Oct. 7, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After Saturday afternoon's 3-0 (30-26, 30-25, 30-25) sweep of the No. 23 Pepperdine Waves, there is no doubt that the No. 12 Santa Clara Broncos are one resilient volleyball team. Two days after being swept themselves by Loyola Marymount, the Broncos responded to another gut-check with an even-keeled team effort that led to the sweep in front of their home fans.
No. 12 Santa Clara (12-4, 2-2 WCC) will now hit the road for the next two weeks, beginning with its annual trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Broncos will do battle with the Gonzaga Bulldogs Thursday night, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. before closing the weekend out with a 1 p.m. Saturday match at the Chiles Center against the Portland Pilots.
"We knew what we had to do and we came out and took care of it, just like we did last year against Pepperdine in the Sweet 16," said libero Caroline Walters. "We didn't feel like we had any pressure on us, we just went out there and played.
The ever-dependable Anna Cmaylo was the X-factor for the Bronco attack once again on Saturday, racking up 19 kills at a .630 clip and making three blocks up front. Kim McGiven posted her fifth double-double of the season with 13 kills and 11 digs, while defensively, Walters paced the team with 19 digs and Taylor O'Brien made 10 digs from the back row. Rachel Lumsden led the Waves (6-8, 2-2 WCC) with 13 kills and 12 digs.
"It wasn't an ultimatum as much as it was that we just played the way we know how to play. We were at home, and we were all upset about it, and we came back and we were ready to play today," said Cmaylo.
The win was Santa Clara's sixth in a row over the Waves, extending the team's longest winning streak against its Southern California rival.
"This win helped us a lot emotionally, to be able to come back and to play steady and win," said head coach Jon Wallace. "Probably even more so was the feeling on the court, that the girls found a rhythm that they're going to try to grab onto. I think the girls are excited and got a little more life back in them."
"Anna gave the whole team life, when she's hitting that well everybody thinks they are better out there, she just that type of player," Wallace continued, speaking of Anna Cmaylo's performance. "She took the team on her back and said `I'm going to play great tonight.'"
Cmaylo did the carrying from the match's first point, hammering a thunderous kill not only on the first rally, but two rallies later to provide SCU with its first points. The game, though, remained deadlocked up to the 9-9 mark, when Cmaylo's kill sparked a small 3-0 run that also included an ace from the Napa native. Even after the Waves managed to close the gap to one at 13-12, Brittany Lowe made a pair of kills and Nina Sevastopoulos, making her first collegiate start, made another to bring the lead back up to four.
The advantage got up to five at 20-15 after a Pepperdine attack error, before the Waves began chipping away, using two ball-handling errors on the Broncos to pull even at 25-25. But two straight kills from Cmaylo gave the Broncos the two-point lead, and she made another on the way to the 30-25 game one victory.
When the second stanza started out 6-6, little did most in the crowd realize that that moment was the closet the score was going to get between the two schools in game two. Two errors, plus another Cmaylo kill, gave the Broncos a 9-6 lead that they would not relinquish, using small runs through the game to keep the Waves at an arm's length before two kills from Cmaylo closed out the frame at 30-25.
Sensing the kill, the Broncos came out ready for the third game, with a vocal crowd behind them. Four kills from four different players plus a Walters ace were part of a 5-0 run that put the Broncos ahead 12-5 early on. But the Waves fought back behind a pair of Sophia Milos kills, cutting things to one at 15-14 before a Julie Rubenstein kill knotted the score up at 18-18.
The teams the next few points up to the 20-20 mark, when Lowe served up an ace and Cmaylo delivered again, putting down two kills to give SCU a three-point lead, which, a few rallies later, would get up to six at 27-21 after another kill was put down by Cmaylo. The lead never got to below four the rest of the way, as McGiven closed things out with a kill of her own to bring the Broncos back to .500 in the WCC standings.