Nov. 19, 2005
Santa Clara, Calif. - Finishing off the regular season in strong fashion, No. 12 Santa Clara sent off its Class of 2006 with a 3-1 victory over West Coast Conference rival San Francisco tonight. Lexie Bothman, Rachel Greenberg, Kristen Luxton and Cassie Perret, along with team manager Alyssa Lantz, were honored by their coaches, teammates, and family and following the pre-game ceremony, the seniors were treated to a win for the final time at the Leavey Center. In addition, after the contest had concluded, the WCC trophy was presented to this year's conference champions.
"Tonight's win was huge for us - finishing off strong heading into the tournament will give the team some confidence. That was really important and I was pleased we were able to do that," said head coach Santa Clara Jon Wallace. "To celebrate winning the conference at home is awesome too. We won it a few weeks ago and anytime you can celebrate and be presented with the trophy in front of the home fans is great."
Junior outside hitter Kim McGiven powered the Bronco offense, putting down 22 balls at an effective .354 rate. Perret and sophomore middle blocker Anna Cmaylo each added 14 kills in the 30-21, 30-26, 28-30, and 30-18 triumph. Defensively, sophomore libero Caroline Walters had a team-high 15 digs, while McGiven and Perret chipped in with 9 digs each. Up at the net, the duo of Cmaylo and Muratore combined for nine blocks on the night, while Perret recorded five blocks to go along with her already outstanding stat line.
Cmaylo got the Broncos off to a great start, as her hard cross-court attack earned her team the first point of the match. Santa Clara built a 10-5 lead behind the strong hitting of McGiven and Muratore, forcing San Francisco head coach Jeff Nelson to call a timeout. The home team maintained a healthy lead for much of the game and after two straight kills by McGiven and Cmaylo made it 24-17, Nelson used a second timeout to calm down his team. SCU finished out game one on a strong note, with a Perret kill to close out the 30-21 frame.
Cmaylo once again got her team off to a great start, as three kills by the 6-4 quick hitter propelled the Broncos to a 5-2 advantage. However, the Dons battled back to tie things up at 5-5 after an attack error by Perret. Two consecutive kills by Theresa Hart gave USF a slim 11-9 edge, but strong serving by Nichole Clark pushed SCU to a 14-11 lead, prompting Nelson to burn a timeout. While Santa Clara's advantage grew to 23-17, San Francisco played well under pressure to tie it up at 24-24 after a kill by Jamie Kartchner. A Dons service error ended their comebck run and a back-row kill by Perret gave the Broncos the lead for good. The home team picked up the 30-26 game two victory after a Kristin Hasselberg attack attempt sailed long.
After the eight-minute intermission, San Francisco built a 14-10 lead after several Santa Clara miscues, forcing Wallace to use one of his timeouts to light a fire under his troops. USF increased its lead to 17-10 before SCU made a run to close the gap. The Broncos came to within three with a Muratore kill and tied it up at 21-21 after another Muratore blast out of the middle. Unfazed, the visitors went on a 3-0 run before Wallace called another timeout to stop their momentum. San Francisco reached game point at 29-25 after a Jencie Lejeune kill, but strong net defense by Santa Clara erased two game points, forcing Nelson to call a timeout. Hart got a kill on the following play to secure the 30-28 game three victory for USF.
The Broncos rebounded from their game three loss, opening up a 10-5 edge behind three kills by Perret, promting Nelson to call his first timeout of game four. Luxton served four straight points to push the lead up to 15-6 and Nelson used his second timeout of the game to stop the bleeding. Several San Francisco errors enabled Santa Clara to take control of the game and a block by Annalisa Muratore and Cassie Perret pushed the advantage to 24-11. Strong play up at the net gave the home team match point at 29-17 and a thundering kill by outside hitter Brittany Lowe sealed the 30-18 game four victory and the match.
Santa Clara ends the regular season with an overall record of 23-4 and a 12-2 WCC mark. The Broncos will now wait for their postseason fate, as the 2005 NCAA Tournament Selection Show will take place Sunday, November 27 on ESPNews at 11:30 a.m., Pacific Standard Time.