Nov. 9, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 11th-ranked Santa Clara University volleyball team was riding an emotional high into Saturday night's match with Gonzaga after watching a stirring pre-match ceremony honoring its three outgoing seniors Amy Grabill and twin co-captains Chrissy Hirsch and Cindy Hirsch. The highlight video put the Broncos in the right frame of mind as they cruised to a 3-0 sweep of the Bulldogs in front of 892 fans in the Leavey Center.
The Broncos (22-3, 10-1 WCC) jumped out to an early 15-7 lead but saw that dissipate as the Bulldogs rallied to score 10 of the next 14 points, narrowing the SCU lead to 18-17. From there, Santa Clara pulled away for a 30-23 as Becky Potter put away three kills during the final Bronco run in the first game.
Game two went back-and-forth the entire game, with neither team leading by more than four points. After Gonzaga jumped out to an early 5-2 lead, the Broncos scored seven of the next nine points and never relinquished the lead despite a Bulldog rally that narrowed the lead to 24-22. A big kill by Alyssa Lantz on game point gave the Broncos a hard fought 30-27 win in game two.
What turned out to be the final game was never really in doubt for Santa Clara as three early service aces by Potter gave the Broncos a 9-3 lead. From there SCU would let the Bulldogs only as close as six points at 10-4 en route to a convincing 30-14 win in game three.
As a team the Broncos hit a season-best .434 which came on 59 kills with only 16 errors in 99 attempts. Potter's 15 kills was a match-high while Cassie Perret trailed closely behind with her 14 on the night. Becky Biniek posted eight kills while Lantz and Megan Johnston each chipped in seven.
The seniors all played well in their final home conference match of their careers with Grabill getting the starting nod and posting one kill and one dig, while the Hirsch twins combined for 16 digs on the evening.
The Bulldogs were led on the evening by Abby Cullen who posted 14 digs on 25 attempts with only four hitting errors for a .400 hitting percentage. As a team the Zags were limited to a .200 hitting percentage while they were out-dug by a 40-21 margin and posted 26 fewer assists.
Santa Clara continues West Coast Conference play next weekend with two big matches in Southern California. Friday night's match will be against No. 10 Pepperdine in Malibu, and will start at 7 p.m. Saturday night's match against Loyola Marymount is also scheduled for a 7 p.m. start in Los Angeles.