No. 17 Santa Clara Drops Five-Game Thriller to Utah

No. 17 Santa Clara Drops Five-Game Thriller to Utah

Sept. 17, 2005


Salt Lake City, Utah - For the first time in 2005, the Santa Clara women's volleyball team lost a match, snapping its seven-match win streak.  The Broncos (7-1) were defeated tonight in the championship final of the Hampton Inn Utah Classic by the host school, the University of Utah.  Game scores were 22-30, 30-20, 30-27, 28-30, and 15-13.  Sophomore middle blocker Anna Cmaylo set career highs in both kills (20) and attempts (35) to lead the Broncos, all while hitting at a .486 clip.  Junior outside hitter Kim McGiven added 17 kills, while senior opposite Cassie Perret and freshman outside hitter Brittany Lowe contributed 11 kills apiece.

"They had a loud crowd and I thought we handled those emotions ok," said head coach Jon Wallace. "It came down to execution and unfortunately, we just didn't get it done tonight."

Added Wallace: "I thought Brittany Lowe and Anna Cmaylo played well for us. Cmaylo is a big component for our team and for a freshman, I thought Lowe did well in such a hostile environment."

Santa Clara built a 7-3 lead in the first game to start off the match, thanks to back-to-back kills by Lowe and sophomore setter Crystal Matich. Despite the early deficit, the Utes never got discouraged, stringing together points to close the gap to 10-11. Santa Clara never lost its composure and was able to pull away to a sizeable 20-13 advantage after another Lowe kill. An attack error by a Utah attacker gave SCU the 30-22 first game victory.

To start off the second frame, Cmaylo gave the Broncos a boost with two early kills to knot up the score at 4-4. The two teams would continue to play fairly even and although Utah pushed ahead to a 9-6 lead, SCU would close the gap to 15-14 after a block by Perret and junior middle blocker Megan Pura. The advantage of playing at home began to manifest itself, however, and the Utes maintained a healthy edge the rest of the game. Utah would capture the second game 30-20 after a Utah kill.

After the 10-minute intermission, the Broncos came back to the court with a determined and focused effort. Early kills by McGiven, Cmaylo, and Perret jumpstarted the Bronco offense, which countered Utah's solid play. Trailing 10-7, Santa Clara outscored the home team 4-0 to capture the lead at 11-10, prompting Utah head coach Beth Launiere to call a timeout. Santa Clara would continue to apply the pressure on the Utes and pulled away 25-19 behind some big kills by Cmaylo and McGiven. However, Utah would not give up and managed to claw back to tie the game at 26-26 after an attack error by McGiven. Santa Clara would be outscored 4-1 for the remainder of the game, dropping the third frame 30-27 to Utah.

The Broncos got the fourth game off on a positive note, as McGiven notched a kill and Perret and Pura teamed up for a block, giving SCU the early 2-0 lead. Santa Clara and Utah would play evenly for much of the fourth frame, as neither team was able to build a sizable advantage. After claiming two straight points to go up 20-18, the home team looked to have all the momentum and Wallace took a timeout to slow down the Utes. Coming out of the break, back-to-back kills by Perret and McGiven tied the score up at 20-20 and the Broncos seized control from then on. After a kill by Lowe, Santa Clara claimed the fourth game 30-28 to send the match into a decisive fifth game.

In the fifth and final game, there was not much separating the two squads, as each team was able to match the other point for point. After a kills by a Utah attacker, the home team went on a 2-0 run that pushed them ahead for good and Santa Clara was never able to recover. The five-game thriller ended after Lowe made a hitting error.

Despite the loss, it was a night of career highs for several Bronco players. In addition to Cmaylo, Matich tied her career high in assists with 61, to go along with her four blocks, and Lowe contributed a career high in digs with 19 to lead all players in the match.

Four Bronco players made the All-Tournament team: McGiven, Perret, Cmaylo, and libero Caroline Walters.

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