Playing its second match five-set match in eight hours, Santa Clara fell 3-2 to North Carolina in the Aggie Invitational on Friday afternoon in Davis, Calif. Santa Clara moves to 5-1 and North Carolina, playing its first match in the tournament after watching SCU defeat Utah 3-2 in the morning match, is now 3-1.
The set scores were 25-14, 25-13, 23-25, 25-20 and 10-15. Santa Clara plays host-UC Davis Saturday at 11 am.
"The team showed a lot of fight and a real back-bone today to coming from a 2-0 deficiet. We stayed the course and we grinded away. We turned the tide a little bit in the third and fourth sets," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "We ran out of gas a little bit in the fifth set. We are down to a few subs with Lacey Maas out and a bad ankle."
Wallace was impressed with North Carolina. "They are really good," said Wallace. "We were able to get them off their game a little bit and it worked. In games three and four we didn't panic. We made one small line-up adjustment with Kayla and Lexi and it kind of countered UNC's attack. It worked out well. We started serving tougher and passing better; and that helped us a lot in the last three games as well."
Wallace said two five-set matches in a few hours was enough for the team today. "We have to bring it tomorrow because Davis will be ready. It's going to be tough because we are tired," added Wallace. "Matt and Aaron are doing a great job for us on the bench. They are really good coaches."
Kayla Lommori collected 13 kills (6 e, 35 att.). Katherine Douglas had nine kills and 14 digs. Megan Anders also had nine kills. Alyssa Anderson had 24 assists, 13 digs and three aces. Chelsea Heier had 17 assists and 10 digs. Taylor Milton had seven kills and 14 digs. Katy Schatzman had 12 digs.
UNC was led by Kayla Berringer's 15 kills followed by Chaniel Nelson's 14. Ece Taner had 23 digs and setter Cora Harms had 36 assists. Paige Neuenfeldt scored one block solo and 11 block assists.
In the first set, Santa Clara started off on a 5-1 run before the Heels tied it up at 7, 8 and 9. The teams traded points before the Tarheels went on a 9-1 run to take a 20-11 lead. A kill by Nelson and an error by Anders ended the set. The Broncos hit -.065 (8 kills, 10 errors, 31 attempts) with Cameron collecting three kills. UNC hit .250 (9 kills, 2 errors, 28 attempts) with Chaniel Nelson scoring on four kills and Kayla Berringer also collecting four.
In game two Santa Clara took a 4-0 lead and then UNC went on a run to go up 10-6. The team's traded points to make it 11-7. Santa Clara pulled within three on a kill to make it 13-10. The Tarheels went on a 12-3 run to win game two 25-13. Santa Clara hit -.054 with nine kills (11 e, 37 att.). UNC hit .258 with 11 kills (3 e, 31 att.).
In game three UNC jumped out to a 7-2 early lead. Lexi Williamson's kill started a 10-5 run by the Broncos to tie it up 12-12. Moving forward, a kill by Douglas made it 20-17 Broncos. A kill by Milton made it 24-20 SCU. A Bronco error and a UNC kill and UNC whistled for time, trailing 24-22. After a kill by Nelson made it a one-point Bronco lead, 24-23, a ball handling error was called on the Tarheel setter and it was a 25-23 Bronco victory in game three. Santa Clara hit .205 with 14 kills (5 e, 44 att.). UNC hit .265 with 13 kills (4 e, 34 att.).
The teams were tied seven times before the Broncos took a 16-12 lead on a team block by Williamson and Cameron and a kill by Cameron. The teams traded points with SCU taking an 18-12 lead. A Bronco service error followed a Tarheel ace, but a couple Cameron's kill made it 19-13 Broncos. SCU went up 21-14 on an attack error by McGee but scored two straight points. SCU collected a team block by Williamson and Cameron to take a 22-16 lead. A UNC kill and a Bronco error made it 22-18 Broncos. Wallace whistled for time. Another McGee kill made it 22-19 Broncos. Cameron stopped the 5-4 run with a kill from the middle and a Nelson error pushed it to 24-19 Broncos. The Tarheels scored again with a team block. Anders stepped up big in the middle to crush the ball and give the Broncos a 25-20 fourth set win. Santa Clara hit .163 with 14 kills (7 e, 43 att.) in set four. North Carolina .057 with 9 kills (7 e, 35 att.).
The Broncos jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the deciding set on kills by Lommori and Taylor and an error by UNC. Three straight Tarheel kills made it 4-3. The Tarheels won three of the next four points to go up 7-4. Timeout Santa Clara. Anders smacked the ball down to the back row to stop the UNC run, but UNC scored on two errors to go up 9-5. An error by Nelson and a kill by Cameron pulled SCU within two, 9-7 UNC. Timeout Tarheels. Milton's service error and a block solo by Tia Gaffen made it 11-7 Tarheels. Douglas' kill followed two points by the Tarheels. UNC went up 13-8. Timeout Santa Clara. The Broncos scored two more points before the Tarheels closed out the set 15-10 and the match on a kill by Heather Henry.