add a few more blocks - and wins - to Notre Dame's total this weekend.

Volleyball To Host Notre Dame Invitational At Purcell Pavilion

Sept. 16, 2010

Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader | Notre Dame Invitational (tournament page)

Playing at home for the first time since the season’s opening weekend, Notre Dame will make its second appearance in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center this weekend (Sept. 17-19). The Irish will host the Notre Dame Invitational presented by Hyatt Place with Delaware, Santa Clara and Dayton comprising the four-team field.

The fourth invitational of the season serves as a final tune-up for the Irish before BIG EAST Conference play begins next weekend, when West Virginia (Sept. 24) and Pittsburgh (Sept. 26) travel to Notre Dame.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
7-2 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
[ –]

Delaware Blue Hens
6-3 overall / 0-0 Colonial Athletic
[ –]
Friday, Sept. 17 – 7:00 p.m.

Santa Clara Broncos
7-3 overall / 0-0 West Coast
[ –]
Saturday, Sept. 18 – 7:00 p.m.

No. 20 Dayton Flyers
6-3 overall / 0-0 Atlantic 10
[ –]
Sunday, Sept. 19 – 2:00 p.m.

Notre Dame Invitational
University of Notre Dame – Notre Dame, Ind.
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center

Friday, Sept. 17
Santa Clara vs. Dayton – 4:30 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Delaware – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 18
Delaware vs. Dayton – 4:30 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Santa Clara – 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 19
Delaware vs. Santa Clara – 11:30 a.m.
Notre Dame vs. Dayton – 2:00 p.m.

*all time local to site (ET)

– Live video / audio / chat / stats:
– In-game twitter: @ndvolleyball
– Notre Dame Athletics Twitter: @und_com
– Irish Alerts (text messaging service):
– Tickets: / 574.631.7356 / also available on day of match

Bump, Set, Spike …
– Irish head coach Debbie Brown earned her 450th career win to start Denver’s Pioneer Classic with a 3-0 sweep of Gonzaga (Sept. 10) … Brown, now in her 20th season at the helm of the Notre Dame program, has a record of 452-172 (.724) with the Irish.
– Notre Dame posted a .488 hitting pct. in a 3-0 sweep of Denver (Sept. 12), the program’s best single-match average since Nov. 4, 2001 (when the Irish hit .495 in a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh) … Kellie Sciacca averaged 3.70 kills/set on a blistering .582 average across the three matches at the Pioneer Classic to earn her third straight all-tournament accolade … she became the first player since 2007 to finish a match with a clip over .700 after hitting .722 against Denver … the win over Denver spanned just 1:10, tying the program record the second-quickest match played in the 25-point era.
– Notre Dame posted 2-1 marks at each of the first two tournaments to open the season before going 3-0 at Denver’s Pioneer Classic … it was the program’s first sweep of a three-match invite since 2005, when the Irish downed No. 8 USC, Oklahoma and No. 6 Florida at the UTSA Dome Rally in San Antonio, Texas … the 2005 team finished 30-4 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament … the Irish won each of their two contests at the 2009 Notre Dame Invitational with wins over New Mexico State and Wisconsin.

Series Notes …

Series history: First meeting
Notes: Notre Dame is 6-2 all-time against teams from the Colonial Athletic Association and 5-0 under Debbie Brown … Delaware’s Greta Gibboney ranks fifth nationally in digs/set with a 5.79 average … last weekend, she recorded 62 digs at the Duke Invitational … overall, Delaware averages 17.82 digs/set, which ranks 10th nationally … the Blue Hens have defeated BIG EAST opponents Villanova and Rutgers this season.

Santa Clara
Series history: Santa Clara leads, 3-1
Series streak: Notre Dame, W1
First meeting: Oct. 22, 1985 – Santa Clara, 3-0
Last meeting: Sept. 16, 2007 – Notre Dame, 3-2
Notes: Santa Clara posted wins over the Irish in 1985, 1993 and 2006 before Notre Dame captured its first win of the series in 2007 … when Notre Dame first visited the Broncos in 1985, it was sent home with a 3-0 loss … Santa Clara visited the Joyce Center as part of the field in the 1993 Golden Dome Invitational when the two squads battled to a five-set match that swung in favor of Santa Clara … No. 21 Notre Dame, playing in its fourth match in three days and second consecutive match against a ranked opponent, fell in three sets to No. 6 Santa Clara in 2006 … Serinity Phillips posted 18 kills – including nine in a decisive fourth-set win – when Notre Dame slipped by No. 22 Santa Clara in 2007 … the Irish took the match’s first set, then dropped the next two before mounting a comeback to win the last pair and wrap up the 3-2 win … the victory was the third for the Irish on the season in five-set affairs … it was also the team’s first win that season over a ranked opponent in five tries.

Series history: Notre Dame leads, 10-2
(4-1 North Star / 2-1 Midwestern)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W4
First meeting: Sept. 14, 1983 – Dayton, 3-2
Last meeting: Dec. 1, 2005 – Notre Dame, 3-2
Notes: Head coach Debbie Brown is a perfect 4-0 with the Irish against Dayton, including two wins in 1992 … Dayton won the fist match of the series in 1983 with the Irish rattling off six straight wins until the Flyers posted a 3-0 victory in 1990 … Notre Dame and Dayton were members of the North Star and Midwestern Collegiate Conferences, and met in both of the league tournaments … the two programs last played in 2005 when Notre Dame hosted the Flyers during the first round of the NCAA Tournament … the Irish won that match in five sets.

Start It Up …
Notre Dame (7-2) is off to its best start since 2005 … that season, the Irish won their first seven contests before falling to Louisiana State at the Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic in College Station, Texas, before winning the next 15 matches on the slate., BIG EAST Deal Honors To Sciacca …
Senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca missed out on the BIG EAST’s top weekly award, but was recognized nationally as a Top Performer by on Sept. 14 … the award came on the heels of being named to Denver’s Pioneer Classic all-tournament team after hitting .582 on the week and leading the Irish to three wins … the BIG EAST placed Sciacca on its weekly honor roll … Kristen Dealy was the last Irish player to earn recognition from after doing so in November 2009.

More All-Tournament Nods …
Senior middle Blocker Kellie Sciacca hit .582 across 10 sets in three matches at Denver’s Pioneer Classic (Sept. 10-12) with 3.70 kills/set and 1.30 blocks/set … sophomore Hilary Eppink wasn’t too far behind with a .561 average, nine blocks and a pair of aces … both were named to the event’s all-tournament team.

All-All-Tournament-Tournament …
Doubling up on all-tournament honors for the 2010 were senior Kellie Sciacca and freshman Andrea McHugh, who earned the distinction at the Nevada Invitational (Sept. 3-4) … each were also named to the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team to begin the season … McHugh totaled 43 kills (3.31/set) in three matches with 2.00 digs/set and 0.69 blocks/set … she led Notre Dame in scoring with 52.0 points … Sciacca was her usual steady self with 2.46 kills/set on a .338 clip and 1.31 blocks/set … against Weber State (Sept. 4), Sciacca tied a career best with three solo blocks in three sets.

Reno Aces …
Freshman Nicole Smith did not take many risks from behind the service line during the Nevada Invitational in Reno, Nev., but her performance would have caused plenty of envy from the blackjack players down the way from Virginia Street Gym … Smith fired in a match-high four aces in three sets against Weber State (Sept. 4), including back-to-back-to-back daisies to blow the match open in the opening frame … she is the first Irish freshman to knock down four aces in a single match since Beth Wildermuth, who also had four against California during her freshman season in 2008.

Early Five-Setters …
Through six matches to start the 2010 season, Notre Dame stretched it to the limit with three five-set affairs, winning two of the contests … the three five-setters are the most since 2004, when that squad went the distance in three of its first five matches while dropping two of three.

Sciacca Shreds Shamrock Invite …
Senior middle blocker Kellie Sciacca was named to the Shamrock Invitational all-tournament team for the second straight year after finishing the three-match weekend with 4.00 kills/set and a .429 hitting pct. … she posted a career-high 21 kills on a .645 hitting clip – the fourth-best average ever by a Notre Dame player in a four-set match – on 31 swings with just one error against Marshall (Aug. 27) … Sciacca then came back to help Notre Dame defeat Cal Poly (Aug. 28) with 17 kills and tacked on 10 more versus No. 18 Arizona (Aug. 29) for her third-straight double-figure kill total.

McHugh Has Huge Opening Weekend …
Freshman outside hitter Andrea McHugh was named the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week (Aug. 30) one day after wrapping up her first weekend in an Irish uniform … McHugh registered a pair of double-doubles as her 11 kills and 16 digs against Marshall (Aug. 27) came before 14 kills and 18 digs against Cal Poly (Aug. 28) … she blistered No. 18 Arizona (Aug. 29) with 12 kills and a solo block … McHugh also had an ace in each of her three matches … on the weekend, she averaged 3.08 kills/set and 3.17 digs/set with 3.42 points/set … furthermore, McHugh is the first Irish player to earn the award after the season’s opening weekend since Christina Kaelin did so in 2006.

Wide Openers …
Notre Dame is now 24-7 (19-1 under head coach Debbie Brown) in home openers … the Irish are 20-9 (.689) in the month of August and 18-6 (.750) at home in August.

Preseason Honors …
Notre Dame was picked to finish third in 2010 BIG EAST Conference regular season play, according to a vote of the league’s 15 head coaches … for the first time since joining the BIG EAST in 2005, Cincinnati emerged as the favorite in the BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll … the Bearcats were unanimously selected, receiving 196 points and all 14 first-place votes. Louisville, the defending tournament champion, was picked second … since the inception of round-robin play in 1990, 19 of the last 20 preseason favorites have advanced to the finals of the BIG EAST Championship … of those favorites, 15 have captured the tournament championship and advanced to the NCAA Championship, while 13 have taken the regular-season title … however, the last team to be selected first in the preseason poll and win the regular-season crown was Notre Dame in 2004 … Kristen Dealy and two-time all-BIG EAST choice Kellie Sciacca both earned spots on the all-BIG EAST preseason team … Sciacca led the conference in league play with a .429 hitting percentage in 2009.

Freshman Class Regarded By …
Notre Dame’s six-person freshman class – Maggie Brindock, Sam Brown, Sammie Brown, Andrea McHugh, Andie Olsen and Nicole Smith – was tabbed by as the nation’s 13th-best recruiting class … the newcomers will help replace six departing seniors which led the Irish to the 2009 BIG EAST Conference regular-season title and a national ranking … Notre Dame received the highest ranking of any BIG EAST member … USC, Penn State and Stanford held the top three spots, respectively, in the rankings … Notre Dame’s departed six-person class from the 2009 season was ranked fifth by in 2006.

Brown Knows How To Win …
Entering 2010, Debbie Brown is first among BIG EAST head coaches with 562 career wins … Louisville’s Leonid Yelin is second with 457 wins in 20 seasons.