Volleyball

Volleyball Heads to Hilltop for Friday Showdown at San Francisco

Santa Clara has won three straight matches and five of its last seven overall.
Santa Clara has won three straight matches and five of its last seven overall.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball looks to build on a three-match winning streak in its lone match of the week on Friday night, a West Coast Conference road contest at San Francisco. The Broncos and Dons meet for a 7 p.m. first serve in Sobrato Center. 

The Broncos have won five of their last seven matches overall. Last week, they swept Portland on Thursday night and took down third-place Gonzaga in five sets on Saturday afternoon as part of a Northwest road trip. Kirsten Mead logged her 4,000th career assist in the fourth set of the team's victory over the Bulldogs.

The Dons made the same road trip, falling in three sets on Thursday at Gonzaga and four sets on Saturday at Portland. They are winless in their last 16 matches; the team's last victory was on Sept. 9 against Fresno State.

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THE MATCHUP

• Santa Clara: 12-12/5-7 WCC/6-5 Away | San Francisco: 3-22/0-12 WCC/3-8 Home

• SCU All-Time vs. Dons: 66-13 | First Meeting: 1975

2017: 10/6 @SCU Santa Clara Won 3-0

• 2016: 10/7 @USF Santa Clara Won 3-0 | 11/4 @SCU Santa Clara Won 3-0

• Santa Clara has won six in a row in the series, all by way of the sweep.

THE BRONCOS

Santa Clara is the only WCC team other than No. 10 BYU and No. 13 San Diego to beat Gonzaga this season. The Broncos handed the Bulldogs just their second loss in nine home matches on the year.

Mead ranks fifth all-time on the Broncos with 4,013 career assists, which is good for second in the rally-scoring era. She leads the WCC with 989 assists and ranks second in the conference with 10.65 assists/set. The Palo Alto, Calif. native needs 11 more assists to hit the 1,000 mark for the third time in four seasons.

Allison Kantor tied for the match lead with 17 kills for the Broncos on Saturday added a career-best 13 digs for her second double-double as a Bronco. Kantor has five matches with 11-plus kills on the year. She has started seven of the team's last 10 tilts after making two starts in the team's first 14 contests.

Jensen Cunningham (15 kills), Hailey Lindberg (12 kills on .393 hitting) and Michelle Gajdka (12 kills) played big roles to help Santa Clara down Gonzaga. Santa Clara leaned on a balanced attack that featured four players wth seven-plus kills against Portland. Kantor and Lindberg tied for the team lead with nine kills apiece; Gajdka (eight kills) and Cunningham (seven) also contributed to the SCU offense.

Gajdka (289 kills) and Cunningham (284) have spearheaded the SCU offense throughout the season. Gajdka has double-digit kills in 15 matches on the year and Cunningham has 10-plus kills 16 times. Cunningham also has 15-plus kills six times in the last nine matches and is fourth in the conference with a .351 hitting percentage.

THE DONS

Erica Ronda leads the team with 253 kills on the season. She takes more than 30 percent of San Francisco's swings (928 of USF's 3,000 total attempts on the year). Laura Leap has logged 25 block solos on the year and the Dons are plus-20 in that category for the season (59-39). 

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GO BRONCOS!