"This was a satisfying win because it's a good team and we made a significant change halfway through the match where we ramped up the intensity level," said head coach Rob Browning. "We were coasting through most of the match and then we were down 20-17... after that point, the girls finally started to make a lot of little hustle plays that turned that set around and carried into the third set. USF is good and its really nice to beat them twice this season."
The Gaels were led by Jordan Shaw with 14 kills and 13 digs while Gabby Jolly finished with 11 kills on .526 hitting. Kristina Graven added eight nine kills and 10 digs while Samantha Tinsley finished with eight kills.
SMC outhit USF .252 - .192 in the match.
"It was a good win," said junior Kristina Graven. "The team played well and improved as the game went on. We had to pick up our defense and scrap to pull it out... we came together and played well at the end. San Francisco played great defense and really challenged us to be patient and play our game."
In the first set, the Gaels took advantage of several USF errors in the early going, jumping out to an 11-5 lead. USF pulled back within 17-14, but the Gaels quickly responded with a run to lead 21-16 after kills by Tinsley and Lauren Corp. USF did pull within 23-20, but the Gaels closed the set with a block by Jolly and Corp, along with a kill by Tinsley at 25-20.
The Gaels found themselves down 21-18 in the second set before five straight points gave SMC the lead. Corp had a nice service run which put SMC up 23-21. After USF scored the next point, SMC got a kill from Graven and a USF error to give SMC the 25-22 win.
SMC had a strong third set after the intermission. SMC took a 16-11 lead after a Corp ace. USF pulled with 17-14, but the Gaels responded with a run to up the lead to 20-15 after a Shaw kill. The Gaels would then cruise to the 25-19 win.
Saint Mary's is back in action on Saturday when it hosts a Senior Day match-up against Santa Clara at 1:00 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion. Anna Schroeder, Gabby Jolly, Lauren Corp and Missy White will be honored in a ceremony before first serve.