Aug. 27, 2007
WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: Saint Mary's continues their 2007 season in Bakersfield, CA in a one match contest versus CSU Bakersfield on August 7 at 7:00 P.M. The Gaels will then travel up to Fresno, Ca where they will face the Fresno State Bulldogs on August 8 at 2:00P.M.
SAINT MARY'S VERSUS CSU BAKERSFIELD: The Gaels have never faced CSU Bakersfield in program history.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS: The Roadrunners are 1-2 in preseason competition; defeating Idaho State and falling to Oregon and Kansas. Al three matches were held at the Oregon Kickoff Classic. CSU Bakersfield is led by junior outside hitter Sarah Norman with 55 kills, posting a .315 hitting percentage in the first weekend of the season. Norman leads her team with 5.50 kills per game, while also adding 2.1 digs and .700 blocks per game. Joining Norman, are middle blockers Rosemary Stribling and Melissa Myers, with 2.40 and 2.60 kills per game respectively. The Roadrunners are coached by John Price, who holds a 192-86 record while at CSU Bakersfield
SAINT MARY'S VERSUS FRESNO STATE: The Gaels will face the Bulldogs for the sixth time in program history. Saint Mary's is 0-6 against the Fresno State Bulldogs and last faced them in 1999 on a neutral site. The Gaels will look to defeat the Bulldogs for the first time on August 8 at 2:00 P.M.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: The Bulldogs started the 2007 season with a 0-3 preseason record. They participated in the Husky Classic where they faced Cal State Northridge, No. 8 Washington, and San Francisco. Fresno State was led by senior outside hitter Angela Wiggins, who finished the weekend with 23 kills and 24 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Kelly Leonardo also made a positive impact on the Bulldogs play, adding 24 kills and 12 blocks. The Bulldogs are coached by second year head coach Ruben Nieves, who holds a 13-45 record over the past two years.
WHO'S HOT?: Freshman Megan York led Saint Mary's throughout the Arizona tournament in her first appearance as a Gael. York tallied a team high 48 kills in the first weekend of competition, while also contributing another team high, 46 digs. York tabbed her first double-double versus Utah State, with 14 kills and 18 digs. The next night York repeated her double-double performance with 21 kills and 22 digs. York's performance was acknowledged following the five game win over Arizona, being named the tournament MVP. Joining York on the hot list is freshman Kelly Huston. Huston played libero for the Gaels against Utah State and Arizona, tallying eight and 23 digs respectively. Huston passed well for the Gaels throughout the tournament, allowing the Gaels to run an efficient offense with multiple attacking options.
YORK NAMED MVP OF ARIZONA TOURNY: Freshman outside hitter Megan York was named the Arizona Tournament MVP in her first weekend as a Gael. York led the Gaels to an undefeated weekend, defeating Eastern Washington University, Utah State, and Arizona. York tallied a team high in kills, digs, and aces, with 48, 46, and seven respectively. York never left the floor in all three matches, averaging 4.36 kills and 4.18 digs per game.
BURTON JOINS YORK IN ALL-TOURNAMENT SELECTIONS: Sophomore middle blocker Megan Burton was also named to the Arizona All-Tournament team. At the middle position Burton posted 21 kills over the weekend, while also contributing a team high 20 blocks. Burton hit for a high percentage throughout the weekend, finishing with a .321 overall hitting percentage.
VOLLEYBALL LED BY YOUNG GAELS: In the opening match of the 2007 season, four freshman and three sophomores took the court. Freshmen Christy Payne, Kelly Huston, Shannon Lowell and Megan York were joined by sophomores Alita Fisher (libero), Megan Burton, and Lauren Jaeckel, in the opening game against Eastern Washington University. Although young, the Gaels displayed the skill and composure of veterans throughout the weekend.
SAINT MARY'S PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH IN WCC: The Gaels were picked to finish sixth place in the WCC by the conference's coaches, released earlier this month. The Gaels earned 27 overall points, while also receiving one first place vote. Saint Mary's finished tied for fourth in conference last season with a 6-8 record. Pepperdine was picked to finish first, receiving five first place votes after advancing to the NCAA Tournament last season. San Diego was picked to finish second, Santa Clara was picked third, and Loyola Marymount was picked fourth. Just edging out the Gaels for fifth place was San Francisco with 30 points. Following the Gaels, Gonzaga and Portland were picked seventh and eighth, rounding out the 2007 preseason poll.
FIVE FRESHMEN JOIN THE ROSTER: Saint Mary's head coach Rob Browning will add five freshmen to this year's team. The Gaels welcome Kelly Huston, a 6-2 outside hitter from Encinitas, CA, Kapua Kamana'o, a 5-9 setter from Honolulu, HI, Shannon Lowell, a 6-2 middle blocker from San Jose, CA, Christy Payne, a 5-7 setter from Pleasanton, CA and Megan York, a 5-9 outside hitter from San Antonio, TX. This year's recruiting class received "High Honorable Mention" from prepvolleyball.com and is expected to play a key role in the team's success.
BURTON RETURNS AS THE ONLY PLAYER TO RECEIVE WCC HONORS IN 2006: Megan Burton returns to the Gaels after a stellar freshman season. Burton was named to the WCC All-Freshmen team in 2006 and will continue to display her talents in 2007. In 2006 she ended the season with 115 kills (.233 hitting percentage), 93 total blocks, and 15 aces. Burton is not only valuable for her court skills, but is also highly praised by Browning for her leadership and work ethic.
BARKER ENDS 2006 SEASON WCC BLOCK LEADER: Junior Brittany Barker led the WCC in blocks per game with 1.59 in 2006. In only 80 conference games Barker accumulated 111 block assists and 16 solo blocks. Barker also led the team in blocks throughout the season, ending the year with 127 total blocks. This is the second straight year that a member of the Gaels led the conference in blocks; graduated senior Christina Kirk held the honor in 2005.
BARKER RANKS FIRST IN SAINT MARY'S RECORD BOOKS IN BLOCKS PER GAME: After the 2006 season, Brittany Barker ties Kara McKeown in career blocks per game. In 2005, following Barker's freshman season, she became second in the record books in blocks per game at 1.42. Following the 2006 season, Barker is now tied for first in blocks per game with 1.49. This statistic is accumulated throughout a players career at Saint Mary's College, Barker is now tied for first after just two seasons.
GAELS FINISH WCC AS LEADER IN BLOCKS FOR THE FIFTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR: Since the 2002 season, Saint Mary's volleyball has made it a habit to lead the WCC in blocks per game. Each year the numbers have improved. In 2002, the Gaels led with 2.86 blocks per game, while in 2003 and 2004 the Gaels ended with 3.12 and 3.30 respectively. In 2005 and 2006 the Gaels made a leap up to 3.67 and 3.82 blocks per game.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE GAELS: Saint Mary's will return to action in the Bay Area next weekend at the Stanford Invitational. The Gaels will face No. 2 Stanford on September 6, No. 18 Cal Poly on September 7, and No.15 BYU on September 8 in Palo Alto, Ca. This marks the third consecutive year that the Gaels have participated in the invitational.