Nov. 11, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 22 Santa Clara volleyball team continued its winning ways Saturday afternoon, battling its way to a 3-0 (30-27, 30-28, 30-27) sweep of the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Leavey Center. With the victory, the Broncos have now won four in a row with the past three wins coming in three straight games, propelling the team into next weekend's season finale showdown with WCC-leading San Diego.
First serve for next Saturday's match is set for 1 p.m. at the Leavey Center as the Broncos battle the Toreros and look to avenge an earlier 3-0 loss in San Diego. The Senior Day match will also include a pregame ceremony marking the final home match in the SCU careers of seniors Kim McGiven and Megan Pura.
"The match against San Diego is going to be a good test for us, they beat us last time and will test us in a lot of ways, whether we're good enough in execution and tough enough in whether we want it enough," said head coach Jon Wallace. "Our heart will have to come out next weekend in that match."
The SCU attack continued its recent run of marked consistency as the Broncos hit .288 as a team, led by Crystal Matich's 45 assists which contributed to the .448 clip of Anna Cmaylo, who paced the squad with 16 kills and four blocks. Brittany Lowe and Kim McGiven each added 12 kills and seven digs to the effort, while on the back row, libero Caroline Walters made 15 digs to lead the team.
"Our goal right now is to take another step towards next weekend's match against San Diego and get the girls ready to peak for the tournament in a few weeks," head coach Jon Wallace said after the win. "Anna was amazing today as well, its good to see her back swinging with confidence, and connecting with Crystal has given her that. Those two are impressive together."
Santa Clara jumped all over Gonzaga at the outset of game one, running out to a 10-3 lead behind the setting of Matich, who passed out five assists in that span. The Broncos continued to cruise, eventually getting the lead up to eight at 22-14, but at that point the Bulldogs slowly began to creep back into the game.
After trading a few points, the Bulldogsgot kills from Heather Dunn, Elaina Renius, and Emily Johnson to pull to within four at 24-20, and after ceding a point put together another three-point string to close to two at 25-23. Gonzaga pulled to within one at 26-25, and again at 28-27, but kills from Lindsy Evans and then McGiven closed out the game for the Broncos to thwart the Gonzaga rally.
The second stanza started out like the first, with four Evans kills staking the Broncos out to an early 6-2 lead. But the lead wouldn't last long, as the Bulldogs woke up and put together a 9-2 run to take an 11-8 lead, one that they would keep the majority of the game.
Yet they wouldn't keep it the entire way. Behind the play of Cmaylo, who put down eight kills in the second game, SCU inched its way back to even footing, cutting things to one at 16-15 and again at 22-21. Cmaylo's sixth kill of the stretch since it had been 11-8 knotted the game at 24-apiece, bringing SCU even for the first time since the 8-8 mark. From this point the two teams traded the lead twice on the way to 28-28. After an attack error by Gonzaga's Becky Jones gave Santa Clara game point at 29-28, the Broncos stole the final point as Walters got in front of a Renius attempt that had so much force behind it that when dug, it carried over the net and over the Gonzaga back row, giving SCU the 30-28 win and two-game lead.
Still, as the third game got underway the Bulldogs came back with a vengeance, fiercely attacking as their backs were to the wall at 0-2. Paige Dillingham started the game with a pair of aces as Gonzaga jumped out to leads of 6-1 and 10-4, taking control of the frame. The lead continued to swell, getting to nine at 17-8 before the Broncos put together a rally to cut things to four at 18-14.
But Gonzaga stretched things to eight once more, and, behind 23-15, Santa Clara finally found its groove in the third game and, fueled by three kills from Lowe and a couple of blocks from Evans, regrouped to make a 7-0 run that cut the deficit to one at 23-22.
After the teams alternated the next three points with Gonzaga now leading 25-23, Cmaylo and Matich sparked a six-point run with a pair of block assists each, and teaming up for a kill that put Santa Clara at match point at 29-25. Two points later, Cmaylo got the call again and hammered down SCU's fourth consecutive win with her 16th kill of the day.