Saint Mary’s women’s volleyball looks to follow up last year’s phenomenal season with another great showing. The Gaels made it to the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005 and finished the season with a 19-7 record.

The 2009 team includes many returning players — three seniors, four juniors and two sophomores — along with at least three new recruits. Head coach Rob Browning has no doubt that incoming freshmen will be ready to go when the season begins.

“The girls are dedicated and come back early to work out over the summer. They do that on their own,” says Browing. “There are two weeks of training before our first match. It’s always a whirlwind for our freshmen but I think they will be well prepared.”

Browning intentionally schedules tough non-conference competition. With games against Cal, Stanford and Texas A&M, the team will face challenging competitors before they enter conference play. The West Coast Conference should again prove challenging, but Browning looks forward to the competition.

“We are really excited and think we have a great team,” he says. “Our recruiting classes keep getting stronger and stronger. We expect to have a very good year.”

Junior outside hitter Megan York is also gearing up for a good season.

“We have very high expectations,” York says. “One of our goals is to win the WCC and we think that if we play the way that we know we can then that is very likely to happen.”

With four returning Gaels who earned all-conference honors in 2008, the team promises to be successful and fun to watch

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