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Volleyball Travels South to Face LMU, Pepperdine

Oct. 11, 2006

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WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: The Saint Mary's volleyball team travels to Southern California to take on Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine in two matches this weekend. The Gaels will face the Lions on Thursday, October 12 at 7:05 p.m. from Gersten Pavilion and will face the Waves on Saturday, October 14 at 1:05 p.m. from Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

WHO'S HOT: The Gaels' senior opposite hitter/middle blocker Christina Kirk once again led the Gaels with kills in a 3-0 victory over San Francisco. Kirk recorded 13 kills with a .323 hitting percentage while playing opposite, outside and middle blocker. Kirk also added seven digs in the back row, three blocks and one ace.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: The Gaels are 9-29 all-time against the Lions, but have won four out of the last five meetings. Saint Mary's split the season series last year, with a 3-2 win at home and a 3-1 loss at LMU.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS PEPPERDINE: The Gaels are 4-34 all-time against the Waves, but have won three out of the last four meetings. Saint Mary's split the season series against Pepperdine last year, with a 3-1 win at home and a 3-2 loss in Malibu.

BLOCK PARTY: Saint Mary's once again is atop the blocking battle in the West Coast Conference. After recording 10 blocks in three games last week, the Gaels are now averaging 2.91 blocks per game. San Francisco is now second, averaging 2.87 blocks per game.

GAELS WIN BLOCKING BATTLE: The Gaels and Dons came into last Saturday's match with a close battle going on between two of the top blocking teams in the conference. USF led the battle, but the Gaels out-blocked the Dons 10-4 in the match.

BARKER LEADS WCC IN BLOCKS: Saint Mary's sophomore middle blocker Brittany Barker leads the conference in blocks per game, averaging 1.43. During conference play, Barker is averaging 1.58 blocks per game.

BIBLE ACES WCC: The Gaels' senior setter has recorded seven aces in three matches, averaging 0.58 aces per game. Bible has recorded 18 aces on the year and seven during WCC play.

CAREER-HIGH FOR KIRK: Saint Mary's senior middle blocker/outside hitter Christina Kirk recorded a career-high 22 kills against No. 9 Santa Clara on Thursday, September 28. Kirk's previous career-high was set earlier this year against when she recorded 19 kills against UC Irvine.

LAST WEEK: Saint Mary's went 1-0 last week, beating San Francisco 3-0 at McKeon Pavilion. The Gaels won 30-22, 30-25, 30-25. Saint Mary's was once again led by Christina Kirk, who recorded 13 kills, seven digs, three blocks and one ace.Mandy Bible set the pace for the Gaels with 36 assists, six digs, three blocks, three aces and two kills. Missie Stidham had nine kills and six digs and Taylor Groess had eight kills. Brittany Barker added seven kills and five blocks and Cassandra Kolkka had 18 digs.

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.

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 returns home to face Portland and Gonzaga. The Gaels will host the Pilots on Thursday, October 19 at 7:05 p.m. and host Gonzaga on Saturday, October 21 at 7:05 p.m. Both games are at McKeon Pavilion.