Moraga, CA – The Saint Mary’s women’s volleyball team received exciting news Sunday night, as they earned a place in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Head Coach Rob Browning and the Gaels will stay close to home, playing in Berkeley, CA where they will take on the New Mexico State Aggies in the first round of competition. The match is scheduled for Friday, December 5 at 6:00 PM, with California (Eight Seed) and Siena taking the floor for the second match at 8:00 PM. The winners of the first rounds will then square off on Saturday, December 6 at 8:00 PM. All three matches are hosted by California, and will be located on campus at Haas Pavilion.
The at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament is the fourth in Saint Mary’s volleyball history, as the Gaels made appearances in 2003, 2004, and 2005. The last time the Gaels played in Berkeley, CA they advanced to the round of 16, after defeating Sacramento State and California in Hasas Pavilion. In 2003 and 2005 the team experienced first round losses, with California defeating them in 2003, and Arkansas in 2005. This year’s tournament will allow five seniors their second chance at a post season win, as Brittany Barker, Nikki Gonzalez, Taylor Groess, Lyndsey Parker, and Erin Thompson were all members of the 2005 team.
After a stellar 20-win season, Browning and the Gaels are peaking at just the right time, posting a 6-1 record through the second round of West Coast Conference play. Competing in one of the toughest conferences in the country, the Gaels finished with a 10-4 record, good enough for a third place finish behind No. 16 San Diego and No. 24 San Francisco.
Saint Mary’s has defeated four ranked opponents this season, including No. 13 San Diego, No. 19 Pepperdine, No. 19 Cal Poly, and No.23 Santa Clara. Defeating multiple top-25 opponents, the Gaels earned some attention of their own, as they received votes in the Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll nine of the thirteen weeks, including their highest amount of the season, 32, on the most recent poll.
Five West Coast Conference teams were named to the 64-team field, as Saint Mary’s, San Diego, San Francisco, Pepperdine, and Santa Clara will all make post season appearances. Scattered throughout the west coast, San Diego faces Southern California, Pepperdine will take on Long Beach State, San Francisco sees Duke, and Santa Clara will play Kansas State.
Please contact at the Saint Mary's ticket office at 925-631-4392 to purchase tickets for the event.