Leffers leads Irish in opener against Valpo
By MATT OLIVA
The Notre Dame volleyball team started off the 1999 season with a big win over Valparaiso.
The Irish (1-0) won in straight games 15-4, 15-5 and 15-2.
Leading the Irish in the victory over the Crusaders was 6-foot-4 senior captain Mary Leffers. The middle blocker had 10 kills in the match, while sophomores Kristy Kreher and Marcie Bomhack had eight and seven kills, respectively, for the Irish. The team had a three-game total of 40 kills.
Junior setter captain Denise Boylan led all players with 27 sets in the match. Freshman defensive specialist Keara Coughlin contributed a match-high seven digs for the team.
Irish head coach Debbie Brown was pleased with her team's performance in the opening match. "We did not know what to expect from Valparaiso," Brown said. "We just tried to concentrate on our side of the net and I think we executed pretty well. This was a very good opener for us."
Notre Dame finished the match with a three-game 36.1 percent attack, while holding the Crusaders to a mere 9 percent attack.
Contributing to the Irish domination over Valparaiso were nine serving aces, led by Coughlin's three aces.
Brown will look for her two captains to provide leadership and to make big plays for the Irish throughout the season. Leffers and Boylan are two of the five returning starters for this experienced Irish squad. The Irish will also try to fill the place of middle blocker Lindsey Treadwell who graduated last year and led the Irish in aces, digs and blocks.
The weekend tournament will prove to be big challenge for the Irish.
"Our team knows that we executed well today, we didn't struggle or stumble," Brown said. "Last weekend we made a few mental mistakes against the alumni, but there was an improvement in today's match. The teams coming in this weekend will be stronger so we will have to keep improving and take it to another level."
The Irish begin the Shamrock Invitational at 7 p.m. Friday night against Northwestern and will continue with a match Saturday at 7 p.m. against Pacific. They will wrap up the weekend Sunday afternoon with a 3 p.m. match against Louisville.
All Sports Stories for Thursday, September 2, 1999