Oct. 12, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 17 Santa Clara volleyball team heads out on the road well-traveled once again this weekend as they make the annual pilgrimage to the Pacific Northwest. The Broncos will be looking to pick up some more momentum as they do battle in the WCC, taking on the Gonzaga Bulldogs Thursday night at 7 p.m. and finishing things off with a 1 p.m. contest against the Portland Pilots on Saturday.
SCU (12-4, 2-2 WCC) is looking for the weekend sweep starting Thursday, as a trip to San Diego for a meeting with the conference-leading Toreros looms in a week. While the Broncos are keeping focused on the task at hand, two wins this weekend will go a very long way in putting Santa Clara right on track to make a second-half run for their second-straight WCC title.
Last weekend, the Broncos dropped a 3-0 sweep to the Loyola Marymount Lions, but bounced back with a sweep of their own over the No. 23 Pepperdine Waves. Anna Cmaylo had 19 kills at a .630 clip in the win, while Kim McGiven posted her sixth double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs.
"I am really pleased with how the girls came back on Saturday after getting beaten by LMU Thursday night," said head coach Jon Wallace. "I thought the came back with a lot more focus and dedication and it showed out there on the court."
Middle blocker Anna Cmaylo leads the WCC and is fourth in the nation with a .466 hitting percentage, and is also ranked fourth with 1.20 blocks a game. Outside hitter Kim McGiven is second in the conference with 4.66 kills a game, while defensively, libero Caroline Walters stands third with 4.50 digs a game.
The Bulldogs (5-13, 0-3 WCC) head into Thursday night's clash with the Broncos seeking their first conference win of the season after suffering losses to Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, and most recently, Portland. Last week, after earning a 3-2 victory in non-conference play over the Idaho Vandals, Gonzaga was swept by Portland, making it the third time in three WCC contests that the Bulldogs had been downed in three games. Becky Jones leads the Zags with 3.70 kills a game, while Elaina Renius is sixth in the WCC with a .311 hitting percentage.
Santa Clara leads the all-time series against Gonzaga with a 32-6 mark, and currently holds a 22-match winning streak over the Bulldogs dating back to the beginning of the 1995 season.
"[On the road] it's about just going up there and finding a way to win, Gonzaga is tough at home and just competes harder there," Wallace noted on Thursday's opponent. "But we were there last year, performed well, and were lucky enough to come back and win in five. We just want to go there and play our volleyball, do things we've been working on. If we do that we should be alright, but we definitely have to bring our A-game and an enormous amount of positive energy on the court."
The Pilots (8-8, 1-2 WCC) earned their first conference win of the season this past Saturday, posting a 3-0 sweep of Gonzaga at the Chiles Center. Portland dropped its first two WCC contests two weeks ago, being swept by Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount, but bounced back against the Bulldogs. Outside hitter Nicole Thometz leads the Pilots with 3.65 kills a game, while setter Kara Pein is sixth in the WCC with 10.57 assists per game.