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Volleyball Wraps Up First Round of WCC Play

Oct. 15, 2007

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WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: The Gaels return home after two weekends on the road to face Southern California oppponents Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. First on the schedule for Saint Mary's are the LMU Lions on October 18 at 7:00 PM. The match marks the Gaels "Dig for the Cure" event, in which fans can sponsor the team to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation. On Saturday Saint Mary's will wrap-up the first round of West Coast Conference play versus the Pepperdine Waves. The match will take place at 1:00 PM on October 20.

LAST WEEK'S RECAP: Saint Mary's played one match over the weekend versus the Santa Clara Broncos. The Broncos defeated the Gaels in three games, by scores of 30-26, 30-26, 30-21. Freshman Megan York recorded her 12th double-double of the season, with 15 kills and 10 digs. Santa Clara was led by junior outside hitter Brittany Lowe with 13 kills and six digs.

SCOUTING THE LIONS: LMU is currently tied with SMC and Gonzaga for fifth place in the WCC with a 2-3 record. The Lions tallied a 1-1 record over the weekend, defeating San Francisco and falling to San Diego. LMU is led by senior outside hitter Heather Hughes, who currently ranks first in Division I and the WCC for kills in a game with 5.93. The senior also leads the WCC in double-doubles, with 13. Emily Day joins Hughes in the kill category, tallying 3.69 kills per game on the season, while also adding 3.00 digs per game. The Lions are coached by Steve Stratos who is in his 18th year.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: The Gaels have faced the Lions 40 times in program history, posting an 11-29 record. In 2006, Saint Mary's won both of their matches against LMU, defeating the Lions in three games in their final home match of the season. While on the road the Gaels came up with a thrilling victory, defeating the Lions 3-2 on October 12th.

SCOUTING THE WAVES: Pepperdine is currently tied for first in the WCC,with a 4-1 record thus far. The Waves are coming off a 1-1 record over the weekend, falling to San Diego in three games and defeating San Francisco in five games. Pepperdine is led by junior Julie Rubenstein, tallying 4.84 kills per game in WCC competition. Joining Rubenstein is sophomore Rachel Lumsden, recording 3.45 kills and 0.57 aces per game over the season. Pepperdine leads the league in hitting percentage, posting a .285 mark overall and .263 in conference play. Pepperdine is coached by Nina Matthies, who is currently in her 24th season with Waves.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS PEPPERDINE: The Gaels have faced the Waves 40 times in program history, tallying a 4-36 record. In 2006 Saint Mary's lost both of their matches versus Pepperdine. The last time the two teams faced each other, the Gaels fell to the Waves in a thrilling five-game match at McKeon Pavilion on November 9th.

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 G. 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.

SMC RANKS AMONG THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY: As of October 7 the Gaels rank 10th in blocks per game in the NCAA Division I. The division includes 325 teams from around the country. Megan Burton and Megan York are also among the best in the nation, individually ranking 13th and 37th in blocks and kills per game respectively. Shannon Lowell has also played a major role in adding to the Gaels blocking numbers, ranking 26th in the NCAA Division I in blocks per game.

BURTON AND LOWELL TOP WCC IN BLOCKS: Sophomore middle blocker Megan Burton ranks first in the West Coast Conference in blocks per game (overall), while freshman Shannon Lowell ranks first in WCC play. Burton posts 1.57 block per game average, with 88 total blocks on the year. Joining Burton for the block party is freshman Shannon Lowell. Lowell has tabbed 1.94 blocks per game in WCC play, totaling 35 in five matches.

OTHER GAELS WHO RANK IN TOP-10 IN WCC PLAY: Megan York, fifth (4.22 kills per game), Alita Fisher, fourth (4.56 digs per game), Kapua Kamana'o, eighth (7.94 assists per game), and Christy Payne, third and 10th (0.43 aces and 5.79 assists per game).

YORK RECORDS 12 DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Megan York has tallied a total of 12 double-doubles in 17 matches. Her 12 double-doubles rank second in the WCC behind LMU's senior Heather Hughes.

YOUNG GAELS LEAD THE WAY: Freshmen Megan York and Shannon Lowell are key components of this season's squad. York has posted 12 double-doubles as a freshman and ranks among the Top-10 in the WCC in kills per game. Middle blocker Shannon Lowell has ignited for the Gaels in WCC play, leading the conference in blocks per game. Lowell averages 1.94 blocks per game in conferene play, and has also tallied 136 kills on the season.

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.

2006 WCC LEADERS: In 2006 the Gaels finished the season first in the conference in blocks per game. Saint Mary's averaged an impressive 3.25 block per game average, and had a number of players rank at the top of the WCC in blocks per game. As a sophomore Brittany Barker led the way for the Gaels, tallying 1.59 blocks per game, ranking her first in the WCC. Megan Burton recorded 1.02 blocks per game and was named to the WCC All Freshman Team for her 2006 performance.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE GAELS: Saint Mary's will start the second round of the WCC in the Northwest, facing Portland and Gonzaga on the road. The Gaels will first play Portland at the Chiles Center on Thursday, October 25 at 7:00 PM. The Gaels defeated the Pilots in four games in McKeon Pavilion in their first match-up of the season. Saint Mary's will then fly north to play the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday, October 27 at 5:00 PM. The last time the two teams faced the Gaels came up with a 3-0 victory over the Bulldogs in McKeon Pavilion.