Strong Defense Carries No. 9 Broncos To Victory Over Dons
Sept. 30, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Fired up and ready to bounce back after Thursday night's tough loss in Moraga, the No. 9 Santa Clara volleyball team unleashed their pent-up frustration on the San Francisco Dons in posting a program-record 26 team blocks on the way to a 3-1 (30-22, 30-25, 26-30, 30-25) win Saturday afternoon at Wear Memorial Gymnasium.
The Broncos (11-3, 1-1 WCC) will return to the Leavey Center this coming weekend to host a pair of matches, beginning with the Pepperdine Waves at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, and the Loyola Marymount Lions at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. Tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660.
"The girls came out ready, fired up, and angry from the loss Thursday night," said head coach Jon Wallace. "You could tell from the match's first point that they wanted to focus on and do the things necessary to win the match."
Kim McGiven led the team offensively with 25 kills at a .354 clip, but the real story Saturday afternoon was about the defensive clinic put on in front of the net by the Broncos. Anna Cmaylo had a career high 14 blocks (one solo, 13 assists) while freshman Lindsy Evans turned in a triple-double with 42 assists, 13 blocks, and 11 digs. Megan Pura had nine blocks while Nichole Clark stepped up on the front line against the Dons, making five digs and four blocks, while Taylor O'Brien and Brittany Lowe each served up three aces as Lowe also added 16 digs to the defensive effort.
"Kim played great and she took big swings, the matchups that they gave us ended up being beneficial for Kim, allowing her to have a big match," Wallace stated. "But today's big efforts came from Nichole, who came in and made some really nice plays on playing the front line, and Taylor, who did the job really well for us with her service and defense. Their performances gave us a big lift."
"Lindsy continues to play very steady for us, which is all we're asking her to do," Wallace said of his freshman wunderkind. "We are running a real simplistic offense, plus she's big so she is blocking balls, those are things that we are expecting out of her. Her digs are more of pleasant surprise for us to see."
A kill from McGiven and a USF attack error gave the Broncos the first two points of the match, but things evened out, and the Dons even went ahead 10-6 after a 3-0 run after an ace and a block by Carly Babin, forcing Wallace to use a timeout. Santa Clara responded with a 6-0 run that featured two kills and a block from freshman Lauryn Dowd, and held that lead throughout the rest of the game. Leading 24-21 later in the game, two aces from Caroline Walters sparked a 5-0 run that put the Broncos at game point at 29-21, and two points later, a Cmaylo kill gave SCU the first game.
The Dons started the second game with a 4-1 lead, and later even held a four-point lead of 19-15 before the Broncos fought their way back into things. A seemingly inconsequential service error by the Dons ended up starting a 6-0 run for SCU, bolstered by two USF attack errors and a pair of blocks from SCU. Despite the Dons tying it up at 21-21, the Broncos went on a 5-0 run thanks to three more hitting errors by the Dons. From there, the teams traded points up until the Broncos took the second game 30-25 behind a Lowe ace.
SCU took the quick 2-0 lead in the third stanza thanks to a Cmaylo block and Clark ace, but the Dons came back, tying things up at five-apiece. USF used a 4-0 run to take a 12-7 lead, and eventually extended things to six at 17-11. The Broncos could not chip away at the lead the rest of the way, as the Dons eventually went up 28-21 to essentially put out any hopes of a Bronco sweep, as although Santa Clara staged a late rally with a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to two, the Dons got kills from Alix Gombos and Anna Berger to salvage the third game.
The fourth game started off tight, until the Broncos took advantage of a pair of Don attack errors and an ace from O'Brien to make a quick 3-0 run to lead 10-6. A few points later, leading 13-11, SCU again went on a run, getting four in a row as McGiven made a pair of kills and Dowd had a kill and a block to boost the team to a six-point advantage. But the Dons made up significant ground right away, taking six of the next seven points to cut the deficit to one at 18-17, forcing a Bronco timeout.
A Lowe kill and another ace by O'Brien helped get the lead back up to four at 22-18, but another Don run cut that to 22-21. This time, though, Santa Clara went on a run of its own, getting consecutive blocks from Evans and Pura, then Lowe, and an ace by Evans to spur a 6-0 run that put the Broncos within two points of the game. Although the Dons got the next three points, an attack error followed by a block from McGiven and Pura closed the book on the Dons in game one.
"This win felt great, it really did. The girls battled hard both physically and mentally, so it is a great reward to have," Wallace said afterwards.