Beach Volleyball Drops Close Home Opener 3-2 to Sacramento State

Michelle Gajdka (middle), pictured here playing in an exhibition dual, combined with Tatiana San Juan for their second sweep in three duals Wednesday afternoon.
Michelle Gajdka (middle), pictured here playing in an exhibition dual, combined with Tatiana San Juan for their second sweep in three duals Wednesday afternoon.

LOS GATOS, Calif. — Santa Clara beach volleyball started its home-opening match on the right foot by winning the day's first two duals Wednesday afternoon against Sacramento State at Los Gatos High School. Facing a trio of must-win tilts, the Hornets rallied to take the final three frames and win the match 3-2.

"Our approach right now is based around building a relationship with your partner and understanding how to play together," head coach Jon Wallace said. "The adversity of this game is challenging us to do that. I know it's tough for the girls, but we as coaches love it because it gives them a great opportunity to grow as people and volleyball players." 

Michelle Gajdka/Tatiana San Juan made it two straight match days with a dual victory by sweeping Lana Brown/Paige Swinney 22-20, 21-16 to open the day. Santa Clara's No. 4 team has won two of its last three contests.

The Broncos (0-5) were without Jensen Cunningham and Ngozi Nwabuzoh due to injury, and switched up the lineup to field three new pairings compared to opening weekend. One of the new pairings, Allison Kantor/Erin Reineking, put the hosts up 2-0 by outlasting Kennedy Kurtz/Sarah Davis 27-25, 15-21, 15-12 at the No. 3 position. Kantor and Reineking each earned their first dual win as Broncos in the victory. 

"The harder this game is for them, the more they have to dig down and compete," Wallace said. "I felt that Michelle and Tatiana figured some things out today and did a nice job. I also liked how Allie and Erin had to battle and win a match in three sets; I'm very proud of them."

The Hornets (1-0) won at No. 5 and No. 2 to make the fifth and final tilt the match-deciding dual between No. 1s. After forcing a deciding third set, Nikki Hess/Kirsten Mead fell behind early against Madeline Cannon/Morgan Stanley, and pulled within a point but could not complete the comeback. Sacramento State clinched the match with a 15-13 final stanza.


No. 1 - Madeline Cannon/Morgan Stanley (CSUS) def. Nikki Hess/Kirsten Mead (SCU); 21-14, 12-21, 15-13

No. 2 - Shannon Boyle/Lexie Skalback (CSUS) def. Taylor Laugero/Hailey Lindberg (SCU); 21-4, 21-10

No. 3 - Allison Kantor/Erin Reineking (SCU) def. Kennedy Kurtz/Sarah Davis (CSUS); 27-25, 15-21, 15-12

No. 4 - Michelle Gajdka/Tatiana San Juan (SCU) def. Lana Brown/Paige Swinney (CSUS); 22-20, 21-16

No. 5 - Skyler Takeda/Brie Gathright (CSUS) def. Laura Willems/Callie Jones (SCU); 21-18, 21-13

Ex. - Allison Kantor/Michelle Gajdka (SCU) def. Courtney Dietrich/Hannah Meadows (CSUS); 17-21, 21-16, 15-12

Order of Finish: 4-3-5-2-1 


The Broncos have a little more than three weeks off from competition before heading to Tucson, Arizona to compete in the Wildcat Spring Challenge. They'll take to the sand against Grand Canyon and Arizona on March 31 and finish up the competition against New Mexico on April 1.


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