Down two sets to one with the Roadrunners serving match point twice, Santa Clara battled back down from 14-10 in the fifth set to defeat UT-San Antonio 3-2 early Saturday morning (match began at 7 am Pacific in Austin, Texas). It was Santa Clara's first five set match this season. Santa Clara holds a 4-1 career records vs. the Roadrunners. The Broncos are 4-6 and UTSA is 6-7.
"I thought we were ready. They knew the importance of the match. We talked earlier this week about how this match would be a really tough for us with it starting at 7 am Pacific after playing an emotional match against a top-10 team in Texas last night. They handled the start well and were prepared to play early," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "In the second game, UTSA came with a bit more energy than us, they put us on our heels and we lost our focus. They got in a good rhythm. We didn't give up though. We grinded through it to make key defensive plays and turned it around to win game four and game five. UTSA was up 14-10 in game five and we really played well to end the match with some stuff blocks. I was happy to see us put a big block at the end of the match.
"Tanya had a great morning. She hit for a high percentage (.462). Kaleigh also stepped up. Kaleigh and Tanya were our co-go-to hitters. They played great and carried us through our low spots. Megan helped us with her height and in game five she gave us some big blocks. Dana also came back in games four and five played well. It was honestly a total team effort and I am proud of the girls for fighting hard through the entire match. Now we go back to the hotel rest a bit and get ready for SMU in a couple hours."
Santa Clara hit .287 with 64 kills (18e, 160 att.). They collected 76 digs, 63 assists, 10 team blocks and seven aces. Texas-San Antonio hit .274 with 78 kills (26e, 190 att.). They collected 72 digs, 70 assists, 12 team blocks and five aces.
Santa Clara had four players in double-digit kills and was led by senior captain Tanya Schmidt. Schmidt hit .462 with 13 kills (1 e, 26 att.), a block solo and three block assists. Kaleigh Durket also shined; hitting .500 with a team-leading 15 kills (1 e, 28 att). She added 10 digs as well. Katherine Douglas collected 12 kills (6e, 32 att.) and Dana Knudsen scored 10 kills (4e, 22 att.) with a block solo and four block assists. Alyssa Anderson had 29 assists and nine digs. Alexandra Palmer had 26 assists and 12 digs. Taylor Milton added 11 digs and seven kills. Libero Bridget O'Hara had 20 digs and five assists.
Elise Huskey's 18 kills paced the Roadrunners. McKenzie Adams added 17, hitting .517. Whitney Walls collected 18, hitting .438 and Dempsey Thornton added 11. Kelsey Jewasko collected 24 digs and Thornton 17. Setter Kelsey Schwirtlich had 57 assists.
Santa Clara won the first set 25-17. The teams were tied three times early before the Broncos pulled away for good scoring three straight to go put 8-6. A kill by Knudsen put SCU up 16-11 and then 18-13 on another Knudsen kill. A team block by Schmidt and Milton and the Broncos led 21-15. A kill by Knudsen, then one by McKenzie Adams was followed by back-to-back Knudsen and Ander's kills to give the Broncos the game 25-17. Santa Clara hit .500 with 16 kills (1 e, 30 att.). UTSA hit .257 with 14 kills (5 e, 35 att.).
UTSA won the second set 25-18. UTSA went up 7-2 early. The Broncos got within four points, 10-6, UTSA, but the Roadrunners five of the next seven points to take a 15-8 lead. Douglas' kill to the back row quieted the Roadrunner attack. The Roadrunners scored four straight points when Santa Clara called timeout. The teams traded points. UTSA scored four more before Knudsen's kill in the middle. A kill by Dempsey Thorton was followed by two Bronco kills and a block solo by Schmidt, 24-18 UTSA. A team block by UTSA gave the Roadrunners the second set, 25-18. Santa Clara hit .206 with 12 kills (5 e, 34 att.). UTSA hit .421 with 18 kills (2 e, 38 att.).
UTSA won set three 25-23. Adams continued her fine play for the Roadrunners in set three, putting her team up 7-3 early. Down 15-9, 17-11 and 21-14, Santa Clara pulled within one point at 24-23 UTSA but Elise Huskey scored to give UTSA set three 25-23. Santa Clara hit .194 with 13 kills (6 e, 36 att.). UTSA hit .333 with 18 kills (2 e, 38 att.).
Santa Clara won set four 26-24. This set was a battle from the jump. The two were tied 15 times throughout. Milton's service error when tied 23-23 put UTSA up and serving for the match, but Anders and Knudsen teamed up for a block and O'Hara served up an ace at the perfect time, 25-24 Broncos. Timeout UTSA. Out of the timeout, Dempsey Thorton hit the ball out of bounds to give set four to the Broncos, 26-24. Santa Clara hit .293 with 17 kills (5 e, 41 att.). UTSA hit .255 with 17 kills (5 e, 47 att.).
Santa Clara won set five 16-14. Tied early at 2-2, UTSA went up 6-4 on a team block. Two Whitney Walls kills between a kill by Knudsen made it 10-6 Roadrunners. A kill by Douglas and a hitting error by Adams brought the Broncos within two, 12-10 UTSA. Two straight Elise Huskey kills made it 14-10 and the Roadrunners were set to serve for the match when Wallace whistled for time. Wise move. An attack error by Kelsey Schwirlich gave the Broncos the ball back and battle they did. A team block by Knudsen and Taylor and then a block solo by Anders and then Knudsen tied it up 14-14. Knudsen and Anders teamed up to block a Huskey attack, 15-14 Broncos. UTSA whistled for its second timeout in three points. Santa Clara came out of the timeout and O'Hara set Douglas for the set winner, 16-14 Broncos. Santa Clara hit .263 with 6 kills (1 e, 19 att.). UTSA hit .065 with 10 kills (8 e, 31 att.).