SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara beach volleyball starts off the 2018 season with a busy stretch that features five matches in three days, beginning Thursday afternoon at Cal for a 2 p.m. first serve. The Broncos then take on San Francisco and Pacific on Friday followed by Sacramento State and Saint Mary's on Saturday at the Stanford Bay Area Kickoff.
"It's a great opening weekend for us with five matches in three days against really good competition," head coach Jon Wallace said. "Teams like Cal have beach only players and that presents a great challenge to teams that don't so we'll get to see where we're at against different levels of competition. I'm excited to watch the girls play this weekend."
@ Cal | Thursday, March 1 | 2 p.m.
vs. San Francisco | Friday, March 2 | 9 a.m.
vs. Pacific | Friday, March 2 | Noon
vs. Sacramento State | Saturday, March 3 | 9 a.m.
vs. Saint Mary's | Saturday, March 3 | 3 p.m.
Santa Clara welcomes back eight players from last year's squad, including senior Kirsten Mead, who had the best record from a season ago at 7-7 in duals in 15-18 in sets at the No. 2 position. Mead will team up with Taylor Odom, who will play on the sand for the first time in three seasons with the Broncos. The team begins the season with the following pairs:
Kantor paired up with then-senior Nikki Hess 14 times at the No. 1 position last season. Lindberg spent most of the season at the No. 3 spot in 2017 and won two duals along with six sets. Gajdka and San Juan claimed four duals and 10 sets as the No. 4 pairing. Nwabuzoh and Reineking competed together in 12 duals at No. 5 for the Broncos.
Like Odom, McCreadie is in her third season with the program and will see game action for the first time this Spring. Gillingham, Powers, Reinert and Chloe Loreen also join the squad for their debut beach seasons.
"The girls have looked pretty good," Wallace said. "Looking at past years, we've had good top-level teams but I think this year one through six our teams are a lot stronger and more competitive. We're more advanced at this point than we were a year ago."
Cal: 1-1 in 2018 | 13-12 in 2017 (1-0 vs. SCU)
San Francisco: 0-0 in 2018 | 0-17 in 2017 (0-2 vs. SCU)
Pacific: 0-2 in 2018 | 4-10 in 2017 (1-1 vs. SCU)
Sacramento State: 0-0 in 2018 | 8-11 in 2017 (1-0 vs. SCU)
Saint Mary's: 2-0 in 2018 | 19-10 in 2017 (3-0 vs. SCU)