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Volleyball Faces Cross-Bay Rival San Francisco

Nov. 3, 2006

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WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: The Saint Mary's women's volleyball team travels across the bay to face San Francisco for their lone match of the week on Saturday, November 4. Saturday's match will begin at 6:05 p.m. at War Memorial Gymnasium.

WHO'S HOT: Saint Mary's junior outside hitter Missie Stidham averaged 4.88 kills per game and 3.25 digs per game in two losses last week. Stidham recorded 21 kills and 20 digs in a five-game loss to No. 21 Santa Clara. Against No. 18 San Diego, Stidham recorded a team-high 18 kills with a .359 hitting percentage and added six digs in a three-game loss.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS SAN FRANCISCO: The Gaels are 26-17 all-time against the Dons, including a three-game sweep earlier this year at McKeon Pavilion. In the match earlier, Saint Mary's was led by Christina Kirk, who recorded 13 kills and added seven digs. The Gaels were very balanced offensively and recorded 10 blocks as a team. Missie Stidham recorded nine kills and six digs and Brittany Barker had seven kills and five blocks. As a team the Gaels hit .324 and held San Francisco to a .100 hitting percentage.

BLOCK PARTY: Saint Mary's once again is atop the blocking battle in the West Coast Conference. Saint Mary's recorded a season-high 25.5 blocks against Santa Clara and added another nine against San Diego last week to improve to blocks per game average to 3.21 for the season. During conference play, the Gaels are averaging 3.58 blocks per game. With the 34.5 blocks in two matches last week, the Gaels improved to No. 16 in the national rankings in blocks per game.

SAINT MARY'S DROPS IN RKPI: In the latest RKPI, the Gaels fell four spots to No. 56 in the nation and No. 13 in the Pacific Division. The Gaels went 0-2 last week, with losses to two nationally ranked teams.

BARKER LEADS WCC IN BLOCKS: Saint Mary's sophomore middle blocker Brittany Barker leads the conference in blocks per game, averaging 1.59. Barker's 1.59 blocks per game also ranks No. 11 in the nation.

BIBLE ACES WCC: The Gaels' senior setter Mandy Bible has recorded 18 aces in nine matches, averaging 0.50 aces per game, which leads the conference. Bible has recorded 29 aces on the year, which leads the team.

CAREER-HIGH FOR KIRK: Saint Mary's senior middle blocker/outside hitter Christina Kirk recorded a career-high 27 kills against Gonzaga on Saturday, October 21. Kirk's previous career-high was set earlier this year against No. 9 Santa Clara when she recorded 22 kills.

LAST WEEK: Saint Mary's went 0-2 against two nationally ranked teams. The Gaels lost 3-0 at No. 18 San Diego and then lost 3-2 at No. 21 Santa Clara. Against San Diego, the Gaels were led by Missie Stidham, who recorded 18 kills with a .359 hitting percentage. Christina Kirk added eighth kills and four blocks for the Gaels, while Mandy Bible had 29 assists, four kills, four blocks and six digs.Against No. 21 Santa Clara, the Gaels jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but lost the final three games to the Broncos. Stidham recorded 21 kills and 20 digs in the match and Christina Kirk had 17 kills and eight blocks. Cassandra Kolkka had 16 kills, eight digs and six blocks and Brittany Barker recorded 15 blocks.

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 to McKeon Pavilion for its final two home matches of the year. The Gaels will face Pepperdine on Thursday, November 9 at 7:05 p.m. and will face Loyola Marymount on Saturday, November 11 at 1:05 p.m.