Dec. 2, 2006
STANFORD, Calif. - Inconsistency and bad luck haunted the No. 21 Santa Clara volleyball team Saturday night, as the 2006 season came to an end with a 3-0 (35-33, 30-24, 30-26) loss to the Missouri Tigers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Broncos end the 2006 season with a record of 20-8.
Anna Cmaylo hit .364 with 17 kills to lead the Broncos offensively, while Brittany Lowe added a double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs. Caroline Walters turned in another fine defensive performance, making 33 digs in the match.
"I thought we played well enough to beat Missouri, but they came up with key blocks and key digs, and we didn't, and that made a difference," said head coach Jon Wallace. "They were very consistent out there and didn't make many mistakes."
Game one got off to a taut start, with the teams battling back and forth until Missouri grabbed three straight points to gain a 13-9 cushion, forcing Santa Clara to burn a timeout.
Still trailing by four at 18-14, the Broncos put together a 4-0 run thanks in part to a pair of Tiger handling errors, tying the game on a Nichole Clark kill. From there the battle swung from one side to the other, each team matching the other. The Broncos took five straight one-point leads late, only to see the Tigers continue to match them. Missouri took a one-point lead of their own at 28-27 after an SCU ball-handling error, but following the team's second timeout, Santa Clara answered with two consecutive points to hold game point at 29-28. But a service error nullified the game point, and the teams battled to the 33-33 mark until Missouri got a block followed by an ace to close out the first game for the early lead.
Missouri kept momentum on their side early in the second stanza, leading 7-5 and playing lively ball until the Broncos started to wake up and get in synch. That came when Evans came to the service line, dealing three aces to help fuel a five-point burst that gave SCU a 10-7 lead. But a lead that got to 12-8 disappeared just like that as Missouri took the lead by winning the next five points.
Santa Clara battled back to take a 21-19 lead behind four straight points and two kills from Lowe, but again, Missouri came back, grabbing four points of their own to retake the lead at 23-21. The Tigers kept the momentum from that point, closing out the game with a 7-3 run.
"We were still in it up to the 25-point mark in that second game, but then our passing broke down and that hurt us," Wallace said.
Having already rebounded from an 0-2 deficit three times this season, the Broncos showed that they weren't going to go quietly. Kills from Cmaylo and an ace from Lowe spurred a five-point run that gave SCU a 13-9 lead in game three. But once again, Missouri was able to creep back into it, scoring the next four points to tie the game.
Santa Clara took a 15-13 lead soon after, but the Tigers evened it up again, and took a slim advantage at 18-17. The teams went back and forth from this point on, and although the Broncos grabbed leads of their own at 19-18 and 22-21, Missouri came back as they had all evening, and eventually closed things out with a 30-26 win.