No. 10 Santa Clara Drops Five-Game Thriller to No. 22 San Diego
Nov. 11, 2005
San Diego, Calif. - The streak is finally over.
No. 10 Santa Clara dropped a heart-breaking five-game match to No. 22 San Diego tonight at the Jenny Craig Pavilion and the loss snapped a school-record 15-match winning streak that dated back to mid-September. Without head coach Jon Wallace, who did not make the trip down to San Diego due to the birth of his second child, and injured starting middle blocker Anna Cmaylo in the line-up, the Broncos lost for the first time in West Coast Conference play, derailing their hopes for a perfect WCC record.
"It was a little disappointing to lose. We set our goal not only to win conference, but to also go undefeated. We didn't accomplish the latter," said assistant coach Dustin Moore, who assumed the head coaching duties in the absence of Wallace. "In the big picture, it was just one match. I told our girls that they should be upset and disappointed for a day or two, but they've got to move on and be ready to play Cal on Tuesday night."
Outside hitter Kim McGiven and opposite Cassie Perret led the way for the Broncos, as each accumulated 16 kills on the night. Middle blocker Annalisa Muratore chipped in a season-high 15 kills on a .467 hitting percentage to keep Santa Clara in the match. On the defensive end, libero Caroline Walters had a team-high 27 digs, while McGiven set a new career-high in digs with 18 in the losing cause. Outside hitter Brittany Lowe and Perret also chipped in with 13 digs each. Up at the net, Perret and Muratore had a match-high six blocks, while middle blocker Megan Pura tallied five blocks. As a team, the Broncos hit a season-low .161 in the 27-30, 30-26, 30-22, 26-30, 15-8 defeat.
"We were never really able to get into a rhythm. We didn't get into our side out game and it was a struggle all night long," said Moore. "San Diego played well and they served tough. They are a good team and they definitely recovered from losing Kristen Carlson [who suffered a season ending injury the last time the two teams met]."
In the opening game, the Broncos came out strong and took an early 11-6 lead behind a slew of Torero hitting errors. However, once the home team calmed down, their level of play improved and battled back to tie it up at 11-11 after a Christie Dawson kill out of the middle. The two teams traded points back and forth and USD took a five-point advantage at 21-17 after an attack error by setter Crystal Matich. Santa Clara countered by stringing together four consecutive points and came within one point at 21-20 after a Muratore kill. A block by Perret and Pura tied the game up at 25-25 and the Broncos outscored the Toreros the rest of the way to take a one game to nothing lead.
San Diego came back in game two with a vengeance, bolting out to a 4-1 edge. Santa Clara crept back into the frame and tied it up at 5-5, but then dropped the next five consecutive points to build an even bigger deficit for itself. The Toreros continued to play well, maintaining their lead for much of the game, though the Broncos made a run late in an attempt to overtake their opponents. A kill by Lowe tied the match up at 26-26, but behind the strong serving of All-American setter Lindsey Sherburne, USD was able to reel off four straight points to win game two.
After the eight-minute intermission, the Toreros once again came out with focus and determination, taking a 7-1 lead behind some miscues from the Broncos. It was a deficit Santa Clara was never able to recover from, as San Diego maintained a healthy four-point advantage for much of game three. SCU dropped the third frame after a kill by Torero freshman Jeanne Fairchild.
Staring down the face of defeat, Santa Clara entered game four with renewed energy and matched San Diego point for point in the early going. A kill by Muratore broke a 14-14 tie and Perret rattled off six consecutive points to give the Broncos a commanding 21-15 advantage. The Toreros cut their deficit to three points after Dawson made it 26-23, but the visitors were able to hang on for the game four victory. A service error by outside hitter Erin Wiskar sent the match into a fifth and deciding game.
Sherburne opened up the final frame by serving four straight points to give her team a lead they would never relinquish. Santa Clara was able to cut the edge to two points at 7-5 after Perret and Muratore blocked a Wiskar attack, but San Diego pulled away and went on an 8-3 run to end the match. A Lowe attack error gave the Toreros the final point they needed to secure the win.
Santa Clara drops its overall record in 2005 to 22-1 and 11-1 in the WCC, while San Diego improves to 19-5 on the year and 8-4 in conference action. Santa Clara will have the chance to put this loss behind them when the team travels to Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday night to face No. 18 California. Game time is set at 7 p.m.