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Volleyball Hits the Road for the Final Time in 2006

Nov. 15, 2006

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WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE: The Saint Mary's women's volleyball team hits the road for the final time this season when they travel to the Pacific Northwest. The Gaels will face Gonzaga on Thursday, November 16 at 7:05 p.m. before facing Portland on Saturday, November 18 at 1:05 p.m.

WHO'S HOT: Saint Mary's junior outside hitter Missie Stidham had an outstanding weekend for the Gaels. Stidham averaged 4.75 kills, 4.25 digs and 1.00 ace per game against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. In a win over Loyola Marymount, Stidham recorded 18 kills, 12 digs and six aces in a 3-0 victory. Against Pepperdine, Stidham had 20 kills, 22 digs and two aces in a five-game loss.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS GONZAGA: The Gaels come into Thursday's match having won six out of the last eight matches. Saint Mary's suffered a tough five-game loss earlier this season to the Bulldogs at McKeon Pavilion.

SAINT MARY'S VERSUS PORTLAND: The Gaels have won 10 straight matches against the Pilots, including a 3-0 sweep earlier this year at McKeon Pavilion. The Gaels have won their last four matches in Portland.

BLOCK PARTY: Saint Mary's once again is atop the blocking battle in the West Coast Conference. Saint Mary's recorded 28 blocks last week combined against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount to improve its blocks per game average to 3.27 for the season. During conference play, the Gaels are averaging 3.61 blocks per game. The Gaels improved to No. 13 in the national rankings in blocks per game.

SAINT MARY'S CLIMBS IN RKPI: In the latest RKPI, the Gaels moved up five spots to No. 54 in the nation and No. 13 in the Pacific Division. The Gaels went 1-1 last week, with a win over Loyola Marymount and a loss to Pepperdine, who has a national RKPI of 19.

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.

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 1-1 last week with a win over Loyola Marymount and a loss to Pepperdine. The Gaels were led by Missie Stidham, who averaged 4.75 kills, 4.25 digs and 1.00 ace per game. Christina Kirk averaged 2.75 kills, 1.38 blocks and 1.25 digs, while Cassandra Kolkka averaged 3.25 digs and 2.38 kills per game. Mandy Bible led the offense, averaging 11.62 assists, 2.62 digs and 1.38 blocks per game. As libero, freshman Alita Fisher averaged 5.00 digs per game.

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.