In its first match of the La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational at Utah Valley State, Santa Clara defeated rival Cal Poly 3-1. Santa Clara is now 4-1 this season and Cal Poly falls to 3-2, with a win at WCC rival Saint Mary's Tuesday. Set scores were 25-22, 25-23, 20-25 and 25-22.
Santa Clara will continue the tournament on Sat., Sept. 4 with matches vs. No. 24 Michigan (3-0) at 9 am and Utah Valley State (2-1) at 6 pm.
"We took a step in the right direction today to be a competitive team throughout the entire match. We battled at the right times. We still have things to learn. I was proud of our effort and we handled the pressure well. Cal Poly put us on our heels in the third game, coming out with great emotion. This is a really good start for us, learning how to grab a victory and fighting to win a match," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. " Taylor Milton came alive for us in the match. She had 11 kills and eight or nine of them were spectacular. Both setters did a really good job of following the open hitters and following the scouting report. Kayla Lommori played really well and showed a lot of maturity. We didn't do a good job of setting Dana Knudsen enough, we should have set her more with her hitting .667 tonight. "
"We will just have to play real solid vs. Michigan. They are a big team and our girls will have to believe and compete hard for it," said Wallace. "I am really happy with the step we are taking. We are growing and getting better each week. I hope we continue to improve and grow."
Santa Clara hit .272 with 61 kills (18 e, 158 att.). The Broncos added 64 digs, 58 assists, five service aces and eight team blocks. Cal Poly hit .208 with 58 kills (26 e, 154 att.). The Mustangs added 62 digs, 55 assists, five aces and 8.5 team blocks.
Individually, Santa Clara had three hitters with double-digit kills. WCC Player of the Week Dana Knudsen hit a sparkling .667 with nine kills (1 e, 12 att.) and one block assist. Kayla Lommori led the Bronco attack with 14 kills, hitting .333 with 12 digs and two block assists and a block solo. Freshman Taylor Milton stepped up her play to hit .455 with 11 kills (1 e, 22 att.). Kaleigh Durket scored 13 kills (6 e, 29 att.), hitting .241. Alyssa Anderson had 24 assists and 10 digs and Alexandra Palmer had 19 assists and 15 digs. Bridget O'Hara scooped up 15 digs.
Cal Poly was led by Kristina Graven who added 18 kills, hitting .341 with 12 digs. Jennifer Geddy added 14 kills, hitting .393 with three digs.
Santa Clara won the first set 25-22. The first set was neck-in-neck play with the teams knotting it up 10 times. The Broncos only trailed twice early by two points and would go up 19-16 before Cal Poly tied it up 19-19. SCU went up 22-20 on an error by the Mustangs and a kill by Schmidt. The Broncos took a 24-20 lead on a kill by Durket and after a Bronco service error and a Cal Poly kill, Lommori knocked down the deciding point of the set to the back row for a kill. Santa Clara hit .390 with 19 kills and Cal Poly hit .171 with 12 kills. Kaleigh Durket led the Bronco attack with four kills.
The Mustangs won set three 25-20. They jumped out to an early 10-3 lead on six straight points, including five kills and a block. Lommori's kill quieted the Mustang rally for a minute, but SCU fell back 12-6 to Cal Poly. Cal Poly went up 18-13 and then 20-16. The Mustangs won the set on a kill by Jennifer Keddy. Santa Clara hit .156 with 12 kills and Cal Poly hit .279 with 18 kills.