Oct. 5, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Although the No. 12 Santa Clara volleyball team was coming off of a strong victory in their last match and had a passionate home crowd behind them, the Broncos struggled to find a rhythm Thursday night and fell 3-0 (30-20, 30-25, 30-25) to the Loyola Marymount Lions at the Leavey Center.
SCU (11-4, 1-2 WCC) returns to action Saturday afternoon at the Leavey Center as they will host the No. 23 Pepperdine Waves in a 1 p.m. contest.
Anna Cmaylo and Kim McGiven led the Broncos with 12 kills apiece in the match, while Cmaylo also made five blocks and libero Caroline Walters had 14 digs. Heather Hughes had 14 kills and 10 digs to lead the Lions (15-3, 3-0 WCC). Neither team hit particularly well, with the Lions hitting only .231 on the night and the Broncos hitting at a .157 clip.
The night was marked by the Lions grabbing the lead early in each game, and the Broncos forced to play catch-up, putting together a few runs but being unable to catch LMU.
"I thought LMU played really steady and kept the pressure on us all night, even when we came back a bit, they stayed strong," said Santa Clara head coach Jon Wallace. "Inconsistencies passing got us, but the tempo is different and we struggled with that."
In game one, the Broncos took the first point on Lauryn Dowd's kill, but that was the only lead they would get, as the Lions took advantage of five Bronco errors and got an ace from Lauren Kirk to build a 10-6 lead. At that point, LMU used a quick 3-0 run to build their lead up to seven on their way to a 15-11 lead. From there, a 4-0 run featuring a pair of kills by Emily Day extended the lead to eight, and the Lions coasted from there to take the first stanza 30-20.
The teams stayed close for the first part of game two, as the Lions held onto a two-point lead at 9-7 until two straight points made it 11-7. A 4-0 run a little later got the lead to six at 17-11, and was eventually extended to 24-16 thanks to four Bronco errors and an Ashley Dutro ace.
But the Broncos put together their best stretch of the night at that moment, as a Cmaylo kill, an LMU error, and a Dowd ace cut the lead to five and forced a Lion timeout. After the break, SCU stayed hot, as kills by McGiven and Cmaylo and another LMU error cut the deficit to two at 24-22 and the Leavey crowd came alive once more.
LMU ended the run with a Hughes kill on the next point, but Santa Clara continued to threaten, keeping it within two until the 27-25 mark, when three consecutive Bronco errors gave LMU the stanza and a 2-0 lead.
"It is very difficult playing from behind, especially when we're not smooth," said Wallace. "We always in the past could get smooth and knew that if we were down we could catch up, but tonight we got down, gave up big runs so once we got behind it was more difficult for us to make runs at them."
The third stanza was a tightly-contested affair throughout, as the Broncos gritted their way to a 7-6 lead after a Lowe kill. LMU came back though to grab a 15-12 lead, but Santa Clara again refused to roll over, Using two straight kills from Cmaylo, one from Lowe, and a Lion error to spur a 4-0 run and grab the lead at 16-15. But SCU gave up a 3-0 run in turn before battling back to tie things up at 19-apiece.
Kills by Sandy Krone and Megan Nash, though, gave LMU a 21-19 lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the way. Although the Broncos managed to cut things to 27-25, two errors followed by an LMU ace closed out the match.