Sept. 1, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 19 Santa Clara volleyball team lost a hard-fought battle against seventh-ranked Florida, 3-0 (30-18, 30-16, 30-24), in their final match of the 2007 Campus USA Credit Union Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. The Broncos are now 5-1 on the season, while the Gators improved to 5-0 overall.
Senior Crystal Matich led the offense for Santa Clara, posting a .400 hitting percentage with no errors on two kills in five attempts. Matich also handed out 31 assists and recorded six digs. Junior Nichole Clark chipped in with a .333 hitting percentage, registering three kills with only one error in six attempts. Libero Caroline Walters and outside hitter Brittany Lowe shared back row duties, posting 16 and 12 digs, respectively.
Santa Clara faced a strong opponent in its last match of the weekend and Florida came out on the court ready to take control, building a 6-1 lead on points from Marcie Hampton. Freshman Krista Kelley slammed the ball down to put the Broncos on the board, while back-to-back Florida attacking errors brought Santa Clara to 10 points. However, by that point, the Gators had amassed 18 points on successful attacks from Hampton, Kristina Johnson and Amber McCray. Florida continued to push forward, winning the first game, 30-18.
In the second game, the Broncos tried to keep the score as tight as possible, rallying from a 5-1 deficit to tie the score, 5-5, on a service ace from Lowe. A kill from Lowe knotted the score again at 7-7, and a successful attack from Nina Sevastopoulos gave Santa Clara their first lead of the match. Yet, the Gators picked up their momentum on service efforts from Janine Williams to produce a 5-0 run and increase their lead to seven-points, 17-10. Alex Scoffone, Lauryn Dowd and Lowe continued to put points on the board for the Broncos, but a SCU error gave Florida a 30-16 win.
Once again, Santa Clara opened the third game ready to fight and take control of the scoreboard. The Broncos went head-to-head with the Gators in the beginning of the game, keeping within two-points on attacking efforts from Lowe, Sevastopoulos and Lindsy Evans. Another kill from Evans brought the Broncos within two-points for the last time, 21-19. Yet, SCU continued to fight on attacks from Lowe, Matich and Sevastopoulos, but the rally was too late as Florida took game three, 30-24.
For the Gators, Hampton registered a double-double with a match-high 12 kills and 11 digs, while libero Elyse Cusack posted a match-high 18 digs.
The Broncos are on the road once again next week for their farthest trip of the season. Santa Clara travels to Honolulu, Hawaii for the 2007 Waikiki Beach Marriott Volleyball Challenge hosted by the University of Hawaii. USC will open the tournament against Wichita State on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. PT. On Friday, Santa Clara battles Eastern Washington at 8 p.m. PT, and then faces host Hawaii on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 p.m. PT.