Volleyball Defeated 3-0 at Saint Mary's
MORAGA, Calif. - Freshman Jordan Gasser had nine kills but the Gonzaga University women's volleyball team lost 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-21) to Saint Mary's College at the McKeon Pavilion Saturday.
"We have to look at this match in the eyes of having five freshman start and play the entire match," fourth-year head coach Dave Gantt said. "We got to witness how a young team responds in different situations. We played well in the first in third set but our play dropped in the second. We are making successful programs make adjustments to beat us and that is encouraging."
The loss was the fourth consecutive for the Bulldogs and they are now 9-11 overall and 1-6 in West Coast Conference play. Saint Mary's improved to 10-8 and 5-2 in the WCC.
"We played well but we tend to shy away those final points in a set," Gantt said. "We kept the same lineup during the entire match and the younger players got to work through a number of experiences. Match-by- match they are gaining more valuable experience."
Gasser recorded three kills early in the first set giving the Bulldogs a 10-9 lead. Shortly after the score would be tied 11-11 until GU had a 3-0 run due to Jordan Shaw of Saint Mary's having three consecutive attack errors.
The set would eventually be tied 20-20 but an errant set, a block error and an attack error did the Zags in.
"Our willingness to play at a competitive level during sets is improving," Gantt said. "Now at key times we need to close out close sets."
The Bulldog troubles continued in the second set. The Gaels jumped to a quick 10-7 lead and would not relinquish it. SMC would extend its lead to 20-13 and a 5-2 run put the Gaels up 2-0. Saint Mary's hit at a .545 line compared to the Zags .250 explaining the 19-11 SMC kill advantage over GU.
"Obviously we are disappointed," Gantt said. "But to be clear we are not discouraged. We are very encouraged to face every new challenge."
Much like the first set, Gonzaga battled from start to finish in the third set. The score was tied a total of 12 times but Saint Mary's was able to break away with the score 18-18. Lauren Corp recorded four of the last six points for the Gaels giving them the match.
The Bulldogs finished the match with 31 kills and five blocks. Redshirt freshman Savannah Blinn contributed 10 kills and a service ace. Junior Meredith Crenshaw added seven kills and hit at a .353 line.
"I see more confidence in our young players," Gantt said. "We just have to remember last year at this time some of them were playing at a high school level. The level of play is dramatically better and we are adjusting, learning and playing tough throughout these matches."
Gonzaga will be back in Spokane next week when they host Loyola Marymount University on Thursday and Pepperdine University Saturday.