October 29, 2005

No. 12 Broncos Tame Lions in Four-Game Victory

Oct. 29, 2005

Box Score

Santa Clara, Calif. - Halloween is just two days away, but the No. 12 Santa Clara women's volleyball has given their fans something far sweeter than candy.  After defeating West Coast Conference rival Loyola Marymount 3-1 tonight at the Leavey Center, Santa Clara is edging closer to an undefeated conference record, as they are now 9-0 in the WCC.  The Broncos have never gone undefeated in conference play, though that is the last thing on team's mind according to Santa Clara head coach Jon Wallace.

"We have Portland next Friday night," Wallace firmly stated, not willing to even acknowledge his team is on the verge of an undefeated season. "The girls will have the next few days off and hopefully they will come back on Wednesday a little rejuvenated and mentally ready as we make that last push to the end of our conference schedule."

Junior outside hitter Kim McGiven paced SCU in the 30-28, 31-29, 27-30, and 30-16 victory, pounding down 21 kills to go along with her 12 digs. Freshman outside hitter Brittany Lowe recorded her ninth double double of the season, as she tied her career high in digs with 19, while adding 16 kills in the winning effort. Senior opposite Cassie Perret and sophomore middle blocker Anna Cmaylo chipped in 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Junior middle blocker Megan Pura posted a match-high eight blocks on the night, while sophomore libero Caroline Walters was effective in the back row, accumulating 17 digs.

Although Wallace felt his team did not play up to their potential tonight, he was impressed at how well his squad was able to come together and grind out the victory.

"I didn't have our best game tonight and it showed in our passing," admitted Wallace. "However, I give the girls a lot of credit for beating a strong opponent even when they aren't on their game."

To start off game one, the Broncos bolted to an 8-4 lead behind the early front-row efforts of Cmaylo and Lowe, forcing the Lions to call a timeout. Loyola Marymount would then go on a 9-1 run to take a seeming commanding 14-10 edge. SCU battled back to eventually tie the match up at 19-19, but LMU continued to push on and take control of the match. Down 25-28, Santa Clara dug down deep and managed to string together a 5-1 run to end the Loyola Marymount threat in the opening frame.

As in game one, the second frame started off with the Broncos taking a lead in the early going, only to see the Lions recover and tie it up at 10-10. Santa Clara pulled away on the strength of its offense and a Lowe kill extended the lead to 22-17. Game point was eventually reached after Loyola Marymount service error made it 29-25, but the Lions strung together four consecutive points to stall the SCU victory, forcing Wallace to call a timeout to settle down his troops. On the following play, a block by Muratore and Perret set up another game point and the game was sealed thanks to a LMU hitting error.

After the eight-minute intermission, SCU took an early 6-4 lead behind the powerful hitting of McGiven, as she accounted for three of the team's points. The advantage swelled to 19-13 after a Cmaylo kill, but the Lions fought back to close the gap and tie it up at 21-21 after a Muratore attack error. Loyola Marymount pulled away slightly at 25-24 after a Santa Clara miscue and eventually, reached game point after an own kill. Lowe hit the ball long to give game three to the visitors.

Game four started off with Santa Clara taking a 9-4 lead, behind two kills by McGiven and three kills and a solo block by Lowe. Thanks to three consecutive kills by Perret, along with solid defense up at the net and in the back row, the lead ballooned to 13-6 and as a result, Loyola Marymount called a timeout. The Broncos' advantage grew as big as 12 points after a LMU rotation violation made the score 26-14. Sophomore setter Crystal Matich jump served the final three points of the game and Lowe and Pura ended the game with a decisive block.

With the victory, the Broncos won their 13th match in a row and ups their season record to 20-1. The Lions fall to 16-7 in 2005 and 4-5 in the WCC. Santa Clara returns to action next weekend when it travels to the Pacific Northwest to take on Portland and Gonzaga. Game times are scheduled for 7 p.m. on both nights at their opponent's respective gyms.