Nov. 18, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 22 Santa Clara volleyball team stood toe-to-toe with the WCC Champion and 18th-ranked San Diego Toreros for much of Saturday afternoon's battle, but in the end it was the Toreros who got the last shots in, taking a 3-0 (32-30, 30-27, 30-28) sweep in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Santa Clara (20-7, 9-5) will now turn its attention to the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, to be aired Sunday, Nov. 26 between 12-1 p.m. Pacific time on ESPNEWS. In last season's tournament, the Broncos made a memorable run to the program's first Final Four appearance.
Game one set the tone for the entire match, as the teams engaged in a tightly-contested affair which saw neither team lead by more than four points at any time. San Diego had that lead at 17-13 after a Laurel Abrahamson block, but SCU stormed right back as a kill from Brittany Lowe kick-started a 4-0 run that also saw Nichole Clark serve up an ace to knot things up at 17-apiece.
After USD broke the streak with a point to take an 18-17 lead, Santa Clara stayed hot with a 5-0 run behind a pair of kills from Anna Cmaylo. But San Diego used a four-point run of their own to tie things up at 22-22, and from that point, the teams traded the lead up until the 27-27 mark. Kills by USD's Amy DeGroot and Abrahamson put San Diego at game point, but a kill from Lowe and an ace by Clark granted the Broncos a reprieve. And although SCU fought off another game point to tie it at 30-apiece, a kill from Abrahamson followed by a block from Christie Dawson and Kristin Carlson gave game one to the Toreros.
The Broncos appeared poised to retake the momentum as they opened up the second stanza with a 9-3 run that forced USD to burn an early timeout. But San Diego clawed its way back into it, trimming the Bronco lead down little by little until kills from Abrahamson and DeGroot equalized the game at 15-15. From there the game stayed just as close as the first, with neither team gaining an edge until the Toreros managed a 26-23 lead late, and held off a Bronco charge to take the 2-0 lead with a 30-27 triumph.
Game three started off tight again, but the Toreros grabbed the advantage with an 8-5 lead, and although SCU battled to tie it up at 10-10, a 5-1 USD run put SCU into another hole. The Broncos continued fighting, keeping the Toreros within range and refusing to let them get on a run. Finally, a 4-0 run helped by a pair of USD attack errors allowed the Broncos to tie it up at 24-24, and things looked to be turning. But USD bounced back to take the next two points, and held the Broncos off until an SCU attack error on match point gave San Diego the sweep.