Lauren Allison, Staff Writer
The Saints hosted the Division-II West Region Volleyball Tournament in the beginning of September where they split four games. They dominated against Humboldt State University with a 3-0 victory. Rachel Gondrezick led the team with 12 kills. Nicolette Nesbitt led with 35 assists and Clarice Buchanan with 12 digs. They then lost 3-0 in their second match against Point Loma University and again to Notre Dame de Namur University 3-1 in their third game. SMU bounced back to win the final game 3-2 against California State University Dominguez where Rebecca Mitchell had 17 kills. Nesbitt finished the match with 50 assists and 15 digs which contributed to earning her spot on the All-Tournament team.
Freshman Kamille Langford commented that “our team’s greatest strength is our attitudes. All the girls walk into the gym ready to learn and get better every day. We also bring high energy to the court which improves our play tremendously.” Following the tournament, the Saints split their first two GNAC conference games against Western Oregon University and Concordia University. The Saints fell to the Wolves in straight sets but had amazing performances from Rebecca Mitchell with a career high of 25 kills in the next game against Concordia with an SMU victory of 3-1. This win against Concordia was the first time in Saint Martins NCAA Division II history.
The Saints have had a competitive conference, which Langford mentions. “We have faced many great teams this year so far, but the toughest team was the University of Alaska Anchorage. They are currently ranked number 20 in the nation and have a solid team.”
The Saints fell 3-1 to University of Alaska Anchorage and 3-1 to the University of Alaska Fairbanks but didn’t go down without a fight in either match. Mitchell tallied 15 kills against Anchorage and 17 versus Fairbanks. She raised her number of kills for the season to 166 which ranks her fourth in the GNAC (Great Northwest Athletic Conference) for kills per set. Nesbitt ranks fourth in the GNAC for assists per set with a total of 421.
The Saints returned home to battle Seattle Pacific University where they fell 3-2. Mitchell once again lead the team with 13 kills while Jordan Keane finished the game with 27 assists and Hannah Neumann tallying 22 digs. SMU faced another tough loss in their game against Montana State University-Billings (3-0). Nicole Nesbitt led the team with 24 assists while Hannah Neumann recorded 10 digs for the game.
The Saints went head to head in a full five set match against Central Washington University for the first time since 2001. SMU walked away with heads held high as they beat the Wildcats after a tough game. The game was a back and forth battle between the teams during each set. Mistakes were made by each opponent and both teams took full advantage of the others. Once again Mitchell lead the offense with 19 kills, while Gondrezick followed close behind with 16. Nesbitt finished with 34 assists with Keane trailing behind with 26. Neumann lead the team with 25 digs. SMU now sits with a record of 7-8, 2-5 GNAC and faced the undefeated number 12 Northwest Nazarene University on Oct. 7 at home.