MORAGA, Calif. — Still in the beginning of the season, the Saint Mary’s beach volleyball team returns to Palo Alto on Saturday for a second attempt at taking down #14 Stanford and hosts its first home game of the season on Monday.
Saint Mary’s (2-2) will return to Palo Alto to face off against #14 Stanford (4-0) at the Stanford Sand Volleyball Stadium on Saturday, March 11 at 11 a.m. PST and play Utah (0-0) later in the day at 1 p.m. SMC will then match up against West Coast Conference rival Pacific (1-4) at the Moraga Commons at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 13.
The Gaels started their season by splitting four games at the Stanford Tournament in Palo Alto on Saturday and Sunday. Preseason All-WCC team members Lindsey Knudsen and Payton Rund went undefeated on the weekend while Emily Bible and Sarah Chase finished 2-0 in the No. 3 pair and 1-1 at the No. 2 spot. Mary Hernandez and Lindsey Calvin, however, struggled to find any rhythm, going 0-4 at the tournament. Hernandez finished last season 22-1, earning her first loss of the season in the WCC Championship match against Pepperdine.
The Cardinal (4-0) have won the first four games of the season and have played strongly on their home courts. Stanford dominated Santa Clara 5-0 and beat Cal Poly and Saint Mary’s both by 4-1. No. 2 pair Ivana Vanjak and Payton Chang have proved to be strong, winning all four of their matches at the tournament. Stanford’s No. 1 pair of Kathryn Plummer and Jenna Gray have struggled so far, dropping three out of four of their first matches.
The Utes (0-0) are set to open their season on Friday, March 10 in Palo Alto against Stanford. This is the first season that Utah is sponsoring beach volleyball, as it becomes the ninth Pac-12 school to sponsor both beach and indoor volleyball. The Utes had a successful indoor season, finishing 20-12 and going 10-3 on the road.
The Tigers (1-4) have struggled out of the gate, dropping their first match at home and going 1-3 at the Stanford Tournament on Saturday and Sunday. Pacific’s No. 1 pair of Lexi Elman and Andie Shelton has played well so far, only dropping two out of their first five matches.
Saint Mary’s has received attention from another national media source. The DiG 2017 Collegiate Beach Volleyball Poll has Saint Mary’s at the top of the list of schools to receive votes. SMC finished last season ranked #17 on the DiG Poll and will look to move up the ranks. The American Volleyball Coaches Association also listed Saint Mary’s as receiving votes in its most recent Collegiate Beach Coaches Poll.
After their playing their first home match, Saint Mary’s will travel south to Monterey, Calif. on March 18 for a double-header against Portland and #4 UCLA.
For up-to-date news, photos, videos and other features you can follow Saint Mary’s College varsity athletic teams on Twitter (@SMCGaels), Instagram (@SMCGaels) and Facebook (Facebook.com/SMCGaels). You can also watch great video on-demand highlights and features as well as most Gaels sporting events live via GaelVision on SMCGaels.com.
SUPPORT THE GAELS
A gift to the Gael Athletic Fund directly benefits Saint Mary's student-athletes. This allows them the opportunity to attain an education guided by our Catholic, Lasallian and Liberal Arts traditions while participating in a competitive athletic experience. Monies raised through the Fund will assist in funding scholarships, facilities, operating budgets and academic support.