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Women's Volleyball to Close Out Pre-Season Play

Sept. 17, 2007

WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: The Gaels continue their home stand and wrap-up preseason play versus Cornell and CSU Bakersfield over the weekend. Saint Mary's will host Cornell on Friday September 21 at 7:00 P.M and CSU Bakersfield on Saturday September 22 at 7:00 P.M. Both games were played in McKeon Pavilion.

LAST WEEK'S RECAP: Saint Mary's went 1-1 in their first home weekend of the year. The Gaels took the first two games of the match versus the visiting Gauchos, but it would not be enough, as Santa Barbara would come back to defeat the Gaels in the next three. Saint Mary's received personal bests from Megan York, with 26 kills, and Kapua Kamana'o with 76 assists. The next night out the Gaels bounced back with a sweep over the UC Davis Aggies. Saint Mary's beat UC Davis in three short games, 30-26, 30-16, 30-25. Megan Burton posted a .636 hitting efficiency in the match, chipping in eight kills and four blocks.

WHO'S HOT?: Sophomore middle blocker Megan Burton had two big performances for the Gaels over the weekend. In the first match, versus UC Santa Barbara, Burton posted 13 kills on 25 swings, attacking for a .320 hitting efficiency. Burton also contributed a game high seven blocks for the Gaels. In the second game of the weekend Burton tallied an impressive eight kills on 11 swings, for a .636 hitting percentage. Burton also chipped in four blocks in the defeat over the Aggies.

SCOUTING THE BIG RED: The Cornell Big Red are 3-4 on the year thus far, defeating Bucknell, Niagara, and Navy on the season. The Big Red are led by freshmen outside hitters Katie Marshall and Erin McCarthy, each tallying 3.52 kills per game on the season. Sophomore libero Megan Mushovic is another key component of the Big Red lineup, posting 5.26 digs and 0.30 aces per game. Cornell participated in the 2006 NCAA tournament, under current head coach Deitre Collins-Parker.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS CORNELL: The Gaels have faced the Big Red one time in program history. Saint Mary's defeated Cornell in four games while playing at home, in 1997.

SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS: CSU Bakersfield has posted a 4-10 record on the season thus far, defeating Stony Brook, Idaho State (twice), and Davidson College. The Roadrunners are led by junior outside hitter Sarah Norman, posting 4.56 kills per game and 2.08 digs per game. Normal has also recorded 20 aces on the season, while also adding 22 block assists. The Roadrunner offense is guided by junior setter Gabe Curtis, tallying 11.62 assists per game. Head coach John Price is in his eleventh year with CSU Bakersfield, and is participating in their first full year as a NCAA Division I program.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS CSU BAKERSFIELD: The Gaels faced the Roadrunners on September 1 earlier this season, defeating CSU Bakersfield in five games. Saint Mary's won the first two games of the match, with the Roadrunners taking the next two. The Gaels edged out the Roadrunners in the fifth and final set, 15-13. In the match, Megan York tallied a team-high 19 kills for the Gaels and Bakersfield's Sarah Norman captured the game-high 30 kills for the Roadrunners. That was the first time the two teams had faced each other in program history.

YORK AND BURTON AT TOP OF WCC: Sophomore middle blocker Megan Burton ranks first in the West Coast Conference in blocks per game. Burton posts a 1.57 bocks per game average, with 58 total blocks on the year. Burton ranks third in hitting percentage on the year, recording a team-high .350 hitting efficiency during the preseason. As a freshman York ranks among the best in the WCC, placing second in kills per game, with 4.70, and second in points per game, with 5.43. York versatility is also demonstrated in the defensive category, placing seventh in digs per game with 3.73. Other Gaels who rank in the Top-10 of the conference are, Alita Fisher (4.33 digs per game), Brittany Barker (1.20 blocks per game), Shannon Lowell (1.19 blocks per game), Taylor Groess (3.50 kills per game), Kapua Kamana'o (10.47 assists per game), and Christy Payne (0.42 aces per game).

YORK RECORDS FIVE CONSECTUIVE DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Freshman Megan York has recorded five consecutive double-doubles in the last five matches. York has tallied a total of seven double-doubles in ten matches. The freshman outside hitter broke her previous record of 21 kills by posting a season-high 26 kills versus UC Santa Barbara on September 13.

FISHER ETCHES NAME IN NCAA RECORD BOOKS: Sophomore libero, Alita Fisher, tallied 39 digs (13 digs per game), in the Gaels three game win over Fresno State. Fisher's performance ranks her third in NCAA record books for digs in a three game match. Two other players share the position with Fisher, while the number one spot is held by Sydney Donahue with 50 digs. 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.

KAMANA'O POSTS PERSONAL BEST: Freshman setter Kapua Kamana'o tallied a career high 76 assists versus UC Santa Barbara. Kamana'o's previous best was 63 assists versus Arizona. The record for most assists in a match is held by Traci Hajdukovish, with 86 assists in 1990.

GAELS DIG FOR THE CURE: This fall, West Coast Conference women's volleyball teams won't be playing just for wins, but helping in the fight against breast cancer. All eight WCC schools are participating in the "Dig for the Cure" program to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Gael fans can sponsor the team by pledging money per dig by Saint Mary's in their selected match, versus Loyola Marymount on October 18, or can make a flat donation. The money raised by each institution goes directly to the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. "The WCC is proud to participate in the `Dig for the Cure' program," said WCC Commissioner Michael Gilleran. "This is an excellent opportunity for our student-athletes to use their talents to help a very worthy cause." The Dig for the Cure campaign was originally started in 2003 by Charlotte Head Coach Lisa Marston, and has spread to numerous other volleyball programs across the country since.

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 begins West Coast Conference action next weekend versus Gonzaga and Portland in McKeon Pavilion. The Gaels face Gonzaga on Thursday September 27 at 7:00 P.M. and Portland on Saturday September 29 at 1:00 P.M.