Sept. 10, 2007
WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: Saint Mary's hosts two California schools in their home matches of the 2007 season. The Gaels will face UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, September 13 at 7:00 P.M. in their home opener. Saint Mary's will face another Big West Conference school the next night, when they play UC Davis at 7:00 P.M. on September 14. The Gaels will wrap up the weekend by hosting a Meet and Greet BBQ from 1:00-3:00 on September 15, followed by a 5:00 P.M. match versus the SMC Alumni.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara has accumulated a 2-7 record during a challenging pre-season, playing San Diego, Loyola Marymount, Oklahoma, and Virginia, to name a few. The Gauchos are led by junior outside hitter Lauren McLaughlin, posting 4.94 kills per game, with a .222 hitting efficiency. Senior middle blocker Brett Quirarte has also made many positive contributions throughout the pre-season, tallying 109 kills on the season with an impressive .393 hitting percentage. Santa Barbara's offense is led by freshman setter, Dana Vargas, recording 11.94 assists per game. The Gauchos are coached by Kathy Gregory, who is in her 33rd year of coaching for Santa Barbara. Gregory a six-time Big West Coach of the Year winner and as also been recognized as the AVCA West Region Coach of the Year four times.
SAINT MARY'S VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gaels have only competed against the Gauchos one time in program history. Saint Mary's defeated UC Santa Barbara three games to one in 2005, while playing at the Stanford Invitational. The Gaels look to continue their winning ways in McKeon Pavilion, facing the Gauchos on September 13 at 7:00 P.M.
SCOUTING THE AGGIES: The Davis Aggies have posted a 3-6 record in the preseason, beating CSU Bakersfield, Idaho State, and Boise State on the year. The Aggies are led by junior outside hitter Renee Ibekwe with 3.97 kills per game and a .238 hitting efficiency. Kayla Varney is the other outside for the Aggies, chipping in a team-high 130 kills on the year. Avreeta Singh directs Davis at the libero position, posting 4.37 digs per game, while also adding ten aces. Davis is coached by Steve Walker in his second year with the Aggies.
SAINT MARY'S VERSUS UC DAVIS: The Gaels have confronted the Aggies three times prior to this weekend's competition. Saint Mary's and Davis meet thee consecutive years in a row, 1987-89, the Gaels won the first year ('87) and lost the next two. This weekend marks the first time that Saint Mary's has faced UC Davis since they joined the Big West Conference. The match-up will take place on September 14 at 7:00 P.M. in McKeon Pavilion.
SCOUTING THE ALUMNI: The alumni roster for 2007 marks the biggest in Alumni match history. Ten alumni plan to return to Saint Mary's for the third annual Alumni match. The roster includes Christina Kirk, Lindsay Bogason, Cassandra Kolkka, Meg Herr, Leslie Grassl, Rachel Parker, Jill Parmele, Brooke Lowry, Maria Codoni, and Mandy Bible. Bogason, Kirk, Kolkka, and Bible were all members of the 2004 Sweet Sixteen team.
SAINT MARY'S VERUS THE ALUMNI: This year will mark the third annual Alumni match. In 2006 the Gaels defeated the Alumni in four games, while in 2005 the alumni were swept in three games.GAELS HOST MEET AND GREET BBQ: The Saint Mary's volleyball team will host a BBQ lunch at the Redwood grove, on campus, on Saturday September 15 from 1:00-3:00 P.M. The lunch will serve as a time to meet the 2007 Gaels, while also welcoming back former Gael players. Following the BBQ the 2007 Gaels will suit-up to compete against the women's volleyball alumni. The Alumni match will take place at 5:00 P.M. in McKeon Pavilion. For more information please email the VolleyGaels' contact at email@example.com.
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 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.
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 continue their home stand with matches versus Cornell and CSU Bakersfield. The Gaels will begin the weekend's competition against Cornell at 7:00 P.M on September 21 in McKeon Pavilion. The Gaels will then wrap up the preseason versus CSU Bakersfield at 7:00 P.M. on September 22.