MORAGA, Calif. — The Saint Mary's women's volleyball team's challenging schedule continues this weekend with East Bay rival California and defending national champion No. 4 Stanford. The Gaels travel to Berkeley on Friday before hosting the Cardinal Saturday night at McKeon Pavilion.
Saint Mary's (4-4) will take on California (8-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in Haas Pavilion. Saturday concludes the Gaels' non-conference slate in a big way – with a showdown versus 2016 NCAA national champion Stanford (5-2) at 7 p.m. Last season, the Gaels fell short to both teams, though they took a set from California in a closely contested match.
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. 15, 7 p.m. — Saint Mary's (4-4) at California (8-1)
Sat., Sept. 16, 7 p.m. — Stanford (5-2) at Saint Mary's (4-4)
ABOUT SAINT MARY'S
The Gaels (4-4) were unbeaten in their home-opening weekend with back-to-back sweeps over Fresno State and CSUN on Friday and Saturday. Friday's sweep over the Bulldogs marked SMC's fifth straight win in a home opener, dating to 2013.
Morgan Hughes led the Gaels in nearly every single category on both offense and defense last weekend. Hughes hit a team-best .514 with 19 kills - the most of any Gael. She averaged 3.17 kills per set. Hughes hit an impressive .647 with 11 kills and no errors Saturday versus CSUN. She also had a team-high 10 blocks and six service aces.
California (8-1) swept all three matches it played at the Rice Tournament in Houston last weekend, pushing its winning streak to eight matches. The Golden Bears took down host Rice, Louisiana Lafayette and Incarnate Word. Cal's current streak is its longest since the 2013 season.
Bears senior Antzela Dempi leads the team with 103 kills and a .379 hitting percentage. Christine Alftin is one of the Bears' top hitters and needs just 209 more kills to reach 1,000 in her career. Freshman Isabel Potter has already posted 172 assists in her first year, teaming with Mackenzie Albrecht, who has 208. On the defensive end, Jessica Gaffaney leads Cal with 123 digs, including a career-high 23 last week at Rice.
Stanford (5-2) won its seventh NCAA title in program history, and its first since 2004, as the youngest team ever to play in a Final Four. The Cardinal's only two defeats this season both came at the hands of Penn State on neutral courts. Stanford has yet to play a home match in 2017.
Kathryn Plummer leads the Pac-12 and ranks sixth in the nation in kills per set (5.00). She recorded a career-high 27 kills and 11 digs last week versus then-No. 5 Penn State for her second double-double of the season. Stanford's sophomore starting setter and nationally ranked Jenna Gray matched her career high of 40 assists against Penn State.
Saint Mary's opens West Coast Conference play on Sept. 21 at Gonzaga. The conference-opening road trip continues on Sept. 23 at Portland.
SUPPORT THE GAELS
A gift to the Gael Athletic Fund directly benefits Saint Mary's student-athletes, allowing them the opportunity to attain an education guided by our Catholic, Lasallian and Liberal Arts traditions. Click the link for more information.
FOLLOW THE GAELS
@SMCGaels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) SMC_Gaels (Snapchat)