Santa Clara fell in five sets to Delaware in its last match of the Notre Dame Invitational. Game scores were 18-25, 25-23, 25-22, 20-25 and 15-10. Santa Clara is 8-5 and Delaware is 8-5. Santa Clara is 2-3 in five game sets this year, including a 3-2 win at DePaul last Wednesday and a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame Invite champion No. 20 Dayton on Friday.
Santa Clara hit .206 with 71 kills (26 e and 218 att.). The Broncos also collected a season-high 99 digs, 68 assists, three service aces and seven team blocks. Delaware hit .207 with 62 kills (22 e and 193 att.). The Blue Hens had a season-high 107 digs, 60 assists, five aces and 13 team blocks.
Santa Clara had four players in double-digit kills, including Dana Knudsen, who was named to the All-Tournament team, and Kayla Lommori, who both collected 19 kills. Knudsen hit .406 and six blocks. Emily Burke had 61 assists and 13 digs. Kaleigh Durket collected a double-double with 17 kills and 18 digs. Tanya Schmidt had 10 kills. Lexi Williamson had a season-high 22 digs and five kills; and Bridget O'Hara scooped up 20 digs. The Blue Hens were led by Katie Dennehy and Alissa Alker, who both collected 17 digs. They also had four players with double-digit kills.
After playing four matches in five days in the Midwest, Bronco head coach Jon Wallace said he looks forward to one match in the next week, vs. Seattle at 1 pm on Sun., Sept. 26, prior to opening WCC play with LMU and Pepperdine Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, respectively. Wallace felt the team was ready to play at 8:30 am Pacific this morning vs. Delaware and said both teams played really hard in the long match. "We will have Monday off and we will get back in the gym on Tuesday," said Wallace.
Wallace is especially excited to welcome back sophomore Katherine Douglas, sophomore Alexandra Palmer and freshman Megan Anders this week so the team is closer to full strength. Santa Clara has been without four players much of the preseason due to injury. Senior Krista Kelley will still be out with a back injury and is not expected to return anytime soon. "We were limited with Megan and Alex this past weekend because they were just released to play on Tuesday and we have missed Kat this whole season due to an oblique injury," said Wallace. "We are excited to get closer to full strength as we begin conference play. We think we have the makings of a special team this season and adding Alex, Kat and Megan to the mix full strength on Tuesday will add a lot of depth and confidence to the rotation."
Wallace said after Santa Clara's 3-0 win on Saturday night at Notre Dame, the team wanted extra film last night and this morning prior to playing Delaware. He felt they were ready and praised the Blue Hens as an experienced team that could terminate. "We played hard today and we were exhausted after the end of the match. We got stuck in one bad rotation in a couple of games and had to make a double switch to get out of it," added Wallace. "Kayla Lommori gets better and better each match out. We are really happy with her development. Dana Knudsen also played well this morning."
In the early going Delaware took a 6-4 lead on a Paige Erickson kill. The Broncos tied it up 6-6 on back-to-back kills by Knudsen and Lommori. The teams tied it up three times before Santa Clara rallied to score four straight points on two Blue Hen errors, a Durket kill and a team block by Knudsen and Williamson, 15-11 SCU. Coming out of the media timeout, a Knudsen kill and an attack error by Kim Stewart and the Blue Hens whistled for time, down 17-11 to the Broncos. SCU added to its lead with two kills by Knudsen and a tip for a kill by Burke. Down 20-14, the Blue Hens called their second timeout of the set. Both teams scored two points each, trading the ball, with kills by Schmidt and Lommori putting SCU up 22-16. A Durket kill and a team block by Knudsen and Durket put SCU up 24-17. Following a kill by Stewart, Knudsen knocked down her fifth kill of the set to give SCU a 25-18 set win. SCU hit .282 with 16 kills. Knudsen hit .714 with six kills in set one. The Blue Hens hit .088 with 10 kills. Stewart had four kills with five errors, hitting -.061.
Tying it up five times to start set two, before Santa Clara went ahead 10-7 on two Lommori kills and a team block. The teams traded points twice with SCU taking a 12-9 lead. Four straight Blue Hen points, including back-to-back kills by Katie Dennehy and the blue Hens took a 13-12 lead. Wallace signaled for timeout. Trying it up three more times, Santa Clara went up 17-15 on a three Knudsen kills. Santa Clara took the lead back on kills by Lommori and Durket, 20-19, and the Blue Hens called timeout. Tying it up at 20 and 21, the Blue Hens took the lead at 22-21 when SCU called timeout. The Blue Hens scored three of the next five points to win set two 25-23. Santa Clara hit .222 with 17 kills and Delaware hit .244 with 15 kills. Knudsen and Durket collected five kills each.
In set three the two teams tied it up twice and then Delaware took over. Santa Clara battled back to tie it up at 17, 18 and 21. Delaware scored four of the next five points to win set three 25-22. Santa Clara hit .035 with 12 kills and 10 errors in 57 attempts. Delaware hit .122 with 13 kills.
In set four, they tied it up three times when Santa Clara went on a 5-0 run to take a 10-5 lead on with two Lommori aces, a Durket kill and two Blue Hen hitting errors. Delaware whistled for a break. Santa Clara went up 17-9 and then 19-11 on back-to-back kills by Lommori and Durket. A kill by Knudsen made it 24-18 and then one a couple points later by Lommori gave the Broncos a 25-20 set four win. Santa Clara .293 with 17 kills and five errors in 41 attempts. Delaware hit .250 with 13 kills and three errors.
After two ties, Delaware went up 10-5 in the fifth set before Santa Clara called timeout. Three straight Bronco kills and Santa Clara pulled within three, 13-10 Delaware. Back-to-back kills by Katie Dennehy gave the Blue Hens the set and the match, 15-10. Santa Clara hit .296 with nine kills. Delaware hit .400 with 11 kills.