September 30, 2005

Santa Clara Continues Red-Hot Streak in L.A.

Sept. 30, 2005

Box Score

Los Angeles, Calif. - In front of a loud and hostile crowd, Santa Clara won its sixth straight match, defeating Loyola Marymount 3-1 Friday night at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles.  The Broncos appeared in control, easily taking Games One and Two, but suffered a lapse of concentration and enabled the Lions to snatch Game Three.  In the final frame, SCU buckled down to finish off the home team and came out with a 30-22, 30-22, 22-30, and 30-23 victory under its belt.

"I felt tonight was an absolute team victory. I felt we controlled the tempo of the first two games," said head coach Jon Wallace. "In Game Three, we let up a little bit and it showed. What I'm most proud of is how the team responded to win the fourth game. There was no hesitation and they fought to regain the energy of the match and finished them off."

In the first game, Loyola Marymount took an 8-5 lead after a Megan Pura hitting error. Santa Clara would then proceed to outscore the home team 9-2 and take a 14-10 lead after a Kim McGiven kill. As the game progressed, sophomore setter Crystal Matich was able to get a number of players involved on offense, giving SCU complete control of the game. Freshman Brittany Lowe was outstanding towards the end, accounting for three of the final five points Santa Clara scored to win Game One.

The Broncos built an early 12-7 lead behind the strong play of McGiven, who put down five early kills to give her team the advantage. Santa Clara would continue to maintain a healthy edge over Loyola Marymount and captured the second frame after Lowe put away another kill.

SCU continued its strong play and bolted to a 5-2 lead. However, LMU would not back down and outscored the visitors to take a 12-7 edge, a lead that they would never relinquish. Santa Clara came to within three points after an Anna Cmaylo kills trimmed the lead to just 24-21, but Loyola Marymount built too big of a lead to lose Game Three, winning 30-22.

Santa Clara proved to be too strong down the stretch, as the visitors outdistanced the home team early on in Game Four to secure their first West Coast Conference victory of the year. The Broncos hit .359 compared to .179 in the final frame to put the Lions away and the McGiven and Matich finished the match off with back-to-back kills.

McGiven lead all players with 20 kills, while Lowe and Perret chipped in 13 and 10 kills, respectively. Cmaylo was outstanding on both the offensive and defensive end, contributing 14 kills and five blocks. Pura lent a hand up at the net, notching five blocks on the night. Sophomore Caroline Walters was the leading digger of the match, with 21 saves in the four-game triumph. Matich dished out 55 assists and set SCU to a stellar .310 hitting percentage.

The Broncos improve their record to 12-1 on the year and 1-0 in the West Coast Conference. Santa Clara will return to action on Sunday, when they travel to Malibu, Calif. to face Pepperdine in a key WCC face-off. The match will be televised live at 3 p.m. as apart of College Sports TV's "Sunday Night Spikes: AVCA Match of the Week."