Nov. 5, 2007
WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: Saint Mary's volleyball will finish up their home slate versus Bay Area rival, Santa Clara, at 5:30 PM on Friday, November 9. The Gaels are currently fifth in the West Coast conference with a 5-6 record, while the SCU Broncos rank first with a 10-1 record. Friday's match marks the Gaels last appearance in McKeon Pavilion for the 2007 season.
LAST WEEK'S RECAP: Saint Mary's competed at home last weekend, when they faced #15 San Diego and San Francisco. The Gaels opened the weekend against the Toreros on Thursday, and were not able to take down the Top-25 ranked opponent, as they lost 3-0. Saint Mary's turned things around in their next outing, as they took down the Dons in four games, 33-31, 24-30, 30-21, 35-33. The win improved the Gaels to 5-6 in West Coast Conference and 13-10 overall.
WHO'S HOT?: Sophomore Lauren Jaeckel came up big for the Gaels against San Francisco, posting a career-high 16 kills and four blocks. Jaeckel took 32 attempts on the night, only making two errors, and posting an impressive .438 hitting efficiency. Late in game four the lefty recorded a huge block for Saint Mary's, helping the Gaels to a 35-33 win over the Dons.
SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Santa Clara currently holds the first place spot in the West Coast Conference, recording a 10-1 record thus far. The Broncos are 7-0 in conference on their home floor, and have won their last seven matches. Brittany Lowell leads the Broncos, averaging 4.82 kills per game, while also chipping in 3.11 digs per game. Senior Crystal Matich orchestrates Santa Clara's offense, averaging 14.24 assists per game and leading her team to a .233 team hitting percentage in conference. Matich's 14.24 marks first in the WCC in assists per game, and the Broncos are first in the WCC in kills per game as a team, with 16.84. The Broncos also lead the conference in aces, recording 91 to their opponents 47 (in WCC).
Libero Caroline Walters shattered the Santa Clara and West Coast Conference all-time digs record Saturday afternoon as she helped SCU to a 3-1 (30-28, 22-30, 30-23, 34-32) upset of No. 15 San Diego. The senior collected a team-best 18 digs to improve her career total to 1,869 and break the current career record of 1,860. Walters was named WCC- Player of the Week for her efforts, while teammate Krista Kelley picked up her first WCC- Player of the Month (for October). Kelley has recorded 4.71 kills per game in conference, while posting a .227 hitting percentage.
SAINT MARY'S VERSUS SANTA CLARA: The Gaels are 9-34 all time versus the Broncos, last defeating Santa Clara on September 28 in 2006. When the two teams last faced each other the Broncos came out on top, defeating the Gaels 3-0 at the Leavey Center. Saint Mary's Megan York led all hitters with 15 kills in the match, while also chipping in 10 digs. Brittany Lowell recorded the Broncos team-high, 13 kills, while Crystal Matich dished out a match-high 39 assists.
ACE FACTOR: The Gaels recorded a season-high 16 aces as a team on October 25th against the Portland Pilots. Junior Nikki Gonzales recorded a career-high seven aces in the four-game match, while sophomore Alita Fisher added five. Kelly Huston tabbed two aces for the Gaels, while Megan York and Taylor Groess tabbed one apiece. The 16 aces helped lead the Gaels to a 3-1 win over Portland. The Gaels were just two aces shy of breaking the school record of 18 aces by the Gaels versus Hofstra in 1995. Gonzales was only one ace shy of recording the most aces in a match by an individual.
SMC RANKS AMONG THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY: As of October 28 the Gaels are ranked 27th in blocks per game in the NCAA Division I. The division includes 325 teams from around the country. Megan Burton and Shannon Lowell are also among the best in the nation, individually ranking 41st and 48th in blocks per game. Outside hitter Megan York has also played a major role in adding to the Gaels national numbers, ranking 28th in the NCAA Division I in kills per game.
FISHER DIGS HER WAY TO THE TOP: Sophomore libero Alita Fisher currently ranks second in the WCC in digs per game in conference play. Fisher is currently second with 4.93 digs per game, behind San Francisco's Hayley Carroll with 5.41. In the Gaels match against the Pepperdine Waves the sophomore libero scooped up 31 digs in five-games, averaging 6.20 digs per game.
OTHER GAELS WHO RANK IN TOP-10 IN WCC PLAY: Megan York, fourth and fifth (4.44 kills and 4.98 points per game), Taylor Groess, 13th (3.12 kills per game), Nikki Gonzales, second (.50 aces per game), Alita Fisher, fifth (.41 aces per game), Shannon Lowell, second, (1.44 blocks per game), and Kapua Kamana'o, fifth (11.05 assists per game).
YORK RECORDS 16 DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Megan York has tallied a total of 16 double-doubles in 23 matches. Her 16 double-doubles ranks tied for first in the WCC with LMU's senior Heather Hughes. Her last double-double came against the San Francisco Dons when the freshman totaled 16 kills and 13 digs.
YOUNG GAELS LEAD THE WAY: Freshmen Megan York and Shannon Lowell are key components of this season's squad. York has posted 16 double-doubles as a freshman and ranks fourth in the WCC play in kills per game. York has not left the floor in any game this year, and has recorded double-digit kills in all but one of the Gaels matches this year (23 Total). Middle blocker Shannon Lowell has ignited for the Gaels in WCC play, placing second in the conference in blocks per game. Lowell averages 1.44 blocks per game in conference play, and has also posted a .247 hitting percentage.
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.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE GAELS: Saint Mary's finishes West Coast Conference play in Southern California, where they face Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. The Gaels will play in Malibu to start the weekend, taking on the Waves on Thursday, November 15 at 7:00 PM. Saint Mary's last match of conference against the LMU Lions will take place on Saturday, November 17 at 1:00 PM in Los Angeles, CA.