Oct. 20, 2007
Moraga, CA - The Saint Mary's volleyball team came out strong Saturday afternoon, defeating the Pepperdine Waves in five games, 30-23, 23-30, 24-30, 30-24, 17-15. The Gaels were once again led by freshman Megan York, posting a career and game-high 28 kills. The Texas native also added 17 digs and three blocks in the five-game thriller. Junior Taylor Groess provided a huge boost for the Gaels in the game, tallying 18 kills and four blocks from the outside hitter and middle blocker position. Kapua Kamana'o took steady control over the Gaels offense, dishing out 68 assists. The Waves were led by middle blocker Lecca Roberts with 17 kills and five blocks.
In game one both teams battled evenly from the start. The score was tied five times before either team reached 10, with no team leading by more than three points. The Gaels would gain momentum off of Nikki Gonzales serve, scoring five consecutive points. Gonzales tallied one ace in the run, while York added four kills. With a 22-18 lead in hand, Saint Mary's continued to keep pressure on the Waves. Kelly Huston and Nikki Gonzales recorded two aces apiece in the game, while York and Lowell tabbed eight and four kills respectively. Sophomore Alita Fisher led the way defensively, scooping up nine digs in the game. The Gaels hit for a .342 attack efficiency to the Waves .220 in the game. Saint Mary's ended the game on a Groess kill, defeating the Waves 30-23.
The Waves took control throughout the second game, posting a .300 hitting efficiency with 17 kills on 40 swings. York seemed to be the only Gaels to find a rhythm, posting eight kills in the game. The Waves were led by Kayla Walker with six kills and three blocks, defeating the Gaels 30-23.
Pepperdine carried over their momentum in game three, as Lecca Roberts posted five kills with a .714 hitting percentage. Julie Rubenstein served 10 consecutive serves for the Waves, taking a 12-4 advantage over the Gaels. Saint Mary's would sting together some runs of their own, but it would not be enough as the Waves defeated the Gaels 30-29.
Saint Mary's bounced-back in game four, as freshman Shannon Lowell ignited for five kills, posting a .625 hitting efficiency. Groess added four kills on eight swings for the Gaels, while also chipping in three blocks. With the Gaels down 15-20, Lowell pounded down a kill to give Saint Mary's 16, and Gael defense would force the Waves into three straight attacking errors. With Kamana'o at the line Saint Mary's continued to gain momentum, taking a 23-21 lead over Pepperdine. The Gaels would never lose the lead form there, defeating the Waves 30-24 in the fourth set.
In the fifth and final game of the match both teams battled until the end. Groess had the hot-hand in the middle, posting five kills in the game with a .500 hitting efficiency. Kamana'o passed out 13 assists, leading her team to an impressive .379 hitting efficiency in game five. The Waves had two match-point opportunities, but freshman Megan York would not give-up, posting two important kills. The Gaels would earn their own match point on a Groess kill, forcing the Waves into their final timeout of the game. Groess would post her 18 kill on match-point, defeating Pepperdine 17-15.
The Gaels improve to 11-8 on the year and 3-5 in West Coast Conference play. Saint Mary's returns to action in the Pacific Northwest next weekend, facing Portland and Gonzaga on the road. The Gaels will face the Portland Pilots on Thursday, October 25 at 7:00 PM and the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday October 27 at 5:00 PM.