September 20, 2006

No. 9 Broncos Pull Away From Hornets For 3-1 Win

Sept. 19, 2006

Final Stats

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Finally, the Broncos have come back to the Leavey Center! Following 11 games on the road to open the 2006 season, the No. 9 Santa Clara volleyball team opened up the home season Tuesday night with a 3-1 (30-26, 30-22, 33-31, 30-22) win over the Sacramento State Hornets behind Kim McGiven's huge offensive outing in front of 831 fans and a vocal, boisterous mass of Ruff Riders.

With the win, the Broncos (10-2) will take nine days off before returning to the court to begin the defense of their West Coast Conference crown as they make the North Bay tour, hitting Saint Mary's Thursday night, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. before ending the swing Sunday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. against the San Francisco Dons.

McGiven led the Bronco attack with a season-high 27 kills and 15 assists for her fourth double-double of the season, as well as making four blocks against the Hornets (12-4). Anna Cmaylo put down 13 kills and paced the front with five blocks while Crystal Matich dished out 66 assists and made 11 digs, and Caroline Walters turned in 24 digs to pace the defense. Nichole Clark and Lauryn Dowd also providing solid defensive help with 12 digs apiece.

Things started off well for the Broncos Tuesday night as they jumped out to a 14-8 lead in the first stanza, as Annalisa Muratore made three of her 10 kills on the night in that opening sequence. But the Hornets slowly chipped away at the SCU lead, eventually cutting it down to one at 21-20 after a 3-0 run paced by one of Atlee Hubbard's team-leading 21 kills on the night and a service ace from Rose Burke.

Things went back-and-forth for the next few points until kills by Cmaylo and McGiven gave the Broncos breathing room at 26-23, followed soon after by a pair of Sacramento State attack errors that put SCU on game point. Two points later, McGiven's kill gave the Broncos the first stanza.

Game two followed a similar fashion, with SCU jumping out to a nice lead, and Sacramento State battling back before the Broncos pulled away again to hold off the Hornets. SCU took a 9-5 lead early, before the give-and-take began as the Hornets knotted things up at 14-apiece on a Lindsay Haupt kill, but then the Broncos exploded for a 7-0 run that featured a pair of McGiven kills and three consecutive Haupt attack errors. The shell-shocked Hornets never got within less than six the rest of the way, as SCU coasted to the 30-22 win.

But the Hornets refused to go down without a fight, coming out strong in the third game. With their backs to the wall, Sacramento State jumped out to a 12-7 lead, helped by a pair of errors by the Broncos. SCU fought back though, even regaining the lead at 18-16 at one point after a Hornet error and a kill by Dowd, forcing the Hornets to burn a timeout.

But after the stoppage in play, the Hornets took seven of the next eight points to go ahead 22-19, and held that lead as things climbed closer to the 30-point mark. But down 27-25, SCU used consecutive kills by McGiven and a Matich ace to pull ahead 28-27, and had match point two points later, but a Hubbard kill gave the Hornets new life. After trading points up to the 31-31 mark, Hubbard's kill followed by a Jennifer Ferguson block staved off a Bronco sweep.

The battle continued into the fourth stanza, as the Hornets led early but then surrendered an 11-5 run to SCU which put the Broncos up 12-8. But as was the case in every game, the Hornets wouldn't make it easy for the Broncos, coming back to claim a 15-14 lead and battling all the way to the 22-21 point before Santa Clara finally broke away. A Lindsy Evans kill started off a 6-0 run that also featured a pair of aces from Dowd that gave SCU the 27-21 lead and brought the raucous Ruff Riders to their feet. After Dowd's service error made it 27-22, the Broncos ran off the final three points, capped off by McGiven's kill to end a marathon rally that brought a deafening roar of approval from the home crowd.

The Broncos will return home on Oct. 5, hosting the Pepperdine Waves in a 7 p.m. Thursday night battle before hosting the Loyola Marymount Lions at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.