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Volleyball: Phillips leads Irish through Big East schedule

Meaghan Veselik | Wednesday, November 4, 2009

At the center of the Notre Dame team filled with experienced seniors is versatile and powerful outside hitter Serinity Phillips.

At the head of the Irish attack, Phillips has helped keep her teammates motivated and in control on the court and in their domination of the Big East.

“She’s a huge part of the success of the team this year and every year she’s been on the team,” Irish coach Debbie Brown said. “She is an all-around player, able to play all six rotations, and is a real stabilizing force on the court.”

From making her 1,000th career kill on Oct. 10 to earning the Big East Player of the Week Award on Oct. 19, Phillips has proven herself to be a force on the court again and again. Her record-making kill came in a Notre Dame (16-4, 10-0 Big East) 3-2 win over Cincinnati where Phillips had 17 kills, seven digs and six blocks. The Big East honor came after she led the Irish in sweeping both Pittsburgh and West Virginia on Oct. 17 and 18. At Pitt, she put in 11 kills, seven digs and five blocks for the Notre Dame win, and had 18 kills, five digs and five blocks against West Virginia.

“She’s an incredibly hard worker,” Brown said. “Her milestones are not ones reached by many players, and are something she should be very proud of and has worked hard for.”

Not only does she lead the Notre Dame attack, but Phillips has also proven herself strong on defense. She leads the team with 252 kills, an average 3.65 per set, and is at the top of the list for most blocks and points this season with a total 70 blocks and has 300 points. Her total kills and points pass up her 2008 totals of 239 and 293, respectively. Phillips has totaled at least 225 kills and 268 points in each of her three previous seasons.

While she has excelled personally on the court, Phillips said she feels her place on the team as most important and a leading role in her coming to Notre Dame.

“Academics played a large role in my decision, as well as the school tradition,” she said. “With regards to volleyball, I fell in love with the team and coaching staff.

“Being a part of the team has taught me to step outside of myself and help others. It has also opened my eyes to the importance of teamwork and friendship which are two aspects of my life that have played a large role in my college experiences.”

As Brown has noted earlier this season, the experience the seniors bring to the court is irreplaceable and has benefitted the Irish this season. Phillips’ experience has consistently helped keep the Irish poised and confident on the court this season.

“She’s continued to get stronger every year, and that physical strength and consistency coming with experience has really helped her as a player,” Brown said. “She leads by example and her consistency on the court is something the team really relies on.”

As Notre Dame remains the only undefeated team in the conference, Phillips has high hopes for her final season.

“Personally I would just like to finish strong,” she said. “As for the team, our biggest goal is to finish the Big East regular season undefeated as well as win the Big East tournament.”

Up next, the Irish head to Marquette to take on the Golden Eagles in hopes of continuing their undefeated conference season.