Dec. 6, 2009
PALO ALTO, CA - The No. 21 Saint Mary's women's volleyball team (23-5) played the match of the season, getting stellar performances from several places. Unfortunately it was not enough, as the Gaels fell to No. 4 Stanford (23-7) in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in five sets (25-21, 21-25, 22-25, 26-24, and 13-15) Saturday evening at Maples Pavilion. Highlighting the strong play was freshman Lauren Corp and Missy White and the three seniors Megan Burton, Alita Fisher and Lauren Jaeckel.
"I think we did a great job against a great program," said Head Coach Rob Browning. "We came into this match knowing that we would win. Not just hoping. We are a very confident team actually. And they believed it and they played like it until the final whistle. They believed they could win. And they are hurting right now because they put everything into it and left everything on the court. They had a great year. At some point we will look back at what a great year it was. And that is what I have told the girls. And the sooner they get over this and realize how great a year it was and how wonderfully they played in this game, the better it will be. We are proud of our team. We are proud of our seniors and they are really the catalyst of this team and the way they played tonight was indicative of who they been and how they have been their four years here."
As a team, the Gaels recorded 68 kills on the evening, the second highest total of the season. Leading the Gaels attack was freshman outside hitter, Lauren Corp. Corp recorded a new career-high with 25 kills, on 54 attempts for a .352 hitting percentage. Corp also recorded one ace, seven digs and two total blocks. Second on the team with 11 kills was Chanteal Satele. Freshman setter Missy White recorded her second-consecutive double-double and third of the season, recording a team-high 33 assists and 11 digs.
Senior Alita Fisher had an outstanding evening, notching 26 digs. Fisher finishes her career second all-time with 1,415 digs. Fellow seniors Megan Burton and Lauren Jaeckel had terrific evenings as well. Burton finished the night with 8 kills on 16 swings for a .375 hitting percentage, she also recorded one dig and one block. Burton finishes her career with a .311 hitting percentage, which is a new Saint Mary's record for career hitting percentage. Jaeckel finished the evening with seven kills on 25 swings for a .160 hitting percentage, she also recorded three digs. Jaeckel ends her career on a high-note setting new career-highs across the board in kills, kills per set, total attempts, hitting percentage, and total blocks.
Kapua Kamana'o finished the night with her third double-double of the season, notching 24 assists and 12 digs, she also had a team-high three service aces. Junior Megan York finished the night with six kills, 11 digs, two assists, two total blocks, and one ace. Shannon Lowell led the Gaels with six total blocks, two solo and four block assists, she also notched nine kills on 29 attempts for a .207 hitting percentage, with one ace and three digs.
To open the match the Cardinal jumped out to an early 7-3 lead, following three-straight service errors by the Gaels. After the Gaels calmed their nerves they settled into a tie with Stanford at 10 apiece following a kill by York. From there, the Gaels took control, holding the Cardinal to just eight kills in the first set, and a 0.000 hitting percentage. Following back to back kills from Corp, Saint Mary's took their first lead of the set, 12-11 Gaels. A service ace by Kapua Kamana'o gave the Gaels a three point lead, 15-12. A Satele kill gave the Gaels their largest lead of the set, up six, 18-12. The Cardinal rallied for five points to tie the match at 21 apiece. A solo block by Lowell put the Gaels up three again, 24-21. York's third kill of the set gave the Gaels the opening frame, 25-21.
The second set began with an error on the Gaels, but SMC quickly rallied, forcing a tie at four, following a kill by Corp. The Cardinal took a three point lead, 8-5, following a kill by Alix Klineman. Lowell put an end to the Cardinal run, sending a shot down the line for a kill, 9-6 Cardinal. Saint Mary's went on a run to tie the set at 13, following two service aces and an attack error from the Cardinal. At the media timeout the Gaels found themselves down one, 15-14 Stanford, following a kill by the Cardinal's Cassidy Lichtman. A block by Lowell and Jaeckel tied the match at 20. The Cardinal closed out the set on a three point run, capped off by a kill by Lichtman, 25-21 Stanford.
To open the third set, the Gaels jumped out to an early 3-1 lead following two Stanford attack errors and a kill by Jaeckel. The two sides traded points with the Gaels taking a 5-4 lead after Burton notched her third kill of the match. Stanford rallied for to take an 11-7 lead after two kills and an attack error from the Gaels. Corp's 12th kill of the match cut the Cardinal lead to four, 14-10. Kamana'o's third ace of the match brought the Gaels within two, 15-13. Burton's seventh kill, brought Saint Mary's to within one, 17-16. A Cardinal attack error tied the set up at 18. Another Cardinal attack error tied the set up at 20, the 19th tie of the match. After a long rally the Gaels took the lead, 21-20, following a kill by Corp. Stanford closed out the third set on an ace by Janet Okogbaa, 25-22 Stanford.
Corp opened up the fourth set with two kills, but the Gaels found themselves behind early, 5-4. A Lowell block and a pair of kills tied the set at nine. The hard fought play on both sides continued, with the Gaels tying the match at 13 following a Corp kill and a service ace. The Gaels took the lead, 14-13 following a kill by Satele. The Cardinal retook the lead, going up three, 17-14 following a kill by Okogbaa. SMC tied the set again at 18, after York notched her fifth kill of the match. Missy White's service ace gave the Gaels a two point lead, 20-18 Gaels. Stanford regained the lead after a Cardinal kill and a Gael attack error, 21-20 Stanford. A kill by White and Corp put Saint Mary's back out on top 22-21. Following a long rally Lowell notched a kill to go up one, Corp finished off the set with a kill down the line to force a fifth set, 26-24 Gaels.
Saint Mary's carried their momentum from the fourth set to take an early 3-1 lead in the fifth set, following kills from Corp and Jaeckel. Corp's 22nd kill tied the set at four apiece; the Gaels retook the lead, 5-4 following a Cardinal attack error. Corp struck again, putting the Gaels up one, 7-6. At the turn, the Gaels led 8-7 following a kill by Satele. After a spectacular dig by Fisher, York notched her sixth kill of the evening to go up one, 10-9. Stanford scored back-to-back points to go up 11-10 following a Cardinal kill and a SMC error. The Cardinal ended the Gaels magical run in five set matches, with the set tied at 13; two-straight Stanford points to seal the win, 15-13 and the match, on a kill by Stephanie Browne.
The match concluded the Gaels' 2009 season, finishing with a 23-5 overall record, which is the second best record in program history. With the loss the Gaels are 3-6 all-time in the post season, No. 4 Stanford moves on to face Michigan in the regional's on December 11.
Courtesy of SMC Sports Information