MORAGA, Calif. — The Saint Mary's volleyball team plays its first home matches of 2017 this weekend, hosting Fresno State on Friday and CSUN Saturday at McKeon Pavilion. The Bulldogs and Matadors will also play a neutral site match on Saturday morning, all as part of a crossover tournament with San Francisco.
Saint Mary's first battle will be on Sep. 8 at 6 p.m against Fresno State. Last seaosn the Bulldogs competed in their third winning season in the last five years with a four-set win. Saturday concludes with a 7 p.m. match against CSUN.
Season and single-match tickets for Saint Mary's volleyball are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the Saint Mary's Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.
Fri., Sept. 8, 6 p.m. – Fresno State (4-3) at Saint Mary's (2-4)
Sat., Sept. 9, 11 a.m. – CSUN (4-2) vs. Fresno State
Sat., Sept. 9, 7 p.m. – CSUN vs. Saint Mary's
LAST TIME OUT
The Gaels picked up their first two wins of the season last weekend at the Ameritas Players Challenge in Lincoln, Neb. On Friday, SMC came back to beat Oral Roberts, 3-1, then swept UMBC, 3-0. In the de facto tournament “championship” game on Saturday versus host No. 12 Nebraska, the Gaels nearly took the first set and were still close in the second before being swept, 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-18).
ABOUT SAINT MARY'S
The Gaels have dropped four of their first six matches this season, but all four defeats came against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. Three of the defeats were to top-15 ranked opponents, and two of those were on the opponent's home floor. The Gaels
ABOUT FRESNO STATE
Fresno State (4-3) swept fellow San Joaquin Valley foe CSU Bakersfield, 3-0, on Tuesday to snap a two-match skid. The Bulldogs broke a three-set program record in the match with 21 total blocks, marking the highest blocks total by any NCAA Division I team so far this season.
Taylor Slover has already amassed 100 kills in seven matches this year. She also leads Fresno State with 10 service aces and is third with 20 blocks. Jacqueline Hutcheson is the team's top defender with 114 digs (4.75 per set). Haile Watson is the Bulldogs' leading blocker with 37 total blocks (eight solo).
The Matadors (4-2) are on a roll with four straight victories to their name. CSUN has topped San Diego State, Weber State, Pepperdine and Northeastern while only dropping one set with three sweeps. This weekend's crossover tournament is CSUN's third of four tourneys in a row to open 2017.
Five Matadors have at least 30 kills in the team's first six matches, led by Aeryn Owens' 95. Owens is also second on the team in digs (59, 2.68 per set) and tied for third in blocks (14). CSUN's lead blocker is Melissa Eaglin, averaging 1.00 blocks per set. Lauren Conati has handled the setting duties with 229 assists (10.41 per set).
HAPPY TO BE HOME
Saint Mary's is always happy to return to McKeon Pavilion and play on its home court. The Gaels have won four straight home openers dating to 2013. All four of those wins came in four sets or less. The last home opener SMC dropped was on Sept. 15, 2012, versus then-No. 7 Stanford.
Saint Mary's final non-conference matches of the season will feature their Bay Area Pac-12 foes. The Gaels travel to East Bay rival California for a 7 p.m. match on Sept. 15. The next night is a showdown in Moraga versus the defending national champion and current No. 4-ranked Stanford Cardinal at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16.
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