MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team (5-4) plays two matches this upcoming weekend which includes its 2012 home opener against No. 7 Stanford. The Gaels play at Cal in Berkeley on Friday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, the Gaels host the 7th-ranked Cardinal at 7:00 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion. The match against Stanford will be the first of five consecutive home matches for the Gaels.
This week's volleyball promotion is the Home Opener Extravaganza. Come early to help cheer on the Gaels and get your face painted red, white and blue, create posters to support the team and be on the lookout for giveaways thrown into the crowd.
Also, Gael Force members are to wear the white Gael Force t-shirt when attending the game. If a certain number of Gael Force members attend, all members will receive a prize as you exit McKeon Pavilion at the end of the game.
All fans at the game are encouraged to wear as much blue as possible.
Last week the Gaels took a long road trip going to both Manhattan, Kansas and Eugene, Oregon. At Kansas State, the Gaels lost to No. 22 K-State and defeated Utah State. On Monday, the Gaels played at Oregon and played the Ducks tough but lost in three sets.
So far this season, the Gaels have played four nationally ranked opponents in Stanford, Hawaii, Kansas State and Oregon. The West Coast Conference schedule will be tough as well, with nationally ranked teams such as BYU, Pepperdine and San Diego.
Saint Mary's is 2-13 all-time against Cal. The Gaels last defeated Cal during the 2004 season in five sets in Berkeley. The teams last met in 2010 as the Golden Bears won in three sets.
The Gaels are 2-10 all-time against Stanford. The teams last met in 2010, a four set loss in McKeon Pavilion. The Gaels last defeated the Cardinal in 2004, a 3-1 SMC victory in Moraga. Stanford has won the last seven meetings.
Saint Mary's is led by Kristina Graven with a team best 3.29 kills per set. Gabby Jolly (3.11 kills per set) and Lauren Corp (3.07) are also averaging over three kills per set. Sarah Reams has played libero the last few matches and is averaging 2.95 digs per set. Dalas Dodd is the setter with 11.86 assists per set and a team high 13 aces.
The Gaels have been playing improved matches of late. In the last five matches, the Gaels are hitting at a .260 clip as a team. Jolly is hitting at a .416 clip with a team-high 3.67 kills per set during that stretch. Corp is also hitting at a .293 clip in September with three kills per set.
After this weekend, the Gaels begin West Coast Conference action hosting Loyola Marymount on Thursday, September 20 at 7:00 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion.