Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Women's Volleyball Opens '99 Season Against Valparaiso

Sept. 1, 1999

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – After nearly nine months of preparation, the four-time defending BIG EAST Champion Notre Dame volleyball will begin its 1999 campaign at home against Valparaiso at 7 p.m. tonight, September 1, in the Joyce Center.

Top Teams At This Weekend’s Shamrock Invitational
Notre Dame plays host to some of the top college volleyball teams in the country, Sept. 3-5, at the Joyce Center in a four-team tournament.

This year’s tournament features host Notre Dame, the University of the Pacific, Louisville and Northwestern.

Pacific, ranked sixth in the preseason national poll, is coming off an impressive showing at the State Farm/NACWAA Volleyball Classic. The Tigers defeated third-ranked Nebraska, ending the Cornhuskers’ 65-match home win streak. Pacific then beat sixth-ranked Florida in the championship final with outside hitter Elsa Stegemann tallying an arena-record 39 kills en route to the tournament MVP award.

Louisville finished last season ranked 21st in the nation after falling to national runner-up Penn State and begins this year with the 26th-most votes in the AVCA/USA Today preseason poll.

Northwestern ended their 1998 campaign with a record of 15-17, posting impressive wins over Big Ten rivals Indiana (3-0), Iowa (3-0) and Ohio State (3-1).

Notre Dame leads the all-time series versus both Northwestern (5-4) and Louisville (11-2), while it trails Pacific (1-3).

Shamrock History
This is the sixth Shamrock Invitational at Notre Dame. The Irish opened by winning the first three from 1993-96, before Wisconsin won in 1997 and Colorado posted a 2-0 record last season.

Past Champions
1993 – Notre Dame
1994 – Notre Dame
1996 – Notre Dame
1997 – Wisconsin
1998 – Colorado

1998 Results
Notre Dame d. Georgia, 3-2
Colorado d. Georgia, 3-0
Colorado d. Notre Dame, 3-0

1998 All-Tournament Team
Lindsay Treadwell (Notre Dame)
Denise Boylan (Notre Dame)
Jo Jameyson (Notre Dame)
Sarah Lodge (Colorado)
Kelly Campbell (Colorado)
Kristin Dorsch (Colorado)
Kathy Vis (Georgia)
MVP – Sarah Lodge (Colorado)

On The Tube
The Notre Dame-Pacific match, this Saturday, Sept. 4, is being televised on a tape-delay basis by LeSea Broadcasting’s WHME-TV 46. Bob Nagle will be doing the play-by-play, while Dennis Brown, husband of Irish head coach Debbie Brown, will be doing the color commentary. The match will be broadcast locally at 11 p.m. EST the same night.

Dave Rosselli and Heather Awalt of KJAX-AM also will be broadcasting all the Pacific matches.

Still Among The Nation’s Best
Notre Dame received the 29th-most votes (82) in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)/USA Today national preseason poll, released August 12.

The Irish are scheduled to face three teams in the AVCA top 20 this season including sixth-ranked Pacific (Sept. 4, Nov. 27), eighth-ranked Brigham Young (Oct. 19) and 24th-ranked Colorado State (Sept. 25). Also in the poll are future 1999 opponents Louisville (26th most votes), Clemson (28th), Utah (33), Sacramento State (34), Miami, Ohio (36), Washington State (41), Illinois State (50) and Georgetown (52).

At the top of the USA Today/AVCA poll this season is Penn State, which lost the 1998 NCAA title match to Long Beach State. Penn State garnered 30 of the 60 first place votes, followed by Stanford (20), which eliminated the Irish from last year’s NCAA Tournament in the second round.

Notre Dame was rated 20th in the Volleyball Magazine poll, which also listed Penn State as the top team to beat in 1999.

Notre Dame’s History in the AVCA Poll

First Ranking: 1992 (24th in preseason)
Highest Ranking: 7th (10/16/95)
Highest Final Ranking: 12th (1994)
Con. Weeks Rank: 66 (9/9/92 – 11/5/96)

On Top Of The BIG EAST
The Notre Dame volleyball team will begin its season as the favorite to claim its fifth-consecutive BIG EAST conference title in a poll of the conference’s 12 coaches released August 12.

The Irish, who finished their 1998 season with a 18-13 record overall and a 9-2 mark in the BIG EAST, received 119 of the possible 121 points, including nine of the 12 first-place votes. Notre Dame edged out second-place Georgetown, who garnered three first-place votes, by seven points for the top spot. Following the Hoyas is Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia, St. John’s, Syracuse, Villanova, Seton Hall, Boston College and Providence. BIG EAST regular season play begins for the Irish at home at 8 p.m. on October 1 versus West Virginia.

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 (Lisle, Ill.), last year’s preseason player of the year, and junior outside hitter Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.), who made the 1998 all-BIG EAST second team.

Other members of the team include Georgetown’s Yulia Vtyurina and Kiran Gill, Rutgers’ Lola Opadiran and Pittsburgh’s Paula Zemrowski. Vtyurina was selected as the preseason player of the year.

Scouting Valparaiso
The Irish and the Crusaders have faced each other 15 times, with Notre Dame holding a 13-2 edge, including a 13-match win streak. The Irish won last year’s meeting 15-3, 15-4, 15-5 in Valparaiso, Ind.

The Wednesday night game will serve as a debut for first-year head coach Becky Madden, who took over the reigns from Nona Richardson.

Valparaiso, 10-18 in 1998, will be led by outside hitter Dion Frazier, who averaged nearly four kills (3.936) a game. Starting middle blockers Angie Nordquist and Carrie Goodrich, outside hitter Sarah Slowik and setter Jenny Rohren also return for the Crusaders.

Alumnae Make Return To Notre Dame
Some of the biggest names in Notre Dame volleyball past and present competed in the alumnae match, Friday, Aug. 27 at the Joyce Center.

Names from the past included: All-American Cristy Peters (1991-94), Byron V. Kanaley award-winner Terese Henken-Kasson (1981-83), career assist record-holder Janelle Karlan-Sanchez (1990-93), four-year monogram winners Katie Kavanaugh (1988-91) and Chris Choquette-Ford (1988-91) and current assistant coach Jessica Fiebelkorn-Kerr (1989-92).

The team of alumnae fell 3-0 to the 1999 Irish.

Kreher Named to U.S. 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., April 30 – May 1.

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 Sakatoon and Edmonton, Canada, August 28 through September 5.

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

As a freshman in 1998, Kreher played in 28 matches for the Irish mainly at the opposite or right side position and garnered 1999 BIG EAST All-Rookie Team honors. She is the first Notre Dame player to be named to the junior national squad.

New Places
This year’s schedule takes the Irish to places they’ve never seen before, namely South Carolina, Wyoming and Utah. The team’s first road matches of the year will be against Kentucky and Clemson at the Big Orange Bash in Clemson, S.C., September 11-12. Then the team will play at Wyoming, September 24, followed by a trip to Utah in mid-October for two matches against Brigham Young (October 19) and the University of Utah (October 20). By the end of the ’99 season, the Notre Dame volleyball team will have traveled to 34 states in its history.

New Faces
The Notre Dame volleyball welcomes four new players to its roster this season. In addition to middle blocker Kaitlin McEwen, who signed a national letter of intent to play at Notre Dame, February 3, the team also welcomes freshmen defensive specialist Janie Alderete and defensive specialist/outside hitter Keara Coughlin. Sophomore defensive specialist Sara Tonnies, who started practicing with the Irish last Spring, also is included on this year’s roster.

Game Change
The Notre Dame-Illinois State match is listed incorrectly on the team’s 1999 schedule card. The match will take place at 7p.m. on November 3 at the Joyce Center.

Opponents will find something a bit different this year when they visit the Joyce Center at Notre Dame.

Starting this fall, the Irish will be playing on a SPORT COURT, a synthetic playing surface, used at the NCAA championships and by the U.S. national teams.

Irish In The Pros
The Notre Dame volleyball team will play host to a 2:00 p.m. exhibition match on Oct. 17 at the Joyce Center against the United States Professional Volleyball (USPV) “Dream Team”. The first-year USPV includes 19 former college players, among them Notre Dame products Molly Stark (1990-93) and Jaimie Lee (1994-97).

The USPV will play an exhibition schedule against college and international teams from June 1999 – August 2000, with the hope of eventually starting a premier women’s league based in the Midwest in January 2001.

Lee and former Irish teammate Angie Harris (1994-97) also played professional volleyball in Switzerland during the spring of 1999 for Franches-Montagnes (based in Saignelgier) of the L.N.A league.

New On
Some new items will appear on the Notre Dame volleyball page of, the official web page of the Notre Dame athletic department, in 1999.

Features on players and coaches, weekly stats as well as all releases will be posted on the site. Currently a question and answer with head coach Debbie Brown and a preview of the team appear on the page. This weekend, look for a feature on Irish team captain Mary Leffers.

Head Coach Debbie Brown
Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown begins her ninth season at Notre Dame and her 15th overall. Brown has compiled a mark of 208-71 with the Irish and has a career record of 325-154, 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.

AVCA/USA Today Top 25 Preseason Poll

Rk  School      '98 record  Points (1st) 1. Penn State   35-1       1,420  (30) 2. Stanford     27-4       1,387  (20) 3. Nebraska     32-2       1,284   (1) 4. Hawai'i      32-3       1,258   (3) 5. LBSU         36-0       1,226   (5) 6. Pacific      26-6       1,196 7. BYU          31-4       1,186 8. Florida      5-3        1,169 9. Wisconsin    30-5         96310. UCLA         16-12        815   (1)11. UCSB         28-6         78112. Pepperdine   19-11        72213. Texas        27-5         66714. Illinois     22-11        64415. Arizona      (22-7        62116. Texas A&M    21-9         56217. Ohio State   17-14        51718. San Diego    24-6         50019. Colorado     22-7         33620. Arkansas     29-6         32221. USC          24-6         31422. Michigan St. 23-7         29423. Kansas St.   19-12        20224. Colorado St. 24-8         17325. LMU          18-8         144

Others: Louisville, Texas Tech, Clemson, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Indiana, Santa Clara, North Carolina, Utah, Sacramento State, Northern Iowa, Miami (OH), Baylor, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Houston, Washington State, Washington, Florida St., Arizona St., South Florida, Northern Illinois, San Jose St., South Carolina, Eastern Washington, Illinois State, Oral Roberts, Georgetown, Ball State, UNLV, Temple, Nevada, Ohio.

Notre Dame History in the AVCA Poll

Year  Preseason   High              Final1992  N.R.        20th (final poll) 22nd1993  19th        11th (10/26/93)   17th1994  17th        11th (11/15/94)   12th1995  11th        7th  (9/19/95)    14th1996  9th         8th  (9/3/95)     25th1997  17th        17th (preseason)  18th1998  16th        16th (preseason)  NR1999  NR          (29th-most votes)

Volleyball Magazine Preseason Poll

Rk  School           1998 Record 1. Penn State       35-1 2. Stanford         27-4 3. Nebraska         32-2 4. Brigham Young    31-4 5. Long Beach State 36-0 6. Florida          35-3 7. Pacific          26-6 8. Hawai'i          32-3 9. Wisconsin        30-510. UCLA             16-1211. Illinois         22-1112. UC Santa Barbara 28-613. Arizona          29-614. Pepperdine       19-1115. Texas            27-516. Ohio State       17-1417. Michigan State   23-818. San Diego        24-619. USC              24-620. Notre Dame       18-13

1999 BIG EAST Preseason Poll

Rk  Team         Points (1st Place Votes) 1. Notre Dame    119      (9)   2. Georgetown    112      (3)   3. Connecticut    96    4. Pittsburgh     90    5. Rutgers        83    6. West Virginia  71    7. St. John's     52    8. Syracuse       49    9. Villanova      36   10. Seton Hall     34   11. Boston College 22   12. Providence     18

1999 Preseason All-BIG EAST Team

Denise Boylan, Notre Dame
Christi Girton, Notre Dame
Kiran Gill, Georgetown*
Yulia Vtyurina, Georgetown
Lola Opadiran, Rutgers
Paula Zemrowski, Pittsburgh

*= unanimous selection

Preseason Player of the Year
Yulia Vtyurina, Georgetown