Sep 23-Two WCC volleyball teams were in action Tuesday night. Saint Mary's improved to 9-3 with a 3-0 (30-19, 30-24, 30-24) win over Bay Area rival San Jose State. Portland won their fifth consecutive match and improved to 10-3 on the year with a 3-1 (30-24, 30-21, 25-30, 30-26) win over the Oregon Ducks.
Portland 3, Oregon 1
The University of Portland volleyball team defeated the Oregon Ducks in front of a record crowd at the Chiles Center, 3-1 (30-24, 30-21, 25-30, 30-26) for the first time since the 1998 season. With the win, Portland rolls on a five-match win streak and improves to 10-3 on the season. The Ducks continue a three-match losing streak and drop to 3-8 overall.
The Pilots controlled the tempo in game one, taking an 11-5 lead after a service ace by Sara Vercruyssen. Vercruyssen had seven kills and three aces in the first game to lead Portland to a 30-24 win. Oregon was able to pull within two points, 12-10, after a Portland attack error, but the Ducks were never able to take the lead. The Pilots hit an impressive .421 in the first game, pounding out 19 kills and just three errors.
In the second game, Oregon took an early 5-3 lead after a kill by Kelly Russell. Portland battled back and took the lead 14-13 after a service ace by Liz Lord. The game was tied three more times ?? the last at 16 ?? before the Pilots outscored Oregon 14-5 down the stretch, eventually taking a 2-0 lead in the match with a kill by Lord.
The Ducks responded after the 10-minute intermission, taking an 8-2 lead in the third game after a block assist by Lauren Westendorf and Kristen Bitter. Oregon never trailed in the game and led by as many as six points. Portland rallied late to pull within three points, 21-18, but the Ducks extended their lead to 25-18 and later won the game on an attack error by the Pilots.
Oregon led early again in the fourth game, taking an 8-4 lead after a kill by Stephanie Alleman. The Ducks led game four until a kill by Heather Denison tied the game at 10. Both teams traded leads until late in the game when the Pilots took the largest lead, 23-19 after a kill by Denison. The Ducks pulled within 21-23 on a block assist by Mason and Bitter, but Portland stepped up the intensity and outscored Oregon down the stretch, winning the match on a kill by Vercruyssen.
??We are a good volleyball team,?? said Head Coach Doug Sparks. ??I am proud of the way our girls stepped up and put this one away. We got a little out of system in game three, but made a run for it in the next game and pulled out the win.??
Michelle Oakland and Sara Vercruyssen each tallied 18 kills on the night for the Pilots. Oakland hit for .444 in the match, while Vercruyssen notched 13 digs. Heather Denison recorded 16 kills and a .364 hitting percentage, while Laura Pappas totaled a career-best 11 digs. Sheena Surplus dished out 59 assists and 14 digs on the night. As a team, the Pilots posted a .264 hitting percentage and added 7.0 total team blocks.
??We are building something special here and its nights like tonight where you can see that,?? said Sparks.
Oregon sophomore Jaclyn Jones had a career-high 19 kills and hit .389 in the match while freshman Sarah Mason added 15 kills and hit .310. Middle blocker Kelly Russell was the Ducks?? third player to have 10 or more kills, finishing with 13. Defensively, juniors Lauren Westendorf and Katie O??Neil led the way with 15 and 14 digs, respectively. Freshman Kristen Bitter continued her strong net play, finishing the match with a team-high six blocks.
Saint Mary's 3, San Jose State 0
The Saint Mary??s women??s volleyball team defeated San Jose State by a final score of 3-0 this evening. Game scores for the Gaels victory over the Spartans were 30-19, 30-24, and 30-24. With the victory Saint Mary??s improved its overall season record to 9-3, while San Jose State fell to 2-9.
With the defeat of the Spartans, Saint Mary??s matched its win total from last season after only 12 matches. The 9-3 record also matches the Gaels best record after 12 matches since the 1990 season.
Against San Jose State the Gaels?? power game proved to be too much for the Spartans. Saint Mary??s finished with a total of 52 kills to the Spartans 32. The Gaels?? team attacking percentage of .319 was also much better than San Jose State??s .062. Saint Mary??s defense also consistently provided support for the team as the Gaels finished with a total of 41 block assists to the Spartans?? total of seven.
Leading the way for the Gaels was Jill Parmele. The senior from Acampo, CA finished with a match-high 19 kills against the Spartans. Parmele also recorded three aces, five digs, and six block assists. Freshman Mandy Bible also provided stellar support as she posted a match-high 42 assists.
Also contributing for Saint Mary??s was sophomore??s Kaui Salzman and Erin Gravert. Salzman totaled a match-high 13 digs against San Jose State while also posting seven block assists and eight kills. Gravert finished with a match-high 11 block assists and eight kills.
Saint Mary??s will resume action tomorrow, September 24 as they play host to Sacramento State at 7:05 PM in McKeon Pavilion.