Nov. 18, 2005
Santa Clara, Calif. - For just the first time this season, the No. 12 Santa Clara women's volleyball team dropped a home match, falling to fellow West Coast Conference rival Saint Mary's 3-1 tonight at the Leavey Center. Despite capturing the WCC title just two weeks ago, the Broncos are suffering a bit of a slide, losing their third consecutive match and fourth overall in 2005. SCU is now 22-4 on the year and owns an 11-2 record in league play.
Leading the way for the home team was outside hitter Kim McGiven and middle blocker Anna Cmaylo, as the pair each tallied 17 kills on the night. Middle blocker Annalisa Muratore chipped in with 16 kills, while outside hitter Brittany Lowe and opposite Cassie Perret contributed 11 kills each. Defensively, libero Caroline Walters dug a match-high 22 balls, while Muratore notched a team-high three blocks in the losing cause. Setter Crystal Matich dished out 67 assists, though was only able to set her team to a .205 hitting percentage in the 33-31, 30-18, 28-30, and 30-25 defeat.
In the first game, Saint Mary's setter Mandy Bible connected well with middle blocker Brittany Barker to forge a quick 3-1 lead, but McGiven's smart hitting did not allow the visitors to pull too far ahead. She also went on a four-point serving run that enabled her team to take a slim lead. A ball-handling error by Bible caused SMC's head coach Rob Browning to take a timeout in order to calm down his troops. After back-to-back service aces by Cassandra Kolkka, the Gaels came to within two points, but a Cmaylo blast down the line pushed the lead back to 13-10. Three straight kills by Lowe increased the SCU advantage and after a Muratore tip went down for a point at 19-12, Browning took his second timeout of the game. Santa Clara's advantage increased to 21-12, but Saint Mary's rallied behind a series of SCU attacking errors to close the gap to 22-18, forcing Santa Clara head coach Jon Wallace to call a timeout. The visitors continued to push the pace of the match and took the lead at 28-27 after two straight Cmaylo hitting miscues. The two teams would end up trading points until a kill by Kaui Salzman completed the 33-31 comeback victory for the Gaels.
In the second frame, both squads came out firing on all cylinders as the WCC rivals were each hitting over .500 in the early going of the match. No team was able to build much of a lead until a Gaels service ace gave them the 17-15 advantage, forcing Wallace to call a timeout to talk things over with his team. Saint Mary's would end up going on a 13-3 run to take game two 30-18, heading into the locker room with a two game to nothing lead.
Saint Mary's continued its hot play to open up the third frame, taking a 5-2 advantage. Santa Clara battled back to tie it up at 8-8 after a McGiven attack sneaked through the opposing block, though the visitors were still able to forge a slim 13-10 lead after an attacking error by Perret. Three consecutive kills by SCU would tie it up again at 13-13 and the two WCC rivals continued to slug it out on the court until Santa Clara took a 19-17 edge after a kill by Muratore. The Broncos' attack out of the middle proved to be too much for the Gaels to overcome, as Muratore and Cmaylo teamed up for four kills down the stretch to seal game three by a score of 30-28.
The fourth game opened up with each team siding out and not building much of a lead. The outside-middle attack from Lowe and Cmaylo provided much of the firepower for the Broncos in the early going and Santa Clara continued to side out effectively to stay even with Saint Mary's. Consecutive kills by Muratore, McGiven and Lowe broke a 17-17 tie and forced Browning to call a timeout with his team trailing 20-17. The Gaels were not deterred by their deficit, scoring five straight points to take a 22-20 lead. A tip by Perret and a solo block by Cmaylo tied it up at 24-24, but it was short-lived, as SMC scored on the next two plays, causing Wallace to burn one of his timeouts. Saint Mary's would score the next four out of five points to take game four 30-25 and the match.
Santa Clara returns to action tomorrow evening in its final regular season match. The Broncos will honor seniors Lexie Bothman, Rachel Greenberg, Kristen Luxton, and Cassie Perret, in addition to team manager Alyssa Lantz, prior to the 7 p.m. contest with San Francisco.