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Volleyball Travels to No. 1 Nebraska

Aug. 30, 2006

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WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: The Saint Mary's volleyball team travels to Lincoln, NE to participate in their toughest tournament of the season as the Gaels will open the Nebraska Tournament against No. 1 ranked Nebraska on Friday, September 1 at 7 p.m. (CST). The Gaels will then face Long Beach State on Saturday, September 2 at 5 p.m. (CST) a team that is just several points shy of being ranked in the top 25. Saint Mary's will close the tournament against Middle Tennessee State on Sunday, September 3 at noon (CST).

NEBRASKA TOURNAMENT: The Gaels will play the No. 1 ranked team in the country for the first time since 2002, when they hosted then ranked No. 1 Stanford. The Nebraska Tournament will be held in the Nebraska Coliseum, which is sold out and holds 4,030 fans. Nebraska's sell out will be their 173rd in a row, dating back to 2001. Saint Mary's will face Nebraska on Friday, Long Beach State on Saturday and Middle Tennessee State on Sunday.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS NEBRASKA: The Gaels have never played the Huskers in the history of their program. Friday will mark the first time since 2002 that the Gaels will have face a team ranked No. 1 in the country. Nebraska is coming off a 3-0 victory over WCC opponent San Diego on Tuesday in Lincoln, NE.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: The Gaels are 0-3 all-time against Long Beach State, including a 3-1 loss last season in Long Beach, CA. Saint Mary's will also face the 49ers the following week in Long Beach for its second meeting of the season. Long Beach state is currently 3-0 and will face Oregon on Wednesday night before heading to Lincoln.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE: The Gaels and Blue Raiders have never met in the history of both programs. Middle Tennessee State comes into the tournament with a 3-0 record.

BIBLE BREAKS ALL-TIME ASSISTS RECORD: Saint Mary's senior setter Mandy Bible broke the school's all-time assist record after recording 110 assists this weekend. Bible now has 4,373 assists in just over three years in a Gael uniform. The senior setter from Santa Barbara, CA broke Tracie Hajdukovich's 15-year-old record. Bible also holds the all-time assists per game record, which stands at 12.73 per game.

PICKING UP THE DEFENSE: The Gaels held their opponents to a .102 hitting percentage this weekend. Saint Mary's held Troy to .125, Florida A&M was held to .081 and North Florida hit .114.

RIGHT WHERE SHE LEFT OFF: Saint Mary's outside hitter Missie Stidham averaged 3.30 kills and 3.20 digs per game last weekend. Stidham began 2006 right where she left off in 2005 as the Gaels' leader in kills and digs per game.

FRESHMAN IMPACT: Saint Mary's freshman outside hitter Lauren Jaeckel made a strong impression in her first match in a Gael uniform. Jaeckel recorded eight kills with a .261 hitting percentage in three games against Troy last weekend. Saint Mary's other freshman in the lineup Megan Burton made a nice impression as well against North Florida when she recorded five kills with a .400 hitting percentage, along with four blocks.

THREE FRESHMEN JOIN THE ROSTER: Saint Mary's head coach Rob Browning will add three freshmen to this year's team. The Gaels welcome Megan Burton, a 6-2 middle blocker from Kapolei, HI, Lauren Jaeckel, a 6-0 outside hitter from Littleton, CO, and Alita Fisher, a 5-9 libero from Lakewood, WA.

SAINT MARY'S RECEIVING VOTES IN TOP 25: The Gaels received six points in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll released on August 8. Saint Mary's was ranked in the top 25 for five weeks last season.

SAINT MARY'S PICKED TO FINISH FOURTH IN WCC: The Gaels were picked to finish in fourth place in the WCC by the conference's coaches, released earlier this month. Saint Mary's finished fourth in conference last season with a 9-5 record. Santa Clara was picked to finish in first, receiving all eight votes after making it to the final four last season. Pepperdine was picked to finish second and San Diego was picked third. Following the Gaels, Loyola Marymount was picked fifth, San Francisco sixth, Gonzaga seventh and Portland was picked to finish eighth.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE GAELS: Saint Mary's will make a quick turn around and travel south to face Long Beach State for the second time in less than a week on Thursday, September 7 at 7:30 p.m. The Gaels will then face Idaho on Friday, September 8 at 5 p.m. Both games will be played at the Pyramid in Long Beach, CA.