In its first of four matches in the Midwest the next five days, Santa Clara needed five sets to take care of Big East Conference foe DePaul Wednesday night in Chicago. Set scores were 25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 23-25 and 15-6 Santa Clara is 7-3 and DePaul is 1-8. Santa Clara will play three matches straight beginning on Fri., Sept. 17 when it plays Dayton in its first match of the Notre Dame Invitational.
"I think we were pretty steady in games one and two and we weren't in games three and four," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "They played better in those third and fourth games, but we allowed them to. We lost some focus and we made more mistakes. Our challenge is be strong; and respond in a mature, focused manner. We did in game five. We learned something from our previous matches where we weren't as smart or maybe didn't show such a strong desire to win. We showed some good signs of growth tonight. I was proud of our effort in game five."
Freshman Megan Anders played in her first match this season. Both Anders and sophomore Alexandra Palmer were released for play on Tuesday prior to leaving after spending much of the preseason injured. "Megan and Alexandra have had no time together so it didn't go well, but we are glad we got them some court time," said Wallace. "I am confident they will help this team in matches in the future, the combination of the two of them."
Santa Clara hit .268 with 73 kills, 69 digs, 68 assists and eight aces. DePaul hit .193 with 49 kills, 48 digs, 42 assists and three aces.
Santa Clara was led by a career-high 22 kills by Kaleigh Durket, hitting .366. Kayla Lommori had 18 kills, hitting .214 with three aces. WCC Player of the Week Dana Knudsen had 14 kills, hitting .346. Burke led the team with 54 kills and 13 digs. Williamson added seven kills and 12 digs. Bridget O'Hara collected a match-high 17 digs. DePaul was led by Kate Letcher's 15 kills and Chelsea Kirkpatrick scored 13 for the Blue Demons.
"Kaleigh Durket was very productive and very efficient. When we could get her the ball, she was awesome, but it was hard getting her the ball at times tonight with our passing," added Wallace.
Tying it up four times in the early going of set one, Santa Clara took a 9-7 lead on a kill by Lommori; and then went up 15-11 on a kill by Schmidt. After trading points and up 16-14, Santa Clara called timeout. Schmidt and Durket had back-to-back kills, a hitting error by DePaul and then a kill by Williamson gave the Broncos a 20-14 lead when the Blue Demons whistled for timeout. SCU racked up three straight hitting errors and whistled for time, up just 23-20, after letting DePaul score three straight on errors. Knudsen silenced the rally with a kill and then a DePaul attack error gave SCU a 25-20 win. SCU hit .158 in the first set with 15 kills. Knudsen and Williamson both had three kills. DePaul hit .125 with eight kills with four errors.
In the second set, SCU went up 4-1 on a kill by Durket and 6-3 n a kill by Knudsen. Two Lommori kills followed by one by Durket and Santa Clara went up 10-6; and the Blue Demons called timeout. Lommori collected her sixth kill of the match, a DePaul attack error and a team block by Williamson and Schmidt gave SCU a 14-9 lead. SCU scored three times, including a Knudsen kill, after DePaul scored two, giving the Broncos a 18-11 lead. Following a Megan Anders kill, DePaul scored two points, 18-15 Broncos. SCU took a 23-17 lead on kill by Schmidt and an error by DePaul. DePaul scored three straight on two kills and an attack error by Burke when Wallace whistled for time. Santa Clara quickly won set two, 25-20, on kills by Durket and Williamson. Santa Clara hit .438 in the set with 19 kills. DePaul hit .167 with 10 kills.
In set three, the two teams tied it up three times. A team block by Knudsen and Burke and two straight DePaul errors gave the Broncos a 7-3 lead. Seven straight Blue Demon points and DePaul took a 10-7 lead. A Blue Demon team block and a kill gave the Blue Demons a 13-8 lead. SCU pulled within two on a kill by Schmidt at 12-10 DePaul. A Knudsen kill and then a DePaul attack error made it 18-15 DePaul. A Lommori kill and then one by Anders pushed it two points again, 19-17 DePaul, and the Blue Demons called timeout. After a quick team huddle and a DePaul ball handling error, SCU was within one, twice, 19-18 and 20-19. Durket crushed her 13th and 14th kills of the match to tie it up 21-21 between a DePaul kill. A third straight Durket kill on the Broncos side of the next gave SCU a 22-21 lead, its first of the game. SCU went up 23-22 on another Durket kill, her 18th of the match; and DePaul whistled for timeout. Two straight DePaul kills and a Knudsen error gave DePaul set three, 25-23. SCU hit .370 with 15 kills. DePaul hit .370 with 14 kills.
In the fourth set Santa Clara went up 3-1 and then 4-3 on a Blue Demon error. Santa Clara called timeout. The two tied it up three times before SCU took a two-point lead on team block and a Burke dump. DePaul kept battling, tying it up at 9-9 and 10-10. DePaul went up by five, 15-10, and SCU called time. Out of the timeout, Santa Clara scored two of the first three points, but DePaul again took a four-point lead. A Knudsen kill made it 19-15 DePaul. Back-to-back kills by Schmidt and Lommori pulled SCU within one, 23-22 DePaul. Another Lommori kill after a Durket hitting error made it 24-23 DePaul. DePaul won game four 25-23 on a kill by Chelsea Kirkpatrick, her 13th of the match. SCU hit .195 with 16 kills in set four. DePaul .250 with 15 kills.
In the fifth and deciding set, the teams knotted it up four times again early on, when a Durket kill and an Ali Rambis ace gave SCU a 6-4 lead. DePaul called timeout. Out of the Blue Demon timeout, Williamson crushed a kill to put SCU up 7-4. A Durket error and a Knudsen kill and it was 8-6 Broncos. DePaul whistled for its second timeout after another DePaul error and a Knudsen kill gave the Broncos a four-point lead, 10-6 SCU. Burke's kill, a team block and another Williamson kill, her seventh of the match, gave SCU a 13-6 lead. A Durket ace and an attack error by DePaul made SCU a winner of the set and match, 15-6. SCU hit .211 with eight kills. DePaul hit -.059 with two kills.