Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Women's Volleyball Looks To Lock Up BIG EAST Title

Nov. 10, 1999

Tourney Bound
With two regular season conference matches remaining, Notre Dame is among four BIG EAST teams to already secure a bid to the six-team conference tournament held in Pittsburgh, Pa., November 19-21. Notre Dame will be joined by Georgetown (8-1), Rutgers (7-2) and Providence (6-3) and two teams yet to be determined. Connecticut (5-4) and Syracuse (4-5) would qualify for the tournament if the seeds were determined today.

The Irish will be looking for their fifth consecutive BIG EAST championships in as many tries and their eighth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Notre Dame Ups Win Streak To Six
The Irish secured their fifth and sixth straight wins last week with a 3-1 victory over non-conference opponent Illinois State and a three-game win over BIG EAST foe Syracuse.

Against Illinois State, Notre Dame had four players finish with double-digit kills, including junior Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.), who led the team and the match with 19 kills. Both Girton and sophomore Kristy Kreher (Birmingham, Mich.) recorded double-doubles for the second straight match, with Girton adding 14 digs and Kreher posting 15 kills and 13 digs.

Girton once again led the team with 19 kills in its three-game victory over the visiting Orangewomen of Syracuse. The junior outside hitter also had 13 digs to record her third consecutive double-double. Sophomore Marcie Bomhack (Waukesha, Wis.) tallied double-digit kills with 10 and a career-best four aces, while senior Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.) logged eight kills, nine digs and six blocks.

Girton Named BIG EAST Player of the Week
Junior Christi Girton was named BIG EAST Player of the Week for her strong performances in Notre Dame’s two matches last week.

Girton led the Irish in kills and digs in the team’s wins over Illinois State and Syracuse. Against the Redbirds, Girton had 19 kills to go along with a season-best 14 digs. On Saturday afternoon versus the Orangewomen, the 6-3 outside hitter tallied 19 kills and 13 digs, for her third consecutive double-double. Girton also extended her streak of consecutive matches with at least 10 kills to six.

For the week, Girton averaged 5.43 kills per game on .439 hitting and 3.86 digs per game. She joins three-time winner senior Mary Leffers as the only Irish players so honored this season.

Milestone Marks
Notre Dame’s two captains, Mary Leffers and Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.) both reached milestones in their career last week.

Leffers, a 6-4 middle blocker, reached the 1,000 career kill mark with her 17-kill performance against Illinois State last Wednesday. She becomes just the 10th player in Notre Dame volleyball history to reach that milestone.

Boylan recorded her 3,000 career assist Saturday with a 24-assist performance against Syracuse. The junior setter, who now has 3,005 career assists, needs just 28 to pass Taryn Collins for second on the career assists list.

Up Next: Villanova, Georgetown
The Irish face two very different teams this weekend in their final two regular season BIG EAST matches.

On Saturday, Notre Dame travels to face Villanova (9-18 overall and 0-9 in the BIG EAST) is in last place in the conference standings.

The Irish are 6-0 all-time against the Wildcats, including a three-game win last season at Notre Dame.

Sunday, the Irish face second place Georgetown for what could be the match that determines the BIG EAST Tournament’s top seed and whether or not the Irish take home the outright regular season conference title. The Hoyas are currently 23-3 overall and 8-1 in the BIG EAST.

Notre Dame holds a 7-0 all-time record over the Hoyas, including two victories last year, one of which was in the BIG EAST championship match.

Scouting Villanova
After finishing last season with a 4-7 record in BIG EAST play, the Wildcats will be looking for their first conference win in 1999 against the Irish on Saturday.

Under second-year head coach Heather Hoehn, Villanova is led by middle blocker Breen Eddinger, who averages 4.15 kills per game. Ruth Ann Blankenheim leads the team in digs with a 3.46 per game mark, while Tina Zitterich is the team’s best blocker with a 1.14 blocks per game average.

The Wildcats have a notable non-conference loss to Kentucky (0-3), who the Irish beat earlier this season in three games at the BIG Orange Bash in Clemson, S.C.

Scouting Georgetown
The Hoyas shared last year’s BIG EAST regular season title with Connecticut and earned the tournament’s top seed, before falling to the Irish in the championship match.

The same two players, Yulia Vyturina and Kiran Gill, that led Georgetown a year ago, also lead them this year. Vyturina, who was named the preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year, is first on the team in kills per game with a 4.91 average.

Gill, a first team all-BIG EAST selection in 1998, is second on the team in kills per game with a 4.00 mark and first in digs (3.24/g) and aces (0.52/g).

Under first-year head coach Li Liu, the Hoyas are currently on a nine-match win streak with their last loss being to BIG EAST Conference opponent Rutgers (1-3). The Irish have already beaten Rutgers back on October 9 in three games.

NCAA Selection Show
The 1999 Division I women’s volleyball selection show will take place on Sunday, Nov. 28, at 10 p.m. EST (or 7 p.m. PST).

The 30-minute show can be viewed live on television with the use of a DSS dish such as DirecTV or Dish Network. The Sunshine Network (DirecTV 632/Dish Network 422) and Empire Sports (DirecTV 626/Dish Network 432) will air the show live.

The show may also be viewed on satellite at Galaxy 6 (99 degrees west), Transponder 9. The downlink frequency is 3880 MHz (H) and the audio will be set at 6.2/6.8 mixed program.

Further details can be obtained by contacting the sports information office.

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, Oct. 31, 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 fourth time as a team among the nation’s leaders in hitting percentage with a .279 average (16th overall). The Irish fell one place to eighth in team blocks per game with a 3.33 mark. Top-ranked Penn State is currently first in hitting percentage (.333), while third-ranked University of Hawai’i is first in blocks (4.12).

Individually, Leffers leads the Irish in both hitting percentage and blocks per game. The middle blocker is 20th in hitting percentage (.369) and fourth nationally in blocks per game with a 1.74 mark. Leffers trails the national leader in blocks, Heather Bown of Hawai’i, who boasts a 2.39 per game average, and the national leader in hitting percentage, Heather Wright of Florida, who has a .465 percentage.

Notre Dame Tops District Rankings
For the third straight time, the Notre Dame volleyball team is ranked first in the NCAA District I rankings, which were released on November 3.

Other BIG EAST teams in the top 10 district rankings include Georgetown (fifth), Providence (seventh) and Rutgers (10th).

Season Notes

Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown is set to make her final appearance on SportsCentral (WHME-TV 46) show with host Bob Nagle on November 16.

SportsCentral, which airs Saturdays at 6:30 p.m., is a weekly television show produced by LeSea Broadcasting that keeps fans updated on the progress of all Notre Dame intercollegiate athletic teams. Game footage and interviews with players and coaches are all a part of the half-hour weekly segment that recaps the week’s results and previews upcoming contests.

NCAA Bids Keep Rolling
After qualifying for its seventh straight trip to the NCAAs in 1998, the Notre Dame volleyball program currently has the second-longest active streak of NCAA appearances of any Irish athletic team. The Irish have advanced to the Elite Eight once (1993) and the round of 16 three times (1994, 1995, 1997). Notre Dame has suffered only one first round loss (1992) during that streak.

The only other Notre Dame team to have more is men’s tennis, which has earned eight consecutive bids from 1991-99.

Boylan, Girton Honored
The BIG EAST also released the coaches’ selections for the six-member preseason all-conference squad. Notre Dame is represented by junior setter Denise Boylan, last year’s preseason player of the year, and junior outside hitter Christi Girton, who made the 1998 all-BIG EAST second team.

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 225-77 with the Irish and has a career record of 341-160, 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, 3-09/12 at #18 Clemson L, 0-3
9/18 Miami (Ohio) W, 3-09/24 at Wyoming W, 3-29/25 at #17 Colorado State L, 0-310/1 West Virginia* W, 3-010/3 Pittsburgh* W, 3-010/5 #23 Michigan L, 1-310/9 at Rutgers* W, 3-010/10 at Seton Hall* W, 3-010/17 USPV (Exhib.) L, 0-3^10/19 at #8 BYU L, 0-310/20 at Utah L, 1-310/ 22 St. John's* W, 3-010/24 Connecticut* W, 3-010/30 at Boston College* W, 3-010/31 at Providence* W, 3-211/ 3 Illinois State W, 3-111/6 Syracuse* W, 3-011/13 at Villanova* 1 p.m.11/14 at Georgetown* 1 p.m. BIG EAST Championships 11/19-21 @Pittsburgh, Pa. TBA
Community Bankers Classic (Stockton, Calif.)11/26 vs. Washington St. 5 p.m.11/27 vs. Pacific/Sac. St. TBA
12/ 2-5 NCAA First/Second (TBA)12/ 9-12 NCAA Regionals (TBA)12/16 NCAA Semifinals (University of Hawaii)12/18 NCAA Finals (University of Hawaii)
Home matches in boldAll times local*BIG EAST Conference Matches^Does not count toward record

AVCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll
November 9, 1999

Rk School ('99 record)       Points (1st) 1.  Penn State (24-1)        1,491 (55) 2.  Stanford (21-2)          1,437 (5)  3.  Hawai'i (20-1)           1,361 4.  Florida (23-2)           1,301 5.  Pacific (23-2)           1,254 6.  LBSU (21-2)              1,216 7.  UCLA (22-2)              1,168 8.  Pepperdine (19-2)        1,033 9.  UC Santa Barbara (20-5)  1,02310.  BYU  (21-3)                95911.  Colorado State (22-1)      90512.  Nebraska (19-5)            84513.  Clemson (26-1)             75914.  Texas (17-5)               70015.  Texas A&M  (19-5)          66716.  USC (16-6)                 60517.  Northern Iowa (24-0)       52818.  Arizona (15-8)             41619.  Kansas State (16-6)        35920.  Minnesota (22-5)           35521.  San Diego (19-4)           31522.  Colorado (15-8)            24223.  Baylor (21-6)              24124.  Arkansas (23-5)            11625.  North Carolina (21-5)       95

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.)
  • Jo Jameyson, Jr., 6-1 (Alvin, Texas)

Defensive Specialists

  • Adrienne Shimmel, Jr., 5-10 (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
  • Keara Coughlin, Fr., 5-7 (Chicago, Ill.)

Volleyball Magazine Poll
November 8, 1999

 R   School              1999 Record 1.  Penn State              24-1 2.  Stanford                21-2 3.  Florida                 23-2 4.  Long Beach State        21-2 5.  Hawai'i                 20-1 6.  Pacific                 23-2 7.  UCLA                    22-2 8.  Colorado State          22-1 9.  Nebraska                19-510.  Brigham Young           21-311.  UC Santa Barbara        20-512.  Pepperdine              19-213.  Texas                   17-514.  Clemson                 26-115.  USC                     16-616.  San Diego               19-417.  Texas A&M               19-518.  Northern Iowa           24-019.  Baylor                  21-620.  Kansas State            16-6  

1999 NCAA District Rankings (11/3)

Rank  Team           Record    1.  NOTRE DAME      14-6    2.  Temple          16-4      3.  Xavier          18-6    4.  Rhode Island    12-7    5.  Georgetown      23-3    6.  Dayton         12-10    7.  Providence     13-10    8.  Massachusetts  12-10    9.  Hofstra         19-5   10.  Rutgers        13-12  

Current BIG EAST Standings

                       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   3-610. Boston College    12-15   3-611. West Virginia     11-15   3-6  12. Villanova          9-18   0-9


BIG EAST Players of the Week

9/6   - Mary Leffers, Notre Dame        Yulia Vyturina, Georgetown9/13  - Melissa Alpers, Pittsburgh9/20  - Kiran Gill, Georgetown        Olga Roudavski, St. John's9/27  - Breen Eddinger, Villanova        Dana Fiume, Syracuse10/4  - Mary Leffers, Notre Dame        Lola Opadiran, Rutgers10/11 - Mary Leffers, Notre Dame        Chanice Harris, Connecticut10/18 - Yulia Vtyurina, Georgetown10/25 - Rachel Watson, Syracuse11/1  - Colleen Lee, Providence11/8  - Christi Girton, Notre Dame

BIG EAST Rookies of the Week

9/6   - Melissa Wooley, Connecticut 9/13  - Lauren Warner, Georgetown9/20  - Lauren Warner, Georgetown 9/27  - Erin Birunas, Villanova10/4  - Lauren Warner, Georgetown10/11 - Carrie Norris, Pittsburgh10/18 - Melissa Wooley, Connecticut10/25 - Jen Crownover, Syracuse        Tari Boutin, Pittsburgh11/1  - Pualani Tuyay, Rutgers11/8  - Carrie Norris, Pittsburgh