Volleyball Returns Home to Host Gonzaga Thursday and Portland Saturday
Santa Clara returns home to host three of its last four matches this season. Santa Clara will host Gonzaga on Thurs., Nov. 10 at 6 pm and then Portland on Sat., Nov. 12 at 1 pm. It will travel to San Diego on Thurs., Nov. 17 for a 6 pm match before returning home for Senior Day, its final match of the season, vs. Saint Mary's at 1 pm Sat., Nov. 19.
Santa Clara is 9-14 and 4-8 in West Coast Conference. Gonzaga is 7-17 and 1-12 in the WCC. Portland is 8-18 and 2-11 in the WCC.
In overall matches Santa Clara is third in assists with 12.92 apg, third in kills with 13.61 dpg, and fifth in hitting at .210. In league play the Broncos are fifth in digs (14.00), assists (12.28 apg), and kills (12.93 kpg).
Despite a win Oct. 22 at home against USF, Santa Clara has lost three in a row and seven out of nine matches. The team has been unable to sustain their momentum this season as they have four two-game win streaks but zero streaks of three of more victories. The Broncos have struggled in league play, posting a 4-8 record against WCC opponents versus a 5-6 mark against non-league teams.
In their previous match against LMU, the team fell in four sets. Kayla Lommori led the Santa Clara offense, posting 13 kills on 28 attacks for a .321 percentage. Alyssa Anderson set the offense to a .170 clip, passing-out 43 assists with two kills. Lexi Williamson and Bridget O'Hara each had a pair of aces as Santa Clara finished with five.
Dana Knudsen has been terrific this season as she is fifth in the league hitting .345, second on the team in blocks and third in kills. She has also been named WCC Player of the Week twice. Katherine Douglas is first in kills (2.98), second in digs (2.19) and third in service aces (0.13). Anderson averages 7.96 apg and leads the team with 0.19 sapg. O'Hara is sixth in the league with 3.95 dpg. Lommori has also played well filling in for the injured Tanya Schmidt. Both Schmidt and setter Alexandra Palmer are most likely lost for the season with ankle injuries.
Gonzaga will travel to San Francisco on Thurs., Nov 10 prior to playing at Santa Clara Saturday. Santa Clara is 42-7 vs. Gonzaga with the series dating back to 1987. Last season it swept the Zags, winning 3-1 both at home and on the road. It defeated the Zags 3-1 earlier this season in Spokane. Its only loss to Gonzaga in the 48-match history was on a 3-2 defeat in Santa Clara on Oct. 17, 2009.
After a strong 6-4 start Gonzaga's season has unraveled. The Bulldogs have lost six matches in a row, 13 of their last 14 overall, and they find themselves in the WCC cellar. On the Zags senior day vs. Saint Mary's the team was swept (25-15, 25-12, 26-24). Kylie Edinger had seven kills and recorded three blocks for the Bulldogs. Meredith Crenshaw added five kills and three block assists. Crenshaw has been one of the bright spots for the Bulldogs. The sophomore MB is second in hitting (2.15), third in kills (.225), and is sixth in the league in blocks (1.16 bpg). Senior Laura Day has been a team leader and is ninth in the league in digs with 3.41 dpg. Denise Van de Mortel is the team leader in hitting and assists and places third in blocks. Gonzaga is fifth in the league in blocks with 2.43 bpg.
Santa Clara is 44-8 all-time vs. Portland with the series dating back to 1979, including a 3-0 win at Portland and a 3-1 win in Santa Clara last season. Santa Clara won 3-1 at Portland earlier this season. Bronco head coach Jon Wallace is 24-1 vs. the Pilots with the only loss coming on Nov. 14, 2009 at Portland (3-0).
Portland's season began 6-7 but it has taken a wrong turn since WCC play began. The Pilots have dropped four consecutive matches and 11 of their last 13. One of the season highlights for Portland was a 3-2 upset at home over USF on Oct. 1st. Most recently the Pilots fell in three sets to USD, with Kati Hronek posting a match-high 11 kills on a .529 attacking percentage. Freshman setter Monica Jordan has been a strong contributor all season and she recorded 20 assists, eight digs and four kills in the match. Seniors Hronek and Marissa Plummer were recognized for their achievements as Pilots. Plummer has been a mainstay in the Pilots line-up since earning WCC All-Freshman Team honors. At Portland she has accumulated 301 career block assists, the third most in school history, and 367 total blocks, the fourth most in school history.