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VB | Gaels Beat Gonzaga In Five

Morgan Hughes had a career-high 23 kills while hitting .611 Saturday versus Gonzaga. She also added six blocks.
Nov. 18, 2017

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MORAGA, Calif. -- A day full of festivities was also full of excitement Saturday, as the Gaels beat West Coast Conference rival Gonzaga in a thrilling five-set affair on Senior Day at McKeon Pavilion, downing the Bulldogs 3-2 (20-25, 25-12, 25-22, 16-25, 15-11) after the Gaels honored Mary Hernandez and Madi Wilkerson in a pregame ceremony at McKeon Pavilion.


  • The Gaels (8-19, 4-13 WCC) took a 2-1 match lead, just like they did on Sept. 21 in Spokane, after winning sets two and three to come from behind. But also just like on Sept. 21, the Bulldogs (13-16, 8-9 WCC) won set four to push it to a fifth and deciding frame.

  • This time around it was the Gaels who jumped ahead in the fifth set, scoring the first five points on three kills from Lindsey Knudsen and two service aces from Alexsa "Crash" Parker. They pushed their lead to 7-1, but Gonzaga didn't go down without a fight, scoring five straight points to make it 7-6. Morgan Hughes would put her personal finish on the set and the match, tallying three kills in the final four points to clinch it for SMC. Hughes had six of her 23 kills in the final set.

  • Saint Mary's hit .391 and dominated set two, 25-12, to even the match. Meanwhile, the Gaels' defense forced Gonzaga into 11 attack errors for a .000 hitting percentage. SMC jumped out to a 5-1 lead, then went on a 9-1 run midway through the set to take a commanding 23-10 advantage.

  • The third set played the closest with 12 ties and four lead changes. Neither team ever led by more than three points, and even that only happened twice. Tied 21-21, Saint Mary's scored four of the last five points with kills from three different players to take a win 25-22 and take a 2-1 match lead.
  • Hughes edged Gonzaga's Sarah Penner for the match high in kills, as Penner finished with 22 kills. Hughes hit a match-best .611 with just one error among her 23 terminations. She added six blocks.

  • The seniors Hernandez and Wilkerson played key roles in the victory. Hernandez had 15 assists and six digs, while Wilkerson collected a match-high 24 digs.

  • Lindsey Knudsen had eight kills and 16 digs. Lindsey Calvin also tallied eight kills and three blocks.

  • Alex O'Sullivan had a match-high 7 blocks to go with four kills and a dig.

  • Gonzaga's Faith Smith recorded a double-double of 23 assists and 14 digs.

  • Saint Mary's outhit Gonzaga .229 to .201, including hitting .409 in the deciding fifth set.
Rob Browning BITES 
  • "There were times when our energy was great. Our focus and intensity was really strong, and I think even when we learn something about ourselves, especially about our intensity level, they need to know how they can raise it. They still need to be consistent with it, especially when we were up and down in the fourth set."

  • "I can't say enough about Mary and Madi. They have been remarkable as leaders and they are such great people. Their skill level on the volleyball court is outstanding. They have been such a big part of our team in many ways, so exemplary. Everything we want to represent about our team and be known for, they embody it."
SENIOR Madi Wilkerson
  • "Senior day was really fun because all of my family had the chance to fly out here from Texas. They haven't all been able to come out here at once, so it was nice to have them all here."

  • "When we play in a game of five sets, there has to be someone that can be there consistently to yell and pick everyone up. I tried to do that the best as I can today."

  • "Regardless of the score or what set it is, you have to keep fighting for every single point, and I think winning today will help us for Tuesday."
  • Saint Mary's will play its last home match against West Coast Conference rival Santa Clara at 7 p.m. Tuesday at McKeon Pavilion. Tickets can be purchased on or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.



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