Oct. 24, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - With the first half of the West Coast Conference season in the books, the No. 21 Santa Clara volleyball team finds itself in a three-team logjam at 4-3 with Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's. The Broncos will have the chance to gain some separation and keep themselves in the hunt for the WCC title as they begin the second half of play by hosting the San Francisco Dons Thursday night before welcoming the Gaels Saturday afternoon.
Thursday night's clash with the Dons is set for a 7 p.m. first serve while Saturday afternoon's contest will get underway at 1 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660 or by clicking here.
Santa Clara (14-5, 4-3 WCC) is coming off of a 3-0 loss at the hands of the WCC-leading San Diego Toreros this past Saturday. Despite leading in the later stages of the first two games, the Broncos could not hold off rallies by the Toreros and suffered their third conference defeat.
"I hope we're hungry to bounce back after the San Diego match, we really wanted to have that one to keep us in the race to win the conference, and now with San Diego having a three-game lead it is going to be tough," said Santa Clara head coach Jon Wallace. "We need to refocus and reset our goals to make a push at the conference but also to get ready for the NCAA Tournament."
Anna Cmaylo continues to be one of SCU's most dependable performers, as she put down 11 kills at a .316 clip with four blocks Saturday, and continues to lead the WCC with a .426 hitting percentage. Brittany Lowe has been swinging well the past few matches, as she notched a double-double two weeks ago at Gonzaga and followed that up with a nine-kill, nine-dig performance while hitting .368 in San Diego.
"Anna's had a great match against San Diego, and what I'm really happy to see with Megan is her consistency," Wallace said of his current lineup. "Going into this second half of conference I feel that with the same lineup we are better. Brittany and Megan are playing better, Anna and Kim are workhorses for us, and Lindsy Evans is getting more and more comfortable with what her role is. I think we've improved a lot since our first conference matches against Saint Mary's and San Francisco."
The Dons (19-5, 3-4 WCC) come into Thursday night's match a game out of the tie for second after sweeping Gonzaga and Portland last weekend. Freshman libero Haley Carroll was named the WCC Player of the Week Monday for her performance over the weekend, which included averaging 8.33 digs a game over the two matches. Kristin Hasselberg leads the Dons with 4.68 kills a game, while Carly Babin's 1.38 blocks a game pace the squad.
Saint Mary's (9-9, 4-3 WCC), like the Broncos, is also looking to break out of the logjam for second place in the conference. The Gaels opened up last weekend with a 3-0 sweep of Portland before suffering a 3-2 upset at the hands of Gonzaga to close out the weekend. Christina Kirk leads SMC with 3.60 kills a game, while setter Mandy Bible leads the squad with 11.58 assists a game while also making 1.03 blocks a game.
The Broncos will be looking to even up the season series with the Gaels after dropping a tough 3-2 decision back on Sept. 28 in Moraga.