SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara beach volleyball heads to Tucson, Arizona during the back end of spring break for the Wildcat Spring Challenge. The Broncos face No. 13 Grand Canyon and No. 8 Arizona on Friday, then finish up play against New Mexico on Saturday at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts.
"We're excited to match up against three quality teams in Arizona," head coach Jon Wallace said. "Now that the girls have finished up finals and it's spring break, we're approaching this competition as preparation for the WCC Championship."
Prior to this weekend's tilts, the Broncos will have gone 22 days without a match after playing five times in the first five days of the season. Santa Clara battled in a close contest and fell 3-2 against Sacramento State in its home-opener match on March 8.
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Santa Clara's best success has come at the No. 2 and No. 5 positions. Kirsten Mead/Jensen Cunningham are 2-2 in duals and 5-5 in sets at the second spot; the Broncos were without Cunningham against the Hornets due to injury. Michelle Gajdka/Tatiana San Juan have won two duals and four sets on the season. Nikki Hess has played all five matches at the No. 1 spot.
Hess, Cunningham and Callie Jones return to their home state for Santa Clara's only competition outside of California this season.
"This tournament is a great chance for Nikki, Jensen and Callie to go back to their home state and play in front of their fans," Wallace said.
THE ANTEPLOES (Click here for team site)
Grand Canyon enters the weekend with a 12-3 overall record. The Antelopes have won four straight matches and six of their last seven overall. They are 18-2 in their last 20 duals. GCU's top pairing of Molly Turner/Tjasa Katnik has won eight straight sets.
THE WILDCATS (Click here for team site)
Host Arizona is 7-6 in the 2017 season. The Wildcats have only suffered defeats against teams currently ranked No. 8 or higher in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Twin sisters McKenna Witt/Madison Witt are 4-0 in their last four sets at the No. 1 position.
THE LOBOS (Click here for team site)
New Mexico split six matches during its last competition March 17-18 at the Stetson Beach Invitational and is 6-8 on the year. Lise Rugland/Devanne Sours and Eastyn Baleto/Marisa Doran are each 10-4 in duals.