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Volleyball Closes Out WCC Play in Southern California

Nov. 12, 2007

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WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: Saint Mary's volleyball will finish their 2007 West Coast Conference season in Southern California this weekend. The Gaels will play the Pepperdine Waves to start the weekend, the match will take place on Thursday, November 15 at 7:00 PM in Malibu, CA. Saint Mary's will then face the Loyola Marymount Lions on Saturday, November 17 at 1:00 PM. The Lions are currently tied with the Gaels for fourth place in the WCC.

LAST WEEK'S RECAP: The Gaels came-up with a big win over the weekend, beating WCC first place runner, Santa Clara in a thrilling five-game victory. Saint Mary's defeated Santa Clara 30-17, 26-30, 30-21, 25-30, 15-10 in a 5:30 PM game in McKeon Pavilion. The attendance at the five-game match marked the largest home crowd all year, as Saint Mary's played in front of 1,428 fans. The win improved the Gaels record to 6-6 in WCC play, and 14-10 overall. The Broncos loss was only their second in WCC play thus far, as they remain in first place with a 10-2 WCC record.

WHO'S HOT?: Sophomore opposite, Lauren Jaeckel, led the Gaels to a 3-2 defeat over the WCC leading Santa Clara Broncos. The lefty posted 14 kills on 29 swings with only two errors on the night. With the stellar offensive performance, the sophomore posted a remarkable .379 hitting efficiency against the Broncos. Not only did Jaeckel provide a great offensive boost for the Gaels, the Colorado native did her job on the defensive end as well, picking up nine blocks in the game, including one solo. Jaeckel's blocking helped keep Santa Clara's hitting percentage down, as the Broncos posted a .208 hitting percentage in the match. With the win, Jaeckel and the Gaels improve to 6-6 in WCC play, and 14-10 overall.

SCOUTING THE WAVES: Pepperdine currently ranks third in the WCC with an 8-4 overall record. Julie Rubenstein leads the way for the Waves, posting 4.64 kills per game in conference play, while also chipping 2.74 digs and 0.36 blocks per game. Joining Rubenstein is outside hitter Rachel Lumsden. Lumsden has posted 3.13 kills, 2.35 digs, and 0.57 blocks per game. Sophomore Kiah Fiers directs the Pepperdine offense, leading her team to .265 hitting percentage. Fiers ranks second in the WCC in assists per game, posting 12.98 per game thus far. In Pepperdine's last outing, they were defeated by #19 San Diego in a five-game match at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Waves were led by Rubenstein in the match, recording 29 kills, eleven digs, and a .288 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Cassie Chamberlain added 15 kills in the match with a .310 hitting efficiency, while Fiers posted 64 assists, 11 digs, and seven kills.

SMC VERSUS PEPPERDINE: In the Gaels first match-up against the Waves this season, Saint Mary's edged Pepperdine in five-games in McKeon Pavilion. Saint Mary's was paced by outside hitter Megan York's 28 kills and 17 digs. Taylor Groess added 18 kills and four blocks for the Gaels, while Shannon Lowell chipped in 13 kills. The Waves were led by Lecca Roberts, who tallied 17 kills and five blocks with a .448 hitting percentage. Saint Mary's is 5-36 all-time versus Pepperdine, with four of the five wins coming in the last four seasons.

SCOUTING THE LIONS: Loyola Marymount is led by senior opposite Heather Hughes. Hughes has recorded 5.27 kills per game this season for the Lions, while also contributing 3.23 digs, 0.44 blocks, and 0.31 aces per game. Hughes is second in conference play in kills per game, with 4.80, and fourth in the NCAA overall, with 5.27. The next best attacker on the team is Emily Day. Day has recorded 3.95 kills per game this season, while adding 3.24 digs per game. In the Lions last outing, Day led the way with 27 kills and a .400 hitting percentage. Loyola Marymount defeated San Francisco in four games, 26-30, 30-23, 30-21, 30-27 on Saturday, November 10.

SMC VERSUS LMU: The last time these two teams faced each other, the Lions defeated the Gaels in three games. The Gaels lost by two points in the last two games, 31-29, 31-29. Megan York recorded a match-high 20 kills for Saint Mary's, but her efforts would not be enough as Loyola Marymount's Day and Hughes recorded 16 and 18 kills respectively. No other Gael recorded double-digits in kills, as Saint Mary's was held to a .115 hitting percentage. The Lions lead the series 11-30, with Saint Mary's last win coming in the Gaels last home game of the 2006 season.

SMC BLOCK PARTY: In the Gaels win over the Santa Clara Broncos, each front-row player recorded at least two blocks. Leading the way was junior Brittany Barker, recording a match-high 10 blocks, including one solo. Lauren Jaeckel and Megan York posted nine and eight blocks respectively, while Shannon Lowell added five. Rounding out the blocking was freshman setter K apua Kamana'o with three, and outside hitter Taylor Groess with two. As a team the Gaels recorded 21 blocks in the match, while the Broncos only recorded eight. The Gaels stellar defense kept Santa Clara's hitting percentage down, as they posted a .208 hitting efficiency as a team.

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.

FISHER DIGS HER WAY TO 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, sixth and10th (4.24 kills and 3.24 digs per game), Nikki Gonzales, second (.44 aces per game), Alita Fisher, fourth and fifth (4.59 digs per game and.41 aces per game), Shannon Lowell, second, (1.39 blocks per game), and Kapua Kamana'o, fifth (11.05 assists per game).

YORK RECORDS 17 DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Megan York has tallied a total of 17 double-doubles in 24 matches. Her 17 double-doubles ranks tied for first in the WCC with LMU's senior Heather Hughes. Her last double-double came against the Santa Clara Broncos when the freshman totaled 13 kills and 13 digs.

YOUNG GAELS LEAD THE WAY: Freshmen Megan York, Shannon Lowell, and Kapua Kamana'o are key components of this season's squad. York has posted 17 double-doubles as a freshman and ranks sixth 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 (24 total). Middle blocker Shannon Lowell has ignited for the Gaels in WCC play, placing second in the conference in blocks per game. Lowell averages 1.39 blocks per game in conference play, and has also posted a .260 hitting percentage. Kapua Kamana'o has found her rhythm at the setting position, creating a well balanced offense with multiple hitters recording double-digit kills. Kamana'o ranks fifth in the WCC in assists per game, and has totaled 486 in conference play.

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: The Gaels will finish the 2007 regular season at the Pacific Tournament held in Stockton, CA. Saint Mary's will face Cincinnati the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23 at 5:00 PM and the winner of the Pacific vs. Fresno State match on Saturday, November 24 at a time to be determined.