Sept. 29, 2007
Moraga, CA - The Gaels won their second WCC match of the weekend, defeating Portland 30-24, 28-30, 30-26, 30-26. Junior outside hitter Taylor Groess notched 19 kills in the match, while posting an impressive .326 hitting efficiency. Joining Groess was junior middle blocker Brittany Barker, posting eight kills on 15 swings for a .400 attack percentage. Saint Mary's offense was led by Kapua Kamana'o with 39 assists, while also adding seven digs. The Pilots were led by Jennifer Sheedy with 19 kills and five blocks.
The Gaels struggled early in game one, but would bounce back late to defeat the Pilots. Portland took the early lead at 0-1 and continued to maintain control, taking a 13-7 advantage over the Gaels. Saint Mary's surged back in the game behind Payne's serving, scoring five consecutive points to bring the Gaels back within reach. The Pilots remained composed and continued to exchange points with the Gaels, until Saint Mary's Alita Fisher stepped up to the service line. Fisher began her serving run with Saint Mary's down 21-23, and boosted the Gaels to a 26-23 lead over the Pilots. Fisher tallied one ace in the run. With the lead in hand, the Gaels went on to defeat Portland 30-24 in the first game.
In game two Saint Mary's momentum was stolen, with the Pilots forcing the Gaels into a .163 team hitting percentage. Megan York and Lauren Jaeckel provided bright spots for the Gaels in the game, posting six and four kills respectively. Barker posted two kills on four swings, and added one block in the game. Portland was led by Jennifer Sheedy, recording five kills and two blocks. The Pilots jumped out to an early lead, and held onto it for the remainder of the game. Portland went on to defeat the Gaels 30-28.
Groess turned up the heat in game three, tallying six kills on nine swings for a .667 hitting percentage. Barker added three kills in the game, for a .400 hitting efficiency. The Gaels came out in game three taking the lead from the start. Groess scored the first point on a kill, and would continue her stellar play, notching five more in the game. The game remained close early, but the Gaels would find a rhythm with Kamana'o at the line. Kamana'o started serving at 9-7 and extended the lead to 12-7. In the service run the Gaels forced the Pilots into three errors. Portland continued to battle with the Gaels, but would never gain the lead, falling to Saint Mary's 30-26.
In game four Groess continued to display her dominance, tallying five kills in 15 swings. Saint Mary's took the lead from the start, off a Kelly Huston kill, and would continue to control the momentum. Huston tallied four kills on five swings in the game, posting an impressive .800 hitting percentage. Kamana'o dished out 16 assists, leading the offense to a .273 mark. Barker continue her consistent play in the game, recording three kills on five swings, while also adding two blocks. Saint Mary's defeated the Pilots 30-26 in game four, winning the match three games to one.
The Gaels return to WCC action next weekend when they make their way across the Bay to play San Francisco on October 4 at 7:00 PM. Saint Mary's will then travel south to face No. 15 San Diego, on October 6 at 1:00 PM. The Gaels improve to 10-4 on the year and 2-0 in WCC play.