Sept. 3, 2006
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - They might as well be called "The Road Warriors" because all they do is win, and dominantly at that, on the road thus far in 2006. Sunday, the No. 6 Santa Clara University volleyball team bulldozed their way to their fifth straight 3-0 victory in enemy territory, this time recording a 30-18, 30-23, 30-23 decision over No. 21 Notre Dame.
The sixth-ranked Broncos (5-0) will hit the road once more next Thursday and Friday, Sept. 7-8, as they return to the Lone Star State for the first time since the 2005 Final Four to participate in the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational in Austin. Thursday SCU will face its stiffest challenges of the young season as they battle host No. 8 Texas at 4:30 p.m. PT before closing out play the next day with a 2 p.m. PT tilt against No. 13 Missouri.
Sunday's victory was the 161st of eighth-year head coach Jon Wallace's career at Santa Clara, leaving him only one win shy of Mary Ellen Murchison's program record of 162 career victories, achieved from 1978-88.
Against the Fighting Irish (3-2), the Broncos were sparked by three separate 14-kill performances from Brittany Lowe, Kim McGiven, and Annalisa Muratore. McGiven notched her first double-double of the season as she also added 11 digs. Anna Cmaylo hit .500 with nine kills while freshman Lindsy Evans, making her first collegiate start, added four kills and eight blocks in the triumphant effort.
Setter Crystal Matich again turned in a solid outing, dishing 48 assists in guiding the team to a .391 hitting percentage on the day. The Santa Rosa native also chipped in three aces and three kills. Libero Caroline Walters also added 19 digs as part of a fine team defensive effort which limited the Irish to a team hitting percentage of just .115.
Things got off to a quick start for Santa Clara Sunday, as a kill by Cmaylo followed by a pair of McGiven kills and a Notre Dame attack error staked the team to a 4-1 lead. After the Irish knotted up the score at six-apiece, the Broncos ran off five points in a row to start an 11-1 run, highlighted by two combined blocks by Muratore and Evans, from which point SCU never trailed the rest of the game. The Broncos capped off the first frame with a 6-0 run, in which Evans teamed this time with Cmaylo on a pair of blocks to continue to stifle the Irish attack.
While things stayed generally closer on the scoreboard for the second game, it still followed the same formula as SCU took an early lead which they refused to relinquish the rest of the way. After kills by Cmaylo and Lowe put SCU in front 2-1, the team held off Notre Dame to capture the second game as Muratore notched six kills while Lowe and McGiven each tallied five.
In the third game, the Broncos took the early 3-0 lead and made it hold up on the way to victory. Blocks by Cmaylo and Evans on the first point and then Cmaylo and Matich on the third quickly set the tone, Solid setting and attacking kept the Broncos in front the entire way, although their biggest lead at any one point was only five points. Muratore's five kills and four each from Cmaylo and Lowe carried Santa Clara offensively, and Evans capped off the finest performance of her young debut season with a kill for the match-clinching point.