Sept. 8, 2006
AUSTIN, Texas - Despite suffering a disappointing defeat the day before, and dropping the first game of Friday's match, the No. 4 Santa Clara volleyball team dug deep, stemmed its slide, and slugged its way back into the win column with a come-from-behind 3-1 (24-30, 30-18, 30-20, 30-24) victory over the No. 15 Missouri Tigers to earn a split at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational.
The victory brought SCU's record to 6-1, and was also marked the 162nd career win for head coach Jon Wallace, tying him with Mary Ellen Murchison (1978-88) atop the career list of victories by a Santa Clara volleyball head coach.
"We did it, it's been a group effort to get to this point," Wallace modestly stated about reaching the top of the career wins list, crediting his assistant coaches and players, before stressing the importance of turning around with a big win after yesterday's defeat. "It is good to get that bad taste out of our mouth, and the way we look at it now, we're 1-0 on our new streak."
Santa Clara will now return to the Bay Area this week to begin a stretch of four matches in five days. The Broncos open the week up with the Rivalry Series battle with San Jose State at Spartan Gym at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, before traveling up the road to Stanford for the Stanford Invitational where they will battle the Cardinal Thursday night at 7 p.m. SCU will close out the tournament Saturday with a 12 p.m. match against UC Irvine before returning that night for a 7 p.m. contest against Georgetown.
Outside hitter Kim McGiven led the Broncos Friday with her second double-double of the season, making a team-high 21 kills to go along with 14 digs. Brittany Lowe added a double-double of her own, with 17 kills and 17 digs, while Annalisa Muratore made 15 kills while hitting at a .429 clip and made three blocks. Setter Crystal Matich guided the Broncos to a .309 hitting percentage on the day as she dished out 58 assists.
Defensively, Santa Clara bounced back from a dismal performance in Thursday's loss to Texas. Besides McGiven and Lowe's double-digit dig totals, Matich added 17 digs of her own and libero Caroline Walters made 15 digs. After not making a block against Texas, SCU returned to dominance at the net as Muratore, Anna Cmaylo, and Lindsy Evans notched three blocks apiece.
"I thought our leadership was great, led by Kim and Caroline driving the team to compete," Wallace said after the win. "Both of them brought it up a notch very nicely with what they do stat-wise and in terms of intensity on the court. Annalisa did a real nice job as well as Brittany in hitting for high percentages and being aggressive on the court."
Jessica Vander Kooi and Nicole Wilson each had 15 kills and Tatum Ailes made 21 digs to pace the Tigers Friday afternoon.
Missouri (6-3) captured the first game after taking control midway through, as the Tigers reeled off a 5-0 run to take an 18-14 lead., forcing Santa Clara to burn a timeout. Trailing 21-16, McGiven made three straight kills to cut the gap to two, but a four-point run by the Tigers extended the lead to 26-20 and the win was academic by that point.
But the Broncos refused to be bowed, jumping out to quick leads of 7-3 and then 12-7 in the second frame. Santa Clara hit .424 in evening the match at a game apiece.
The teams battled to an 8-8 tie to start game three, but an 8-1 Bronco run quickly turned the tide. SCU got the advantage to 10 at 25-15 later on to coast to the 30-20 win and the 2-1 advantage.
Game four was a closely-contested affair most of the way, as the teams exchanged leads up to a 17-17 deadlock. But from there, the Broncos captured the next three points to go ahead 20-17, and used a four-point run to lock things up for their sixth win of the season.
The All-Tournament team was to be released following the conclusion of Friday night's Texas-Penn State match.