The Gonzaga women’s volleyball team won its first set in six matches, but ultimately fell to Saint Mary’s 3-1 Thursday night in the Martin Centre.

Coming into the match, both teams were looking to get their first win of the WCC season. The Zags (6-11, 0-5) were looking to snap a nine-game losing streak, with the last six of those losses in straight sets. The Gaels (5-10, 1-4) were on a six-game losing streak coming into the match.

At the start of the first set, The Zags got out to a 4-2 start with kills from Sarah Penner, Payton Mack, and Chapin Gray. The Zags would continue to dominate in the first set, and that lead would eventually grow to 17-13. After the Gaels cut the lead to 19-17, the Zags would eventually pull away again and win their first set in six matches by a score of 25-19.

Sophomore Kennedy Croft was the player of the night for the Zags, finishing the night with 10 kills. Croft emphasized the importance of getting this first set win in a while, and she said she and the rest of her teammates are looking to build off of that set win.

“Our energy is the best that it’s ever been,” Croft said. “We’ve been kind of in a slump, so it’s good to see how we actually play.”

That excitement would fade quickly as the Gaels got out to an early 10-4 lead in the second. Elena Baka was a big contributor to the success of the Gaels, as she finished the night with 12 kills, the most out of everyone on the court Thursday night. The lead would reach double digits for the Gaels, as they would extend it to 19-8 late. Despite a small surge from the Bulldogs, the Gaels would finish the set with a 25-13 win.

After the set one win from Gonzaga and the set two win from Saint Mary’s, set three would show a lot of back-and-forth action from both teams. The set started out with an 11-11 tie, and after the Gaels took a 2-point lead, their lead would eventually extend to 16-11. The Zags would eventually take the lead again 22-21 after an ace from Croft, but that would not be enough as the Zags would lose set three by two points.

After the set three win from the Gaels, the Bulldogs were able to get some momentum with an 8-7 lead in set four. Baka and the Gaels would take over and lead and score seven straight points as they erased that deficit and go up 17-9. After a Gonzaga timeout, the Gaels would keep rolling and win by a score of 25-15, winning the match.

Head Coach Diane Nelson said she believes the first set win will help build the team’s confidence going into future matches. Nelson also said she enjoyed the spirit of the team, as keeping the positive team energy throughout the entire team is more important than anything. 

“We’ve got some more offensive things to work on,” Nelson said. “We’ll be back working on those tomorrow.”

Nelson and the Zags, still searching for their first conference win, look to bounce back for Saturday, when they will head back to the Martin Centre 12 p.m. to face the University of Pacific.

Vinny Saglimbeni is a staff writer.

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