Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Women's Volleyball Returns Home For Conference Play

Sept. 28, 1999

Notre Dame Finish With An Even Weekend
The Irish returned from the Rocky Mountain region with a win and a loss against non-conference opponents Wyoming (3-2) and 17th-ranked Colorado State (0-3).

Beaten By Perfection
Notre Dame’s only three losses so far this season have come against unbeaten, ranked opponents, including top-ranked Pacific, who is 11-0, #15 Colorado State, who is 13-0, and #13 Clemson, who is 12-0.

We’ll Play Them In Three
Notre Dame streak of consecutive three-game matches was broken last Friday, Sept. 24, against Wyoming when the Irish and the Cowgirls went to five games. Notre Dame had opened 1999 with seven straight three-game matches.

Leffers Leads The Way
Notre Dame volleyball team captain Mary Leffers was ranked second in the country in blocks per game according to statistics released Wednesday, Sept. 22, by the NCAA.

Leffers was tied for second with Georgia Tech’s Anna Nedderman with a 1.90 blocks per game average through Notre Dame’s first seven matches. Both Leffers and Nedderman follow the nation’s leader in blocks, Hawai’i’s Heather Bown, who was averaging a phenomenal 2.44 blocks per game.

Leffers is currently fourth on Notre Dame’s career total blocks list with 461 and second in career block average with 1.36 blocks per game.

With Leffers leading the way, the Irish were ranked 18th overall as a team in blocks per game with a mark of 3.10.

Leffers On Top In The BIG EAST
In conference statistics released this Monday, Sept. 27, Notre Dame senior Mary Leffers has the highest season hitting percentage (.332) and blocks per game average (1.86) among BIG EAST teams in overall games.

Other Irish players listed in the top 10 include, Kristy Kreher, who is 10th in hitting percentage (.270), Malinda Goralski, who is ninth blocks per game (0.89) and Denise Boylan, who is fourth in assists per game (11.24) and eighth in blocks (0.97).

Notre Dame as a team is first in blocks per game (3.12), second in overall hitting percentage (.244) and fourth in kills per game (14.62) and assists (13.03).

The BIG EAST For Openers
The four-time BIG EAST champion Notre Dame volleyball team will open up its conference season with West Virginia and Pittsburgh this weekend at the Joyce Center.

Scouting the Mountaineers
Although not as much is on the line, the Irish will be out for a little revenge when West Virginia comes to town for a Friday night match at 8 p.m.

Last season, the Mountaineers handed the Irish only their second loss ever in BIG EAST conference play and in the process, knocked Notre Dame out of the running for a share of the regular season conference title on the last day of BIG EAST play.

This season, West Virginia, under coach Veronica Hammersmith, are 7-9 with a notable win over Northwestern (3-1), who the Irish also defeated earlier this season, 3-0.

West Virginia is led by senior middle blocker Brooke Hudson, who is averaging 3.22 kills per game, and junior Nikki Hardy, who will carry a 2.45 kills and 2.98 digs per game average into Friday’s match.

The Irish lead the all-time series between the two schools, 4-2, with Notre Dame wins from 1994-97 and Mountaineer wins in 1991 and 1998.

Scouting the Panthers
Pittsburgh has been out of action since September 19, when they defeated Wyoming, 3-1. The Panthers will play their first match in 12 days Friday night against BIG EAST team Syracuse before traveling to Notre Dame on Sunday.

The Panthers, under coach Cindy Alvear, pushed the Irish during the 1998 regular season to five games, where they fell 19-21. The two teams then met a second time in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament at Pitt, where Notre Dame prevailed in four games.

This season, Pittsburgh returns four starters and is currently 6-4 overall with win over James Madison and Wyoming, who the Irish also defeated 3-2. Three of their losses have come against teams receiving votes in the AVCA poll including UCLA, Minnesota and Hawai’i.

Offensively, seniors Jenna Birkel and Melissa Alpers are averaging over three kills a game, while Alpers also is carrying a 3.44 digs per game average. Pitt has been without outside hitter Paul Zemrowski, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Zemrowksi at 6-5 is the tallest player in the BIG EAST and was a second team all-conference selection in 1998 and a preseason all-BIG EAST selection in 1999.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series between the two schools, 12-3, with a current win streak of 11, dating back to a three-game win in 1992. The last Pitt win was back in 1990, when the Panthers defeated the Irish in three games.

Season Notes

After appearing with sophomore opposite Kristy Kreher, Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown is also tentatively booked for the October 26 and November 9 shows of the SportsCentral (WHME-TV 46) show with host Bob Nagle. Shows will air each Saturday following the tape dates at 6:30 p.m.

SportsCentral 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.

Notre Dame Keeps NCAA Bids 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.

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.

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

SPORT COURT Hits The Joyce
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 begins her ninth season at Notre Dame and her 15th overall. Brown has compiled a mark of 214-74 with the Irish and has a career record of 331-157, 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.

The 1999 NCAA Graduation-Rates Report, the ninth such survey issued by the association, covers students enrolled between 1989 and 1992 at 312 Division I institutions, including 112 in Division I-A.

Notre Dame graduated a four-year average of 88 percent of its student-athletes, third only to Duke and Northwestern at 91 and 90 percent, respectively. The national average for Division I-A schools is 58 percent.

Notre Dame graduated 85 percent of all men and 94 percent of all women competing in varsity athletics.

Sporting News Ranks Notre Dame Third In Survey Of Top Athletic Departments
The Notre Dame athletic programs have 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* 8 p.m.10/3 Pittsburgh* 2 p.m.10/5 Michigan 7 p.m.10/9 at Rutgers* 2 p.m.10/10 at Seton Hall* 1 p.m.10/17 USPV (Exhib.) 2 p.m.10/19 at 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 Championships11/19-21 @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

AVCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll
September 28, 1999

Rk   School ('99 record)        Points (1st) 1.  Pacific (11-0)              1,496 (56) 2.  Penn State (12-1)           1,419 3.  Hawai'i (11-0)              1,401 (4) 4.  Florida (10-2)              1,260 5.  Long Beach State (8-2)      1,236 6.  Stanford (8-1)              1,217 7.  Texas (8-2)                 1,110 8.  Nebraska (9-3)              1,069 9.  UC Santa Barbara (11-1)     1,03210.  UCLA (10-1)                   96411.  BYU (7-2)                     90012.  Pepperdine (8-1)              85213.  Clemson (12-0)                79114.  Arizona (9-3)                 66915.  Colorado State (13-0)         62916.  Texas A&M (11-2)              60917.  Kansas State (8-2)            48218.  Michigan (8-2)                41819.  USC (6-3)                     41520.  Wisconsin (8-4)               31421.  Colorado (8-3)                25022.  Loyola Marymount (8-3)        20823.  Arkansas (10-4)               17824.  Northern Iowa (13-0)          12125.  Ohio State (6-3)              119 

Others receiving 30 or more points: Illinois, North Carolina, Minnesota, Michigan State, San Diego.

Probable Notre Dame Starters

Denise Boylan, Jr. 6-1 (Lisle, Ill.)

Outside Hitters
Marcie Bomhack, So., 6-0 (Waukesha, Wis.)
Christy Girton, Jr., 6-3 (Munice, Ind.)

Kristy Kreher, So., 6-1 (Birmingham, Mich.)

Middle Blockers
Mary Leffers, Sr., 6-4 (Tampa, Fla.)
Malinda Goralski, So., 6-1 (Missouri City, Texas)

Defensive Specialists
Keara Coughlin, Fr., 5-7 (Chicago, Ill.)
Janie Alderete, Fr. 5-4 (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Volleyball Magazine Poll
September 27, 1999

 R   School             1999 Record 1.  Pacific                11-0 2.  Penn State             12-1 3.  Hawai'i                11-0 4.  Stanford                8-1 5.  Florida                10-2 6.  Nebraska                9-3 7.  Long Beach State        8-2 8.  UCLA                   10-1 9.  Texas                   8-210.  UC Santa Barbara       11-111.  Pepperdine              8-112.  Colorado State         13-013.  Brigham Young           7-214.  Clemson                12-015.  Arizona                 9-316.  Kansas State            8-217.  Michigan                8-218.  Texas A&M              11-219.  USC                     6-320.  Colorado                8-3 

Current BIG EAST Standings

Standings Overall Record 1. Georgetown 14-2 2. Connecticut 8-3 3. NOTRE DAME 6-3 4. St. John's 9-5 5. Seton Hall 7-4 6. Pittsburgh 6-4 7. Syracuse 9-7 8. Rutgers 7-8 8. Villanova 7-810. West Virginia 7-911. Boston College 5-712. Providence 4-7

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, Syracuse

BIG EAST Rookies of the Week

 9/6 - Melissa Wooley, Connecticut9/13 - Lauren Warner, Georgetown9/20 - Lauren Warner, Georgetown9/27 - Erin Birunas, Villanova