Aug. 29, 2003
STOCKTON, Calif. - The 14th ranked Santa Clara University women's volleyball team opened up its 2003 season with a tough 3-1 loss at Pacific Friday evening in front of 1,735 fans. Despite leading the Tigers in nearly every statistical category, the Broncos appeared out of sorts and could not overcome the small mistakes made during the match.
In game one the Broncos found themselves on the short end, losing by a score of 30-28. Despite posting a .308 hitting percentage, which dwarfed the Tigers' .116 percentage, eight Santa Clara service errors proved costly in a game that saw neither team open up more than a three point lead.
Game two again went in the favor of Pacific as the Tigers won 30-25. Santa Clara dug itself a hole early on, falling behind by a 15-10 score before rallying to tie the score at 17 apiece after a Lexie Bothman pancake dig led to the point. Two service aces by Becky Potter and a kill later, the Broncos had jumped out to a 21-18 lead. The lead was short lived as four more service errors and four receiving errors were the difference in the game, leading to a 12-5 run for Pacific to end the second game.
On the brink of defeat in game three the Broncos rallied behind six Potter kills and five more from Jac Heler to take the third game by a score of 30-26. Unlike the first two games, SCU committed no service errors en route to the win that extended the match. Kelli Sousa's precise setting led to 17 assists in the game as she spread the wealth around to all areas of the court, keeping the Pacific defense guessing.
Game four resulted in another Pacific victory, this time by a 30-26 score. The Broncos fell behind early again; trailing 10-5 before head coach Jon Wallace called a timeout. The ploy seemed to work as the Broncos quickly rallied to tie the scored at 11 all. The two teams traded points all the way up to 19 apiece before a 3-0 rally gave the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish. Fittingly for Pacific, Jennifer Joines tallied the last kills topping off a night in which she posted team-highs in kills (28), digs (15), total blocks (5) and aces (4).
Potter's 19 kills led the way for the Broncos who had five players in double figure kills. Her 18 digs were also a team-high just ahead of Heler who posted 17 digs along with 12 kills.
Toni Muratore made a successful return to the court after sitting out the 2002 season due to injury. Her 12 kills and .429 hitting percentage were encouraging numbers for the former first team All-West Coast Conference performer.
2002 NCAA assists leader Kelli Sousa posted 56 assists in the season opener, utilizing all the offensive weapons that the Broncos can put on the floor. Sophomores Cassie Perret and Alyssa Lantz each posted double-doubles on the night with 11 kills and 10 digs for Perret and 10 kills and 12 digs for Lantz.
The loss was only the second on opening day for the Broncos since Wallace took over the helm in 1999 while the Tigers won their 18th consecutive season opener.
Santa Clara returns to the floor Saturday evening with a 7 p.m. match at San Jose State. The match marks the return of the Rivalry Series between the two schools that was started prior to the 2002-2003 athletic seasons.