Sept. 1, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 22nd-ranked Santa Clara University volleyball team opened the 2004 season at home for the first time in five years, and made the most of the home-crowd advantage, besting Sacramento State in five games tonight at the Leavey Center. Junior Toni Muratore (21) and her sister Annalisa (14) combined for 35 kills, as the Broncos earned a 30-27, 27-30, 30-28, 27-30, 15-9 victory. Tonight's match was also the season opener for the Hornets, who dropped its first match of the year for the third straight season and sixth time in the last eight years. Additionally, Santa Clara has now won six consecutive matches over the Hornets. Annalisa Muratore finished with a double-double, adding 11 blocks in her collegiate debut. Junior Cassie Perret also reached double figures in both kills (12) and digs (19), as did fellow junior Jac Heler (10 kills, 22 digs). Freshman Caroline Walters posted 26 digs in her first start at Libero. Additionally, the Broncos played with two setters, with junior Kristen Luxton notching 38 assists and freshman Crystal Matich adding 26. Both finished with 10 digs. Sacramento State was led by Sandra Bandimere's 19-kill, 20-dig performance, while Atlee Hubbard also performed well, recording 17 kills and 17 digs. Libero Kristin Lutes also added 17 digs for the Hornets. Santa Clara jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first frame as Sacramento State failed to record a kill until Bandimere's attack cut the Broncos' lead to 9-4. The Hornets then used an 11-5 run to take their first and only lead of the game at 15-14 on a kill from Hubbard. Both teams exchanged points during the rest of the game as Emily Wilson drew the Hornets within, 27-26, with a kill. From that point, a Hornet attack error and kills from both Muratores led the Broncos to a game-one victory. Santa Clara jumped out to another quick lead (4-0) in game two before, once again, the Hornets clawed their way back. Sacramento State went on a 7-1 run to take its largest lead of the game at 18-15. Santa Clara answered with a 5-2 run to tie the score at 20. Later in the frame with the score tied again, at 26 all, Hubbard recorded back-to-back kills, while a block to gave the Hornets game point, which the Broncos could not overcome. After the break, Sacramento State squandered an 18-12 lead as Santa Clara finished the game on an 18-11 run. The Broncos took just their third lead of the game at 27-26 after a kill from sophomore Megan Pura. SCU never trailed the rest of the way as both teams exchanged points until a kill from Toni Muratore and a Sacramento State set error ended the game at 30-28. Toni Muratore led all players in the game with five kills as Santa Clara won the game despite hitting just .102. In game four, the Hornets went on a 3-0 run to take an 11-9 lead as the team never trailed the rest of the way. Sacramento State never led by anything more than four points during the entire frame, as a Bandimere kill ended the game at 30-27. In the fifth and deciding game, Santa Clara controlled throughout, scoring 10 of the first 14 points. The Hornets got within, 11-8, after back-to-back aces from Shannon Arts, but could get no closer the rest of the way. Sacramento State was held to only four kills in game five, while committing seven hitting and two service errors. Santa Clara remains at home and will host three matches this holiday weekend at the Leavey Center. Arkansas and Pacific will face each other Friday at 7 p.m. The Lady Razorbacks will turn around and play the Broncos Saturday evening at 5 p.m., while the Tigers will have a day's rest and return the court to face Santa Clara on Sunday at 2 p.m.