Senior Day Ends on a High Note for Bulldogs
Nov. 19, 2016

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SPOKANE, Wash.--Gonzaga volleyball's Senior Day had a wide range of emotions, but the Zags sent their six seniors off happy with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22) victory at the Martin Centre Saturday.

The Bulldogs allowed Saint Mary's to jump out to an early four-point lead in the first, but six consecutive Zag tallies changed that into an 8-6 Gonzaga advantage. Saint Mary's immediately earned a sideout to pull within one and then tied the frame at 9-all, but the Zags never again trailed in the set. They nudged their advantage up to three at 21-18, and then Imani Wimbush and Katelyn Oppio combined for a block and each added a kill to give the Bulldogs set point. After a Gael sideout, Emmy Allen finished off the set with a kill.

In the second, Saint Mary's took a 7-13 advantage through the middle of the frame, but the Bulldogs rattled off six straight to tie it at 13-all. The teams then traded points, but three straight Gael tallies put the score at 20-21 in favor of the visitors. Gonzaga roared back, getting a sideout from McKayla Ferris and adding tallies from Wimbush and Allen and another block. Saint Mary's' Lindsey Knudsen earned a sideout, but that proved a brief respite as Allen came right back to close the set with another kill.

Saint Mary's took a seven-point lead during the middle of the third set and withstood a Gonzaga rally, sending the match into a fourth at 22-25. During the third, however, senior libero Morgan Douglass tallied her 1,000th career dig. The Spokane native posted 20 digs on the night to lead all players.

Coming out of the changeover between sets three and four, the Zags scored five in a row to take an early lead. They maintained that two-point margin until a 5-1 Saint Mary's run evened the frame at 15-15. Paige Folger gave Gonzaga a lead with a kill, but the Gaels re-tied the set at 17-all. Another two points gave the Bulldogs another advantage, and after a brief sideout, the Zags ripped off four in a row to go up 23-18. Allen once again posted the clinching point, powering down a pass from Faith Smith to clinch the set 25-22 and the match three sets to one.

Bulldog Bites:

  • Prior to the match, Gonzaga honored its six seniors -- Allen, Wimbush, Folger, Douglass, Ferris, and Sarah Bradley -- for their service towards the volleyball program. The latter five spent four or more years on the squad, and they all have been a large part of the Zags' success in both the last four years and this season. In 2016, the seniors have combined for 1097 kills, 697 digs, and 179.5 blocks.
  • With the win, the Zags move to 9-8 in West Coast Conference play, clinching a .500 conference record for the first time since 1994. They're currently fifth in the WCC standings, one game behind Loyola Marymount and Portland, who are tied for third.
  • Douglass became the 13th Bulldog to tally 1,000 digs in a career. The last Zag to join that club was Kristina Lavrisha in 2013, but Douglass is the only Zag since 2004 to reach the milestone in under 400 sets. She's played in 334 since debuting in 2013.

Zag Speak:

Head coach Diane Nelson

  • "That's a good team, and they have a system that's different than most. You have to be prepared with every point, there's nothing that happens twice... We had to be better than them in serve-receive and our block out-matched theirs.... Our serving kept us in it, and the seniors were aggressive. Each of them had a plan in mind.'
  • "From the beginning, [our seniors] were on a mission, and they set out to lead this team all the way through. Their maturity, their resilience, their strength, and their courage has been a true foundation for this program."

Senior outside hitter McKayla Ferris

  • "It's an emotional roller coaster because you're so happy all these people you love and cherish are here in one place and you get to play the game you love in front of them. At the same time, it's bittersweet because it's the last time we're able to do this. I'm a bit of both, happy and sad."

Next Up:

The Bulldogs (16-11, 9-8 WCC) will wrap up the 2016 slate on Monday, November 21, with a match at Portland. That Pacific Northwest showdown will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Chiles Center in Portland, Oregon.


 

 

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