October 4, 2006

No. 12 Volleyball Returns Home For WCC Battles

Oct. 4, 2006

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Following an up-and-down week that saw them have to adjust to a few lineup changes and bounce back in a strong, gritty fashion, the No. 12 Santa Clara volleyball team returns to the Leavey Center this week to focus its sights on two undefeated WCC foes, the Loyola Marymount Lions on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. and the No. 23 Pepperdine Waves at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Tickets for both matches are available by calling (408) 554-4660 or by clicking here.

The Broncos experienced a trying past week, losing two starters as middle blocker Annalisa Muratore retired from competition due to injuries and All-American setter Crystal Matich suffered an injury which has kept her out of action. Despite the losses, the Broncos battled with typical grit, dropping a tough 3-2 decision at Saint Mary's in the WCC opener last Thursday, but bouncing back on Saturday to claim a 3-1 win at San Francisco. Freshman setter Lindsy Evans filled in admirably for Matich, notching her first career triple-double Saturday with 42 assists, 13 blocks, and 11 digs against the Dons.

Senior outside hitter and team co-captain Kim McGiven has continued to be one of the Broncos' most dependable attackers this season, as she has put up some of her best numbers through the first 14 matches. McGiven notched 21 and then 25 kills, respectively, against Saint Mary's and San Francisco, bringing her season kills average to 4.73 a game, second in the WCC and 27th overall in the nation. Her .304 hitting percentage is also a career-best mark so far, and defensively the Encinitas native is contributing 2.30 digs a game to the team effort.

The Lions (14-3, 2-0 WCC) come into Thursday night's match after playing three matches over a five-day span last week, dropping a 3-2 decision to UC Santa Barbara before bouncing back to capture 3-0 sweeps over Portland and Gonzaga to begin the West Coast Conference season 2-0. Heather Hughes leads the Lion attack with 4.42 kills a game, fourth-best in the WCC, while Christianna Reneau's 3.93 kills a game is good for sixth. Hughes is also a service threat, leading the WCC with 0.69 aces a game.

LMU leads the overall series, 27-23 over the Broncos, but SCU swept the season series in 2005, capturing a 3-0 sweep of the Lions in Los Angeles before claiming a 3-1 win at the Leavey Center.

The Waves (6-6, 2-0 WCC) opened up their 2006 West Coast Conference season with a pair of sweeps of Gonzaga and Portland at home in Malibu to jump into an early tie atop the standings. Middle blocker Sophia Milo paces the Wave attack, as she sits second in the WCC with a .406 hitting percentage, while libero Kekai Crabbe is second in the conference with 4.74 digs a game and setter Kiah Fiers stands third with 11.74 assists a game.

Pepperdine leads the all-time series over Santa Clara by a 31-18 margin, but the Broncos have had the upper-hand as of late, capturing the past five head-to-head meetings between the two schools over the last two seasons. The Broncos and Waves met three times in 2005, with SCU taking all three matches, capturing a 3-1 win in Malibu and a 3-0 sweep at the Leavey Center, and then claiming another 3-0 sweep over the Waves in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament in Stanford, Calif.

Following this week's action, the Broncos will hit the road for two weeks, heading to the Pacific Northwest next Thursday and Saturday for matches at Gonzaga and Portland, respectively, before closing out the road swing on Saturday, Oct. 21 at San Diego.