Nov. 16, 2002
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Despite dropping the opening game for the second time this season, the Santa Clara University women's volleyball team picked up its seventh-straight win over Loyola Marymount by a score of 3-2 Saturday night in the Gersten Pavillion on the campus of LMU.
The Broncos (23-4, 11-2 WCC) secured at least a share of second place in the West Coast Conference with the win over the Lions (15-10, 6-6 WCC) who are currently in fourth place behind the University of San Diego by four games.
LMU led game one 18-17, but the Broncos scored five straight, capped by a Cindy Hirsh service ace to force a Lion timeout. The Lions rebounded to take a 25-24 lead on a Tiana Newsome kill. The two squads traded points until Kristen Gallup came up with a kill and the Broncos' Alyssa Lantz committed a hitting error giving the Lions the 31-29 win in game one.
Santa Clara responded in game two, jumping out to 5-1 lead. The Lions were able to get within one point, but the Broncos pushed their lead to as many as 10 at 27-17 before cruising to the 30-21 victory. The Broncos hit .351 in the second game after hitting just .189 in the opener.
The Lions took a 17-12 lead in the third game, but Santa Clara got within one at 20-19, following a Becky Potter kill. After a pair of LMU errors, the Broncos held a 21-19 advantage. The game stayed extremely close and a Michelle Look kill gave LMU game point at 29-28, but SCU answered to tie the game. With the game knotted at 32, Courtney Chai ended a 10-play rally with a short dump for the point. A combination block by LMU's Gallup and Tiffany Self of Potter gave the Lions a 2-1 game lead with its 34-32 win in game three.
The Lions could not equal the intensity they had in the third game to open the fourth, as the Broncos took a 19-13 lead. LMU was able claw back into the game at 21-19, following a Cassie Perret hitting error, but SCU scored nine of the next 17 points to win game four by a count of 30-27 to knot the match at two games apiece.
The Lions took an 8-7 lead in the fifth and deciding game, following a Look kill. SCU scored seven of the next eight points to take a 14-9 lead, before Newsome was finally able to come up with a kill. Chai followed with a service ace forcing a Bronco timeout. A Jody Carlson kill made it 14-12, but a Chai service error gave the Broncos the victory in game five by a 15-12 margin.
Potter had a career and match-high 34 kills to go along with 10 digs, while Lantz added 19 kills for Santa Clara. Senior Cindy Hirsh had a career and match-high 29 digs, while fellow co-captain Chrissy Hirsch added 13 digs of her own. Kelli Sousa played her normal reliable game, dishing out 70 assists while adding 19 digs. Megan Johnston added 12 kills and 11 digs for the Broncos.
Gallup posted a team-high 25 kills for the Lions in her final game in Gersten Pavilion, while coming up with 16 digs. Carlson added 20 kills, while Look had 16. Liz Samson had a team-high 18 digs. In just her second start of the season, Chai dished out 63 assists. In her last two matches, 115 assists. Chai and Kealani Kimball also had 16 digs.
Santa Clara returns home for a non-conference match against Bay Area rival California Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the Leavey Center. The Broncos will then conclude their 2002 conference season next Saturday night at San Francisco.