Irish start season with Shamrock Invitational
By RACHAEL PROTZMAN
Irish volleyball kicks off the season today as it faces Fairfield in game two of the 2000 Shamrock Invitational Tournament in the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame will be participating in the Shamrock Invitational for the fourth straight year. The Irish finished second last year behind Pacific and have an overall 14-3 Shamrock record in its six appearances.
Senior Denise Boylan led the Irish in last year's tournament, being named to the 1999 Shamrock all-tournament team. Boylan also earned honors this year as the 2000 Big East preseason player of the year, while fellow senior Christi Girton joined her on the preseason all-Big East team.
The Irish finished 20-9 overall last season while grabbing the regular season conference title with an 11-0 record in Big East play. The Irish controlled their home court last season, finishing with a Joyce Center record of 10-2. Since 1991 Irish volleyball has racked up 108 wins out of the 124 home matches for an outstanding homecourt advantage.
Notre Dame returns 10 monogram winners, including five starters and also gains five new freshmen.
"Our starting lineup looks like it's going to be all returners so that's good for us. We also have a lot of depth and versatility which seem to be our strengths," said co-captain Girton.
Friday's match will mark the second meeting between Fairfield and Notre Dame with the Stags having the upperhand defeating the Irish in 1998 14-16, 15-13, 8-15, 15-4 and 15-17. Fairfield combined for a 30-win season last year while gaining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title.
"Fairfield's a revenge match from two years ago for those of us who were here," said Girton.
On Saturday Notre Dame continues tournament play as they face No. 15 Brigham Young University at 7 p.m. BYU has a two-match advantage over the Irish with a 12-15, 7-15 and 7-15 success last year.
Clemson looks to gain the upperhand Sunday as it faces Notre Dame. The Tigers have played against the Irish twice, taking their last match in three games in 1999.
"We are going to go out and play well and take care of things on our side," Girton said, "We are just going to play the way we know how and the games will take care of themselves."
The Irish will play against Fairfield at 4 p.m. in game two of the Shamrock Invitational followed immediately by the football pep rally.
All Sports Stories for Friday, September 1, 2000