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Volleyball Opens Home Schedule Against Sacramento State

Sept. 21, 2006

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WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: The Saint Mary's volleyball team opens the 2006 home schedule at McKeon Pavilion on Saturday, September 23 at 7:05 p.m. against Sacramento State. The Gaels will play an exhibition match against the Alumni team on Friday, September 22 at 7:05 p.m.

WHO'S HOT: The Gaels' senior middle blocker Christina Kirk is once again leading the Saint Mary's offense. Kirk averaged 4.57 kills per game with a .424 hitting percentage last week against UC Irvine and No. 7 Stanford. Kirk also averaged 1.14 blocks and 0.71 aces per game. Kirk recorded a career-high 19 kills with a .533 hitting percentage against the Anteaters, including six blocks and five aces. Against No. 7 Stanford, Kirk recorded 13 kills with a .310 hitting percentage.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS SACRAMENTO STATE: The Gaels will face the Hornets for the 28th time in school history. The Gaels are 4-23 all-time versus the Hornets, but have won the last two meetings. The last meeting came in 2004, when the Gaels beat the Hornets 3-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament held at Cal. Last season marked the first time since the 1988 season that the Gaels and Hornets did not meet.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Saint Mary's volleyball team and staff finally return to McKeon Pavilion to face Sacramento State. The Gaels spent the first four weeks of the season on the road, which included trips to Alabama and Nebraska.

STIDHAM LEADING THE WAY: Saint Mary's junior outside hitter Missie Stidham leads the Gaels with 3.78 kills per game. Stidham has recorded 136 kills in 36 games this season. Stidham is also averaged 2.39 digs per game, which ranks third on the team.

LAST WEEK: Saint Mary's went 1-1 last week with a 3-1 victory over UC Irvine and a 3-0 loss to No. 7 Stanford. Against UC Irvine, the Gaels were led by Christina Kirk, who recorded a career-high 19 kills with a .533 hitting percentage. Missie Stidham recorded 21 kills in the match and Brittany Barker recorded 10 blocks and six kills. Cassandra Kolkka added 15 digs at libero. Mandy Bible led the offense with 51 assists, seven digs and six blocks.Against No. 7 Stanford, the Gaels were led by Stidham, who recorded a match-high 16 kills. Kirk added 13 kills for the Gaels and Taylor Groess had 10 kills.

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.

THREE FRESHMEN JOIN THE ROSTER: Saint Mary's head coach Rob Browning added 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 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 opens the West Coast Conference schedule against No. 9 Santa Clara and San Diego next week. The Gaels will face Santa Clara on Thursday, September 28 at 7:05 p.m. before hosting San Diego on Saturday, September 30 at 2:05 p.m.