On Oct. 16, the University of San Francisco Lady Dons volleyball team hosted the Saint Mary’s Gaels for their sixth West Coast Conference game, coming off of a loss to San Diego. The Dons entered the game with hopes to add a 2nd win to their WCC record.
Before the volleyball game, USF held their annual Dig Pink night, starting at 5 p.m. at War Memorial gym. This night is a huge deal to the volleyball team, as well as every volleyball team in the WCC as each team hosts their own Dig Pink night. This night is dedicated to raising awareness for breast cancer research. People made donations and pink t-shirts were given out as The Sideout Foundation continued their great work, uniting volleyball players and coaches to further awareness, education and services. The match began as the festivities concluded.
As the first set got underway, it was kept close for a few minutes, until the Gaels continued to extend their lead. USF was able to get a crucial point here and there, but they weren’t able to return many hits or kills. Saint Mary’s seemed the much more powerful team, forcing USF to use up both of their timeouts. USF eventually cut Saint Mary’s lead to 22-20 late in the game, but the Gaels kept their heads and won the set 25-21. Freshman Joan Caloiaro led the Dons with four kills and six assists in the set, putting forward a .500 attack percentage. Alaina Sully led the team with five digs.
The second set was a tight one as well. The score went back and forth, and no team was able to stay dominant or hold on to the momentum. This set saw 12 tied scores alone as well as three lead changes. The last lead change came when Saint Mary’s took it at 19-18. USF tried to regain it, but the Gaels held on and won the set 25-21, going into halftime with a 2-0 lead. Alycia Cox, Malina Terrell, Hadley Simmons and Joan Caloiaro each had three kills in this set. Caloairo also had 12 assists.
Going into the third set with a commanding 2-0 lead, the Gaels had all of the momentum and were very confident in themselves, determined to end the match with this set. This proved to be true when they again started the set as the dominant team. USF wouldn’t give up as they kept it close for as long as possible. After Saint Mary’s gained a three point lead, they were able to hold it over three for the rest of the match. They ended up winning the set at 25-17 and the match at 3-0. Joan Caloairo finished the match with a double-double (11 kills, 24 assists) and a .556 attack percentage. Hadley Simmons also hit very well with a .467 attack percentage and a served ace. Alycia Cox and Whitney Swain finished with 10 digs a piece, and Alaina Sully had nine.
Joan Caloairo was asked after the game what her impression was on her first night being involved in the Dig Pink event, and she said it was great because “the big crowd was loud. It was very exciting and it added more emotion and motivation to win every point that we could.” When speaking about the game that just finished, Coach Doron said that “Saint Mary’s was just more experienced. They were fast to the inside and their energy was good. We made too many mistakes and we have to stay strong and tough.”
The Dons face the UC Davis Lady Aggies at War Memorial Gym on Tuesday. Joan Caloiaro said that the team only has one practice until then where they’ll have to work hard and study up for their opponent. Coach Doron feels that the team will have to “work on serving and passing. We had too many errors and unforced serving aces. We need to block better and play better defense. UC Davis will be competitive and we have to play as hard as we did today.”
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