Dec. 5, 2003
The 13th-ranked Santa Clara University women's volleyball team had its 2003 season come to an end with a 3-2 loss to Utah in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night in HEC Edmondson Pavilion on the campus of the University of Washington.
After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead the Broncos watched as the Utes battled back for victories in games three and four to force a fifth and deciding game. Both teams exchanged points for most of the fifth game before Utah finally took the lead 8-7 in the final game. From there they rattled off seven of the next 12 points to win the match and advance to the second round of the tournament.
With the loss, Santa Clara's season ends at 20-11 overall while Utah improved to 22-8 win the victory.
"It was a story of two different matches tonight," said SCU head coach Jon Wallace. "I think we came out and passed well in the first game and won fairly easily. In game two (Utah) settled down quite a bit but our girls made a push late in the game and won game two. From there I felt they just got into a grove and became real smooth. Their top two hitters had great hitting percentages and it made the difference."
As a team the Utes his .347 from the floor while limiting the Broncos to a .247 mark that included a .022 hitting percentage in game four.
Kim Turner led the way for Utah with her match-high 24 kills and .500 hitting percentage to go along with fellow middle blocker Lyndsey Henderson added 17 kills and a .347 hitting percentage.
"Obviously this is a big win for us," Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. "I felt confident against a quality Santa Clara team, mostly because we've played awfully good teams in the Mountain West Conference all season."
"We were a different team after the first two games," Launiere continued. "In the locker room between games two and three, I challenged the team to make a choice and they made the decision to go for it."
Becky Potter and Toni Muratore led the way for Santa Clara on the evening with 17 kills apiece. With her fifth kill in the match, Potter became the first Santa Clara player and fifth ever in WCC history to reach the 1,800 kill plateau.
Kim McGiven had an outstanding night in her first NCAA postseason match, posting 16 kills and a .406 hitting percentage. Cassie Perret added 12 kills on the night while Kelli Sousa directed the Bronco attack with her match-high 59 assists.
The loss drops the Broncos' all-time record in the NCAA Tournament to 2-8 as Santa Clara has exited the postseason in the first round in each of the last three seasons.