Santa Clara volleyball plays its final two home matches this weekend. It hosts Gonzaga on Thurs., Nov. 4 at 7 pm and then Portland on Senior Day on Sat., Nov. 6 at 1 pm. Santa Clara will be celebrating four seniors on their day: Emily Burke, Alex Scoffone, Krista Kelley and Morgan Doherty. Scoffone has been unable to play the last two seasons and Kelley didn't play this year, both due to injury.
Bronco head coach Jon Wallace reflected on all four seniors on Wednesday.
"We want to thank Alex for her time and effort after she was injured and couldn't play anymore. She has added to our program as well as this athletic department with her efforts. And that's a real positive for our program."
"Morgan's story at Santa Clara is a really special one. She started playing on our club team here and wanted more. She wanted to challenge herself and play at Santa Clara. She tried out and made the team; and stuck with it, grinded it out and proved herself worthy to be on this team. She has proven she can contribute to our program. She has created some playing time with us this year as a DS and is a big asset to our team and program."
"She is one of the best volleyball players we have ever recruited here. She proved that her freshman year when she was named the WCC Freshman of the Year and helped lead us to a conference title. I believe with a healthy Krista we might have had two-three more titles. She is that great of a competitor. She is able to get her job done on the court as well as helping the other women get better. I will always remember Krista as being a warrior. She played hard, fought hard and wanted to win. She loved being in the big moment."
"Emily is an athlete that is easy to love. She plays hard and practices hard every day. Her main goal is to win. She wants to beat her opponent no matter what she is competing in. To have that as a head coach is pretty special. She has put herself on the line physically, mentally and emotionally every day. This year she has played through an injury, but she keeps going and plays hard. What I love about Emily is that she loves to compete and she loves playing volleyball."
Santa Clara enters the weekend at 12-11 and 3-6 in the WCC. Gonzaga enters the weekend at 2-23 and 0-9 in the WCC. Portland enters the weekend at 9-16 and 2-7 in the WCC. Portland's WCC wins are 3-2 wins vs. Gonzaga and USF.
The Broncos defeated both Gonzaga and Portland earlier this season on the road. The Broncos won 3-0 at Portland on Oct. 7, finishing off the Pilots with set scores of 27-25, 25-18 and 25-20. The Broncos then defeated Gonzaga on Oct. 9 in Spokane, 3-1, with set scores of 24-26, 25-17, 25-22 and 25-21.
In his 12th year at the helm, Bronco head coach Jon Wallace is 22-1 vs. Portland and 22-1 vs. Gonzaga. Santa Clara is 40-7 vs. Gonzaga all-time and 42-8 vs. Portland. Santa Clara's first meeting with Portland was a 3-0 loss on Oct. 5, 1979 at the Cal Tournament. Its first meeting with Gonzaga was a 3-0 victory in the two team's first meeting in the West Coast Conference. Santa Clara swept the season series that year, the Zags first year of playing volleyball in the WCC.
"We are trying to stay together this week," said Wallace. "We had a great meeting today with the team. We reset our goals this year with these last five matches. We are competed to playing hard, to playing together and determined to make a difference in the conference standings and that will give us value at the end of the year. Our goal is to play hard, play together and make life miserable for the teams we are playing."
Santa Clara is led by sophomore Dana Knudsen and junior Tanya Schmidt. Knudsen is hitting .337 with 2.86 kpg and 0.91 bpg, the team leader. Schmidt is close behind in hitting percentage, hitting .315 with 2.11 kpg and .071 bpg, good for second on the team.
Sophomores Kayla Lommori and Kaleigh Durket lead the team in kills per game this season as well. Durket leads the Broncos with 3.38 kpg and 1.92 dpg. Lommori collects 3.11 kpg, second on the team, with 1.95 dpg.
Senior setter Emily Burke collects 9.72 apg with 2.37 dpg. Junior libero Bridget O'Hara leads the team with 4.53 dpg.
Santa Clara has three WCC matches left on its schedule after this week. Looking forward to next week, Santa Clara plays at No. 18 San Diego on Nov. 11 at 7 pm and then at Saint Mary's on Nov. 13 at 7 pm. USF is in first place and Saint Mary's is in second place of the WCC. The Broncos final match of the year is a Nov. 19 match-up with USF at 7 pm.
Last weekend Santa Clara lost two on its Southern California road-swing when it fell 3-0 at Pepperdine on Oct. 28 and 3-1 at LMU on Oct. 30.