Sept. 27, 2006
WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: The Saint Mary's volleyball team begins West Coast Conference play on Thursday and Saturday this week at McKeon Pavilion. The Gaels host No. 9 Santa Clara at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, before hosting No. 25 San Diego at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday, September 30. Both matches will be played in McKeon Pavilion and both matches will be the first of conference play for all teams.
WHO'S HOT: The Gaels' senior opposite hitter and libero Cassandra Kolkka, recorded 22 digs in one match against Sacramento State last week. Kolkka, who played libero against the Hornets, also had one ace in the three games.
SAINT MARY'S VERSUS SANTA CLARA: The Gaels hold an 8-32 all-time record against the Broncos, but have won three out of the last four meetings against Santa Clara. The Broncos come into Thursday's match with a 10-2 overall record and a No. 9 national ranking. Saint Mary's lost 3-0 at McKeon Pavilion last season, but won 3-1 at Santa Clara.
SAINT MARY'S VERSUS SAN DIEGO: The Gaels are 6-34 all-time against the Toreros, but split the season series last year. The Gaels won 3-2 at home and fell 3-2 at San Diego a year ago. San Diego comes into the match with a 10-4 overall record and just received a No. 25 ranking this week. San Diego will play at San Francisco on Thursday, before facing the Gaels on Saturday.
SAINT MARY'S TOPS AT THE NET: The Gaels are once again leading the West Coast Conference in blocking. After leading the conference last season, the Gaels are first again this year after 11 matches. Saint Mary's is averaging 2.86 blocks per game, just slightly ahead of San Francisco.
BARKER, KIRK RANK 2 AND 3: The Gaels front line of Brittany Barker and Christina Kirk rank No. 2 and No. 3 in blocking in the WCC, respectively. Barker is averaging 1.37 blocks per game and Kirk is averaging 1.14 blocks per.
ALUMNI PLAY AGAIN IN MCKEON: Saint Mary's called a list of former players and several supporters of the school to play in its second annual alumni match. The Gaels had another successful tournament as the team played against the 2006 squad. Former players such as Meg Herr (Hauser), Rachel Avilla, Lindsey Bogason, Leslie McKinley, Raechel Parker, Jill Parmele and Suzanne Sarkees made the trip back to McKeon Pavilion.
LAST WEEK: Saint Mary's went 0-1 last week, only playing Sacramento State in an official match. The Gaels lost 3-0 to the Hornets, with Christina Kirk once again leading the way. Kirk recorded 10 kills with a .320 hitting percentage and five digs in the match. Taylor Groess recorded a team-high 13 kills and Brittany Barker and Megan Burton each had seven kills. Mandy Bible had 33 assists, four kills and seven digs and Cassandra Kolkka had 22 digs.The Gaels played an exhibition match earlier in the week against the University of Montreal, which they won 3-0. Later in the week the Gaels played in an Alumni match, that featured nine former players and supporters of the Gaels.
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.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Saint Mary's volleyball team and staff finally returned to McKeon Pavilion to face Sacramento State on September 23. The Gaels spent the first four weeks of the season on the road, which included trips to Alabama and Nebraska.
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 continue its three-match homestand when it hosts San Francisco in one match next week. The Gaels will face the Dons at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, October 7 at McKeon Pavilion.