Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Women's Volleyball Preps For No. 8 BYU

Oct. 19, 1999

Dream Team Knocks Off Irish in Exhibition
Therese Crawford contributed 22 kills and 12 digs to lead the United States Professional Volleyball (USPV) “Dream Team” past the Notre Dame volleyball team, 15-8, 16-14, 15-11, in an exhibition match Sunday afternoon at the Joyce Center.

The Irish were led by junior Christi Girton’s (Muncie, Ind.) 11 kills, while junior Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.) had 29 assists and a team-high two aces. Senior Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.) also led the Irish in blocks with nine.

After dropping game one, 15-8, the Irish had three game points at 14-13 in game two, but were unable to convert on them as the Dream Team tied the game at 14 points apiece and then won the game, 16-14. The USPV then won the match with a 15-11 win in game three.

The USPV included two former Notre Dame standouts Molly Stark and Jaimie Lee. Stark, who played for the Irish from 1990-93, tallied 12 kills and four digs, while Lee, who played at Notre Dame from 1994-97, had 30 assists, two aces and five digs in the win.

The match also was a reunion of sorts for Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown and USPV Dream Team coach Arie Selinger. Selinger, who coached the United States to a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics, also coached Brown on the 1980 U.S. Olympic squad, which never played due to the U.S. boycott.

Notre Dame (10-4 overall, 4-0 in the BIG EAST) will be back in action Tuesday, Oct. 19 at eighth-ranked Brigham Young and again on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at the University of Utah.

Irish Among National Leaders
The Notre Dame volleyball squad is leaving its mark as one of the nation’s top teams. In national statistics released last Wednesday, Oct. 13, the Irish were listed as a team in two categories, while senior Mary Leffers (Tampa, Fla.) was ranked individually in those same categories.

Notre Dame appeared for the first time as a team among the nation’s leaders in hitting percentage with a .277 average (17th overall). The Irish also continued their hike up the national ladder in blocks per game, ranking ninth overall with a 3.33 mark. Two weeks ago, the Irish were 14th in blocks and last week they were 12th. Top-ranked Penn State is currently first in hitting percentage (.326), while second-ranked University of Hawai’i is first in blocks (4.04).

Individually, Leffers leads the Irish in both hitting percentage and blocks per game. The middle blocker is 14th nationally in hitting percentage with a .392 average, while she is second in blocks per game with a 1.91 mark. Leffers trails the national leader in hitting percentage, Heather Wright of the University of Florida, who is hitting .468, and the national leader in blocks, Heather Bown of Hawai’i, who boasts a 2.30 per game average.

Rocky Mountain High
For the second time this season, the Notre Dame volleyball team will make its way to the Rocky Mountain Region, visiting Utah for the first time in the program’s history.

The Irish will face eighth-ranked Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah on Tuesday for the schools’ first meeting since 1993. The Cougars defeated the Irish, 15-5, 15-6, 15-11, at the University of the Pacific Bankers Classic in Stockton, Calif.

On Wednesday, Notre Dame travels to Salt Lake for another match with the University of Utah. The Utes won the last meeting between the two teams in 1999 in three games at the Michigan State Invitational. The Irish won the two schools’ first meeting in 1997 in three games at the Spikeoff Spokane tournament.

Scouting the Cougars
The eighth-ranked Brigham Young Cougars enter this Tuesday night’s match with a 13-2 overall record and a 5-0 mark in the Mountain West Conference.

Under head coach Elaine Michaelis, who is in her 38th season, BYU is led by sophomore middle blocker Nina Puikkonen, who is averaging 4.22 kills per game and 1.65 blocks per game. The Cougars’ setter, Anna-Lenna Smith is averaging 13.37 assists per game, while seniors Mari Carpenter (3.83 kills/game) and Caroline Bower (3.31 kills/game) are both offensive threats.

The Cougars have posted notable wins over 11th-ranked Pepperdine (3-2), Loyola Marymount (3-0) and Utah (3-0). One of BYU’s two losses have come to Michigan (0-3), which also defeated the Irish in four games on October 5.

Scouting the Utes Utah will enter Wednesday night’s match with a 13-5 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the Mountain West Conference.

The Utes, under head coach Beth Launiere, are led by sophomore middle blocker McKelle Stilson, who leads the team in kills per game (3.71) and blocks per game (1.23). Setter Graciela Torres-Lopez, the Utes’ career assist leader, averages 12.73 assists per game.

After qualifying for their first NCAA Tournament in 1998, Utah has had two, five-match win streaks with notable losses to BYU last Friday (0-3) and a tough five-game loss to 11th-ranked Pepperdine.

BIG EAST Play Resumes
After a week hiatus, conference play will resume for the 12 BIG EAST teams. The Irish play host to St. John’s at 7 p.m. on Friday and then play host to Connecticut at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Notre Dame Tops District Rankings
The Irish are not only atop the BIG EAST rankings, but they are also ranked first in the NCAA district rankings released on October 6. Other BIG EAST teams listed in the top 10 of the bi-weekly rankings include Connecticut (4th), Rutgers (7th) and Georgetown (8th).

Head Coach Debbie Brown To Host Luncheon
Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown is slated to host a Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the monogram room in the Joyce Center from noon until 1:00 p.m.

The luncheon is part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Activities at Notre Dame.

Season Notes

Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown is tentatively slated to be on the SportsCentral (WHME-TV 46) show with host Bob Nagle on October 26 and November 9.

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 (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.

For other team members, please consult the bar on page three.

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.

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 218-75 with the Irish and has a career record of 335-158, 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.

Notre Dame Third In Student-Athlete Graduation Rates
The University of Notre Dame has been ranked third in overall student-athlete graduation rates among the nation’s Division I-A colleges and universities, according to the latest annual report compiled by the NCAA.

Sporting News Ranks UND Third In Survey Of Top Athletic Programs
The Notre Dame athletic program has been ranked third in a major survey by The Sporting News of 112 U.S. colleges who participate in NCAA Division I sports in both football and men’s basketball.

Notre Dame finished behind only Penn State and North Carolina in the survey, which graded the departments on various standards ranging from on-field to academic performance.


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 7 p.m.10/20 at Utah 7 p.m.10/ 22 St. John's* 7 p.m.10/24 Connecticut* 2 p.m.10/30 at Boston College* 2 p.m.10/31 at Providence* 2 p.m.11/ 3 Illinois State 7 p.m.11/6 Syracuse* 1 p.m.11/13 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
October 12, 1999

Rk School ('99 record)     Points (1st) 1.  Penn State (16-1)      1,478 (41) 2.  Hawai'i (15-0)         1,457 (19)  3. Pacific (15-1)          1,372  4. Florida (15-2)          1,294  5. LBSU (13-2)             1,276 6. UCLA (14-1)             1,204 7. Stanford (12-2)         1,067 8. BYU (12-2)              1,026 9. UCSB (13-3)               97510. Texas (11-3)              91411. Pepperdine (12-2)         90712. Nebraska (12-4)           85113. Kansas State (12-2)       84914. Colorado State (16-0)     76215. Clemson (16-1)            59616. Texas A&M (13-3)          55417. USC (9-4)                 51518. Arizona (11-4)            48819. Northern Iowa (18-0)      32420. Colorado (10-5)           32321. Arkansas (14-4)           24622. Minnesota (15-3)          21523. Illinois (9-3)            17324. Wisconsin (11-5)          16625. San Diego (12-3)          163

Others receiving 30 or more points: North Carolina, Loyola Marymount, San Jose State, Michigan

Probable Notre Dame Starters

Setter Denise Boylan, Jr. 6-1 (Lisle, Ill.)
Outside Hitters Marcie Bomhack, So., 6-0 (Waukesha, Wis.)Christi Girton, Jr., 6-3 (Muncie, Ind.)
OppositeKristy Kreher, So., 6-1 (Birmingham, Mich.)
Middle BlockersMary Leffers, Sr., 6-4 (Tampa, Fla.)Jo Jameyson, Jr., 6-1 (Alvin, Texas)
Defensive SpecialistsAdrienne Shimmel, Jr., 5-10 (Mission Viejo, Calif.)Keara Coughlin, Fr., 5-7 (Chicago, Ill.)

Volleyball Magazine Poll
October 18, 1999

R School               1999 Record 1. Penn State             18-1 2. Hawai'i                16-0 3. Pacific                17-1 4. Florida                17-2 5. UCLA                   17-1 6. Long Beach State       15-2 7. Stanford               13-2 8. Kansas State           14-2 9. Nebraska               14-410. UC Santa Barbara       15-311. Texas                  13-312. Brigham Young          13-213. Pepperdine             14-2 14. Colorado State         17-115. Arizona                12-516. Clemson                18-117. Texas A&M              14-418. USC                    11-519. Northern Iowa          20-020. Cal Poly               14-4

1999 NCAA District Rankings (10/6)

Rank  Team                Record   1.   NOTRE DAME            8-3   2.   Rhode Island          9-3   3.   Temple                8-4   4.   Xavier               12-4   5.   Connecticut          10-4   6.   Massachusetts         8-6   7.   Rutgers               9-8   8.   Georgetown           15-3   9.   Virginia Tech         5-9  10.   Princeton            11-2

BIG EAST Standings

Standings            Overall   BE 1. NOTRE DAME          10-4  4-0   2. Georgetown          19-3  3-1 3. Connecticut         14-4  3-1 4. Rutgers            10-10  3-1 5. St. John's          12-8  2-2 6. Syracuse            13-9  2-2 7. Boston College      9-11  2-2 8. Providence           7-9  2-2 9. Seton Hall          11-8  1-310. Pittsburgh           7-7  1-3  11. West Virginia       9-12  1-312. Villanova           9-13  0-4

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, Georgetown

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, Connecticut