The Gaels (5-2) play the Portland Pilots (2-0) at 10 a.m. PST on Saturday, March 18, and then face off against the #3 Bruins later in the day at 1:00 p.m.
After receiving votes in national poles for the first two weeks of the season, Saint Mary’s was ranked #20 in the DiG Magazine Poll on March 13. The Gaels were ranked #17 on this same poll at the end of last season and will look to move up again. After beating #14 Stanford, the team will look to improve their record against ranked teams which currently sits at 1-2.
The Pilots (2-0) recently began their season with two wins at home against the University of Oregon, both 3-2. Portland opened their first season of beach volleyball last year but were unable to capitalize in their inaugural season and went 0-9. Portland’s No. 1 pair of Cali Thompson and Tani Stephens played well against Oregon’s top pair and came away from the weekend with a split record, 1-1.
The Bruins (6-2) have played strongly through two weeks of action, only dropping two matches against the number one and two ranked teams, USC and Pepperdine respectively. UCLA has come away with big wins against a host of other nationally ranked teams including Cal Poly, LSU, Georgia State and Florida State. UCLA’s No. 1 pair of Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara will look to break Lindsey Knudsen and Payton Rund’s unbroken streak as the Bruin duo has only lost one match in eight showings.
FOUR IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
In their first seven matches, the Gaels have downed four opponents including #14 Stanford by a victory margin of 4-1 and are currently riding a three-game streak of said margin. They will look to prove their recent national ranking and possibly further the streak in Monterey. UCLA, however, has shown to play strong against ranked opponents (4-2) and will be tall task for Saint Mary’s to handle.
After playing in Monterey, the Gaels will head to Stockton on March 21 to play one match against the Pacific Tigers.
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