Oct. 29, 2004
PORTLAND, Ore. - The19th-ranked Santa Clara University volleyball team used a strong defensive game to top Portland in straight games tonight at the Chiles Center. Santa Clara improves to 15-4 overall with the 30-17, 30-20, 30-28 victory, and is now 6-2 in West Coast Conference play. The Pilots fall to 10-11, 1-7 with their 20th straight loss to the Broncos.
Three Santa Clara players recorded double-figure kills, led by sophomore Kim McGiven and junior Toni Muratore's 11 spikes each. McGiven played error-free ball in 23 attempts for a .478 hitting percentage. Freshman Libero Caroline Walters led all players with 14 digs in the match. As a team, Santa Clara hit for .345 and tallied nine total team blocks.
"I give all the credit to Santa Clara," Portland head coach Doug Sparks said. "They are a really, really good volleyball team. They were even missing one of their biggest components tonight (in freshman middle blocker Annalisa Muratore)."
The Broncos came out strong right from the first serve, as sophomore Nora Miller recorded the first kill. Miller went on to lead the Broncos with five kills and three blocks in the first game. The Broncos out hit the Pilots .542 to .077 as Santa Clara recorded a 30-17 game one win.
In the second set, the Broncos scored first, but the Pilots fought back. A kill by freshman Nicole Thometz brought Portland within one point of SCU, 4-5. Despite the Pilots' refusal to give up, the frame went to Santa Clara, 30-20.
Portland took control in the third game, jumping out to an 8-4 lead with a potent offensive attack. The Broncos chipped away and tied it up at 10 on a kill by Toni Muratore. Portland worked hard maintaining the lead until 18, when a kill by SCU's Cassie Perret put the Broncos on top. The Pilots continued to fight tying the set two more times before a kill by Muratore secured the win for Santa Clara, 30-28.
Sara Vercruyssen and Michelle Oakland led the Pilots with 10 kills a piece. Thometz and Kelly Whitehouse added six and seven kills, respectively. Sheena Surplus contributed with 29 assists and 11 digs, her fifth double-double of the season. Teammate Murphy McClenhahan led the Pilots with 13 digs. Portland hit for .120 in the match and added three total team blocks.
Santa Clara remains in the Northwest and will play at Gonzaga on Saturday night. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.