Sept. 16, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara volleyball team concluded action at the 2007 SCU Invitational with a hard-fought, 3-2, heartbreaker to Notre Dame Sunday afternoon at the Leavey Center. With the loss the Broncos dropped to 7-6, while Notre Dame improved to 4-6.
Leading the way for the Broncos was freshman Krista Kelley, who registered a match-high and season-best 25 kills. Kelley also recorded a double-double with 12 digs and compiled a team-best .400 hitting percentage (25-7-45). Junior Brittany Lowe also tallied a double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs, while junior outside hitter Nichole Clark added 11 kills.
Redshirt freshman Kim Courtney had a career day posting new highs in kills (12), digs (11), and assists (4) and her first collegiate block solo. Senior setter Crystal Matich dished out 59 assists and a match-high five total blocks, while senior libero Caroline Walters led the back row with 23 digs.
Notre Dame opened the first game on kills from Kellie Sciacca and Megan Fesl to take a 6-1 lead. The Fighting Irish widened its lead on points from Fesl and Adrianna Stasiuk, but kill from Clark and another Matich Block interrupted Notre Dame's run. Nina Sevastopoulos entered the match for the Broncos a posted two kills and the Broncos once again broke up the Irish's momentum. Santa Clara continued to fight hard to tighten the score. Notre Dame approached game point, but Clark registered back-to-back kills to hold them off. Yet, the Irish won game one, 30-19.
Santa Clara came out in game two with full aggression as kills from Kelley, Clark, Lowe and Lauryn Dowd gave the Broncos a 7-3 lead. Notre Dame capitalized on SCU attack errors to come within one, 7-6, but Clark struck again and gave the Broncos the two-point lead, 8-6. Santa Clara continued to hold the edge as Kelley registered four kills and Courtney tallied two kills to give the Broncos at 15-11 advantage. A block assist from Matich and Evans put SCU up by 10-points, 23-13, and the team never looked back as they took the second game, 30-15.
Tied 1-1, the Fighting Irish pulled away with an early lead in game three and rallied behind points from Ashley Tarutis, Stremick and Stasiuk, they jumped to 12-6. But, the Broncos fought back on a triplet of kills from Lowe and a pair from Courtney to bring the score within one, 15-14. A successful attack from Courtney brought the Broncos within one for a second time, 25-24, and a service ace from Courtney knotted the score, 27-27. SCU took the edge for the last time in the game a harsh kill from Kelley, 29-28, and another kill from Kelley ended game three, 30-28.
Notre Dame started off game four with a 6-2 advantage, but Santa Clara came back to knot the score, 13-13 on a kill from Kelley. The teams then battled point-for-point in the highly contested fourth game, before Notre Dame pulled a head with a three-point lead, 23-20, on a kill from Stasiuk. The Broncos got back in the game and tied the score on an Irish attacking error and an Evans kill gave the Broncos match-point. But the Irish reacted fast to tie the score and a block from Stremick ended game four, 31-29.
Forced into a deceive game, the Broncos and Irish battled point-for-point until switching sides. It was then that Notre Dame compiled a three-point lead, 12-9, on points from Tarutis and Sciacca. A kill from Courtney brought Santa Clara within two, 13-11, but that was they closest they could come as Notre Dame won the fifth game, 15-11.
For the Irish, Serenity Phillips registered 18 kills, while Sciacca added 16 kills and Stasiuk had a double-double with 13 kills and 12 digs.
The Broncos return to action at the Leavey Center next Friday. Santa Clara will battle San Jose State in the annual rivalry series on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. The Broncos will continue action at home on Sunday, Sept. 23 against UNLV at 1 p.m.
MVP - Rebecca Saraceno (UCSB)
Lauren McLaughlin (UCSB)
Kat Reilly (Cal)
Hana Cutura (Cal)
Crystal Matich (SCU)
Adrianna Stasiuk (ND)