SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- A second set win got the Saint Mary's volleyball team back in Thursday's match against San Francisco but the Dons would take the next two as the Gaels fell 25-21, 17-25, 25-23, 25-18 at War Memorial Gymnasium.
Madelyn Hutson led Saint Mary's (10-6, 6-2 West Coast Conference) with a career-high 16 kills. Jordan Shaw added 15 kills and Dalas Dodd had 40 assists.
The first set saw Saint Mary's take a pair of leads early, building a 4-1 advantage and, later, a 13-9 edge after an ace by Dodd and an attack by San Francisco that landed wide. A block by Samantha Tinsley made it 15-10 Gaels and had the visitors in control.
That lead would not last though, as San Francisco a massive 10-1 run to take a 20-16 lead. Though Saint Mary's would fight to stay in it, a kill by Hutson would be the final Gaels point of the set as San Francisco scored the final two to win 25-21.
Saint Mary's stormed back in the second, and did so largely on the thunderous right arm of Hutson. The 6-foot-5 middle blocker gave the Gaels a boost midway through the set when she went on a four-point run on her own to put SMC up 11-5. Two of those points came on one-touch points thanks to some pinpoint serving by Mileva Popovic.
The Gaels would only build on that lead, and a late San Francisco charge only delayed the set a bit as a Hutson kill up right up the middle made it 24-15 and, three points later, a service error by the Dons gave Saint Mary's the 25-17 set win.
San Francisco claimed a tense third set thanks to an ability to respond when challenged. With the Dons up 19-14, Saint Mary's called time out. Coming out of that break, the Gaels scored four points in a row, with three coming from Hutson as SMC narrowed the gap to one.
The teams would go back and forth from there on though, as Saint Mary's could never pull even. An ace by Graven cut the deficit to 23-24, but a service error ended the set in favor of the Dons.
San Francisco would take control right from the start of the fourth set, going on a 7-2 run to start the set. The deficit would get no closer than four, and a tip play would give the Dons the final point and the victory.
Saint Mary's returns to action Saturday when the Gaels finish a pair of rivalry matches by visiting Santa Clara for a 1 p.m. match. Links to live streaming video and statistics can be found on the volleyball schedule page on SMCGaels.com. The Gaels return to McKeon Pavilion next week for matches against San Diego and BYU. Tickets to those matches are available by clicking the Tickets link on SMCGaels.com.