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Volleyball Faces Three Ranked Opponents Over Weekend

Sept. 4, 2007

WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: Saint Mary's travels across the Bay to Palo Alto, Ca, where they face three ranked opponents. The Gaels begin the tournament against host school, No. 2 Stanford, on September 6 at 7:00 P.M. Tournament competition continues on September 7 at 4:30 P.M. when the Gaels face No. 9 BYU and finishes up on September 8 against No. 17 Cal Poly.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS STANFORD: The Gaels have faced the Stanford Cardinal seven times in program history. Saint Mary's record is 2-5 in the match-up, defeating the soon to be National Champions twice in 2004. This weekend marks the third consecutive year that Saint Mary's has participated in the Stanford Invitational. The Gaels will face Stanford on the first day of the tournament, September 6 at 7:00 P.M.

SCOUTING THE CARDINAL: No. 2 Stanford began the 2007 season with a 4-0 record leading into the weekend. The Cardinal were ranked second in the CSTV/ACVA Coaches Poll prior to the season, and have maintained their ranking over the past two weeks. The Cardinal have defeated three ranked opponents, including, No. 12 Minnesota, No. 13 Ohio, and No. 18 San Diego. Stanford is led by freshman standout Alex Klineman, recording 4.23 kills per game and 2.62 digs per game. Senior setter Bryn Kehoe is another valuable asset to the Cardinal, posting 14.15 assists per game and 2.69 digs per game. Kehoe also provides the team with veteran experience, participating in two prior NCAA Championship matches.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS BYU: The Gaels have faced BYU twice in program history, posting a 1-1 record against the Cougars. The two teams last faced each other in 2004 when the Gaels recorded a 3-2 victory over the Cougars in Provo, UT. The Gaels look to defeat BYU for the second time, on September 7 at 4:30 P.M.

SCOUTING THE COUGARS: The BYU Cougars have started the 2007 season with a 5-0 record. Their biggest accomplishment thus far is defeating No. 10 Wisconsin in the BYU Molten Classic this past weekend. BYU is led by senior outside hitter Chelsea Goodman, with 4.26 kills per game, and junior middle blocker Rachel Dyer with, 3.32 kills per game and a .481 hitting percentage. BYU began the 2007 season ranked at the No. 17 spot and has jumped to No. 9 over the past two weeks.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS CAL POLY: The Gaels have confronted Cal Poly nine times prior to this weekend's competition. Saint Mary's posts a 2-7 record against the Mustangs, last facing Cal Poly in 2003. In the 2003 match-up the Gaels defeated the Mustangs in three games, while participating in the Cal Poly Tournament. Saint Mary's will compete against the Mustangs in their last match of the tournament, on September 8 at 4:30 P.M.

SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: No. 17 Cal Poly began the preseason with a tough schedule, facing No. 1 Nebraska and No. 3 Penn, while on the road. The Mustangs are 3-3 over the past two weeks, defeating North Texas, Wichita State, and Creighton. Cal Poly is coached by former Gael head coach, Jon Stevenson, and is led by Ali Waller and Kylie Atherstone. Waller leads the Mustangs with 4.0 kills per game, while Atherstone has recorded 3.77 kills per game.

SAINT MARY'S TO FACE TWO FORMER GAELS: Former head coach Jon Stevenson and former player Chelsea Hayes, will compete against the Gaels for the first time since their departure. Stevenson posted a 54-35 record while with Saint Mary's, guiding the Gaels to their first NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2004. Hayes transferred from Saint Mary's after her sophomore season and now leads the Mustangs at the setting position. Hayes is an instrumental member of the Cal Poly squad, guiding the Mustangs to an NCAA appearance in 2006.

FISHER TALLIES CAREER HIGH: Sophomore libero, Alita Fisher, tallied 39 digs (13 digs per game), in the Gaels win over Fresno State. Fisher shattered her previous personal best, 28 digs, which came in a five-game match versus Pepperdine in 2006. Fisher was two digs shy of capturing the individual record for most digs in a match, which is held by Julie Sinclair with 41 digs in 1989.

YORK NAMED MVP OF ARIZONA TOURNEY: 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. Sophomore middle blocker Megan Burton was also named to the Arizona All-Tournament team.

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.

BURTON RECEIVES 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.

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 home to play in their first home match of the 2007 season. The Gaels' first home match will take place on September 13 versus UC Santa Barbara at 7:00 P.M. Competition will continue throughout the weekend, with the Gaels facing Cornell on September 14 at 7:00 P.M. and the Saint Mary's Alumni on September 15 at 5:00 P.M. All three matches will take place at McKeon Pavilion.