Oct. 14, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. - It appears that the No. 17 Santa Clara volleyball team has put it's shaky start to the WCC season in the past, extending its winning streak to three with a 3-0 (30-17, 30-26, 30-21) sweep of the Portland Pilots Saturday afternoon. Combined with Thursday's win at Gonzaga, today's victory completes Santa Clara's first weekend sweep of the WCC season.
It also sets up next week's showdown between the No. 17 Broncos (14-4, 4-2 WCC) and No. 22 San Diego Toreros, who lead the WCC race with a perfect 6-0 mark. The duel takes place Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the USD campus.
"Getting two wins this weekend feels great," said head coach Jon Wallace. "I think we're playing better and that's a big part of why we've won three in a row. We feel better about ourselves and are excited for this upcoming week and a test in San Diego."
"These wins are giving us a lot of confidence to win with this lineup," said senior outside hitter Kim McGiven, who had eight kills and 13 digs in the win. "We're starting find our rhythm, and its going to put us in the right place. We're really excited for this upcoming match at San Diego."
Anna Cmaylo paced the Broncos with 13 kills and seven blocks, while Lindsy Evans handed out 33 assists and made a team-leading 14 digs to go with five blocks. The Broncos defense out-blocked and out-dug the Pilots, limiting them to a paltry .076 hitting percentage.
"It helps us tremendously to have a group out there that is gelling so well," said junior libero Caroline Walters, the team's leader in digs with 4.42 a game. "It is so easy to play defense when you know the front row's tendencies. That's why we've been successful in getting digs behind them."
Santa Clara wasted little time setting the tone against Portland Saturday, reeling off a 5-0 run featuring two aces by McGiven to take a commanding 12-5 lead which eventually swelled to eight at 17-9 soon after. Although Portland's 4-0 run halved the lead, the Broncos reaffirmed their control of the stanza though by going on a 12-3 run which brought them to game point at 29-16. Two points later, Nina Sevastopulos closed things out with one of her eight kills on the day.
Game two took a turn at the start as it was the Pilots taking control early, jumping out to a quick 9-3 lead helped by three Bronco attack errors and four kills from K.C. Fox. But SCU steadily climbed back into things, scoring the next three points to trim the deficit to three, then put together another 3-0 burst with three consecutive Sevastopoulos kills to tie things up at 13.
Portland regained the lead almost right away, getting it to 20-16 on a Jennifer Sheedy kill, but another 3-0 run from the Broncos cut things to one. Trailing 22-20 moments later, the Broncos claimed their first lead of the game since scoring the first point by making a 7-0 run behind two more Sevastopoulos kills and a couple of Portland errors. Although the Pilots scored the next three points to trim the lead to two at 27-25, two kills by Cmaylo helped SCU end the game with a 3-1 run to take the 2-0 advantage.
The third stanza started out as a back-and-forth affair, with the teams staying within two points of each other much of the way until the 12-10 mark. At that point, Santa Clara got big blocks from Cmaylo, Evans, and Megan Pura to help fuel a 5-0 run that gave them control of the game. A 4-0 run at the 22-19 mark brought the lead to seven, and after Portland's next two points, Santa Clara ended things with a 4-0 run capped by McGiven's kill for the team's third victory in a row.