Saint Mary's 3, Sacramento State 1



BERKELY, Calif. - For the first time in school history, the 10th seeded Saint Mary's volleyball team won an NCAA Tournament, adding to their season long list of firsts. The Gaels beat Sacramento State 3-1 on Thursday night at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, CA in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. The Gaels will now face either California or Pacific in the second round of the tournament at 7 p.m. on Friday at Haas Pavilion.

"We are a team of first," head coach Jon Stevenson said. "I feel like this is a team that has another gear that it has gone into, and it's surprised me."

Saint Mary's fell behind, losing Game 1 30-26, but rallied for a crucial victory in Game 2, 30-27. After the break, the Gaels started clicking and won Game 3 30-22 and Game 4 30-17. With the win, the Gaels improve to 24-2, a school record for victories.

The Gaels had four players with in double-digits in kills and had three players record double-doubles. Saint Mary's sophomore outside hitter Cassandra Kolkka led the way with 20 kills and 16 digs.

Saint Mary's sophomore setter Mandy Bible led the offense with 56 assists, 19 digs, four blocks and one ace. Freshman Missie Stidham recorded 12 kills and a team-high 24 digs and Lindsey Bogason just missed a double-double with 12 kills and nine digs in three games played.

"I was really excited to play," Bogason said. "It helped me get a little fired up (sitting out the first game), I played better than in our other matches."

Junior Kaui Salzman had 22 digs in three games at libero and Mariko Coverdale had 10 kills and eight total blocks.

"I think we knew it was our last chance once we got down 1-0," Salzman said. "In the past, every time we've played Sacramento State, it's been a tough match."

In Game 2, Saint Mary's took a 15-11 lead before the media timeout. The Gaels continued to lead 19-12, before Sacramento State to its first timeout. Saint Mary's went on to win the fourth and final game 30-17. In the game, Stidham and Kolkka had five kills, and Coverdale and Bogason each added four kills.

In Game 3, the Gaels took a 13-11 lead, before Sacramento State called its first timeout. Saint Mary's carried a 23-19 lead, before the Hornets called their final timeout of the game. The Gaels led 28-20, before Sacramento State scored two quick points, forcing the Gaels to take their first timeout. Saint Mary's went on to win the third game 30-22. The Gaels were led by Kolkka, who had seven kills, Bogason had four kills and Stidham had three kills in the game.

In Game 2, the Hornets took a 15-14 lead before the first media timeout was called. Sacramento State continued to lead 19-16, before the Gaels called their first timeout. Saint Mary's won four straight points to take a 20-19 lead, forcing the Hornets to take their first timeout. Saint Mary's rallied for a 27-25 lead, before Sacramento State took its final timeout. The Gaels went on to win the second game 30-27. Saint Mary's was led by Bogason and Kolkka, who each had four kills.

In Game 1, the Gaels jumped out to a 10-7 lead, before Sacramento State called its first timeout. Both teams played back-and-forth, before the Hornets cut the Gaels' lead to 18-17, before Saint Mary's called its first timeout. The Hornets came back to take a 25-21 lead, forcing the Gaels to take their final timeout. Sacramento State went on to win the first game, 30-26. The Gaels were led by Kolkka, who had four kills, and Salzman had three kills.

--Courtesy St. Mary's