By Tyler Bindi | Sports Editor

Lindsey Calvin totaled nine kills in the Gaels’ three-set sweep of Cal State Northridge on Saturday night in McKeon Pavilion. (Courtesy of smcgaels.com)

The Saint Mary’s volleyball team came out firing Friday in their 2017 home opener to the tune of a 3-0 victory over Fresno State in McKeon Pavilion.  The Gaels used a spread out offensive attack to defeat the Bulldogs for the fifth straight time. Ten different Gaels got in on the action with at least one kill, along with five players tallying five or more.

Head Coach Rob Browning challenged his team to perform better offense after some early season struggles were identified, and they were clearly up for the challenge. “Our team is getting better,” said Browning. “They worked really hard. The first couple of weekends we played were OK, but we identified some areas where we need to be better, particularly on offense.”

Saint Mary’s had been on the road for the first two weekends of the year, and their excitement to be back playing in front of their home crowd was evident.

“You could just tell the girls were so excited to be home to play in front of their friends and family,” said Browning. “They were fired up, we all were, to be at home against a good opponent like Fresno State who we match up well with.”

The Gaels carried that momentum forward into Saturday’s contest against CSUN, where they managed to pull off another impressive 3-0 sweep.  Saint Mary’s showed off their ability to come from behind, as they trailed early in all three sets before storming back to win each of them.

Morgan Hughes and Lindsey Calvin led the way offensively with 11 and nine kills, respectively.  Calvin spoke about the strengths of this year’s team when she said, “I think with confidence and the skill from the people behind me it really gives me the freedom to swing. What I think is really cool about our team this year is that if you are going to beat us, you have to beat all of us. We are so balanced, and it’s a real strength that I am happy to be a part of.”  The Gaels’ defense stepped up as well, racking up an impressive eight blocks against the Matadors.

Saint Mary’s will hit the road to face off with their East Bay rival, California, at 7 p.m., on Friday.  The Gaels will then immediately come back home in order to play host to defending national champion Stanford at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

With their two victories, the Gaels now sit at 4-4 on the young season.

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