PORTLAND, Ore. - The Saint Mary's women's volleyball team improved to .500 on the year after defeating the Portland Pilots in five sets on the road at the Chiles Center on Thursday evening. The Gaels had five player's record double-figures in kills and ran their winning-streak against the Pilots to 10 matches.
Saint Mary's (12-12/6-6 WCC) evens up their record for the first time since they were 6-6 on September 17. As a team, the Gaels hit .310 with 71 kills on 158 attempts with 21 errors. After the opening set, in which SMC hit .215, the Gaels never hit lower than .275. Moreover, in the three sets the Gaels won, the sets never featured a tie or a lead change.
Leading the offensive explosion for the Gaels was junior middle blocker Gabby Jolly who recorded a career-high .538 hitting percentage, smashing 16 kills on 26 swings with two errors. Fellow middle blocker Natalie Loos followed Jolly's lead, tallying a career-high in hitting percentage, blasting 11 kills on 23 swings for a .348 attack percentage.
On the outside Jordan Shaw finished with 14 kills, seven digs and two aces. Lauren Corp collected her 12th double-double of the year with 13 kills and 11 digs. Samantha Tinsley hit .261 with 11 kills and eight digs. Missy White collected her 12th double-double with 56 assists and 13 digs. She also served up three aces, giving her 35 for the season which is a new career-high. Sarah Reams collected a match-high 22 digs.
Portland (8-17/2-10 WCC) was led by Marissa Plummer's team-leading 14 kills, while Ariel Usher notched a double-double with 14 kills and 13 digs. The Pilots hit .183 on the evening, collecting 53 kills as a team on 153 swings with 25 errors.
In the opening set the Pilots capitalized on SMC's seven hitting errors and took the set 22-25. The Pilots hit just .200 in the frame but it would be enough when Usher blasted a kill to take the set and the lead in the match.
In the second set the Gaels jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. From there the Gaels were able to hang on as the Pilots made several rallies to cut the Gaels lead. SMC hit .350 on the set throwing down 18 kills on 40 swings with four errors.
With the Pilots leading 2-1 after the third set, the Gaels seized total control of the match. SMC blasted Portland 25-12 in the fourth set. SMC hit .409 with 10 kills on 22 swings, all while playing stifling defense. The Pilots attack suffered through a match-low -0.031 hitting percentage with nine kills on 32 attempts with 10 errors.
In the fifth and final set the Gaels jumped out to an 8-4 lead at the turn and held the lead, improving to five and five in matches that go to five sets. Shaw's 14th kill of the night sealed the deal 15-9, and also marked the third set in which Saint Mary's hit over .350.
The Gaels return to action on Saturday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. when SMC takes on the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Martin Centre.