Oct. 20, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 24th-ranked Santa Clara University volleyball team defeated San Francisco tonight in West Coast Conference action at the Leavey Center. Game scores were 30-23, 30-23, 30-24. The Broncos improve to 13-6 on the season, 5-2 in the league, while the Dons' mark evens at 8-8, but falls to 3-4 in the conference.
Three Broncos registered double-digit performances in kills, led by middle blockers Toni Muratore and Becky Potter, as each finished the night with 13. Junior Cindy Hirsch added 12. Defensively, the Broncos were led by senior Merrin Thompson, who recorded 16 digs to lead both squads.
USF was led by Brittanie Budinger's 11 kills. Teresa Russell posted 10 kills and 10 digs before she went down with a knee injury midway through the second game.
The match started evenly, with neither team taking more than a two-point edge until a USF hitting error put the Broncos ahead 23-20. Four more Don errors and three kills by Muratore increased the Broncos' lead until a service ace by junior Chrissy Hirsch closed the frame.
Santa Clara opened game two with another trio of kills, this time by Potter, to open a 10-5 lead in the second. The Broncos' kept their lead with five more kills in the game by Muratore. Two USF hitting errors gave SCU a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.
The Broncos kept their momentum and opened up game three with three service aces by Chrissy Hirsch, tying her career-high with four on the night. USF battled back to tie the match at 12 on a kill from Amanda Willnerd, and even took a brief lead at 15-14 with a service ace by Caroline Skacel. But the Broncos tied it at 15 off a kill from freshman Megan Johnson and then reclaimed the lead at 18-17 with a Thompson kill down the middle. Stretching its lead to seven points, SCU was aced twice more by Skacel to shrink the USF disadvantage to 27-23. After a Bronco timeout, freshman Jennifer Ryan scored two kills to set up match point while sophomore Becky Biniek ended the night with her third kill of the frame.
The Broncos will play in Berkeley on Tuesday, a 7 p.m. match against the Pac-10's California. Santa Clara will return to conference play for the weekend, hosting Saint Mary's on Friday and San Diego on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. at the Leavey Center.