SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara beach volleyball wraps up its regular season by taking a trip to Arizona to play five duals in three days. The Broncos take on New Mexico, No. 13 Arizona and NAIA Ottawa at the Wildcat Spring Challenge Friday and Saturday (Tucson, Arizona/Bear Down Beach) before facing No. 15 Grand Canyon on Sunday (Phoenix/GCU Beach Volleyball Stadium).
The Broncos are coming off of two home duals, 4-1 defeats against No. 18 Saint Mary's and San José State. Chloe Loreen/Alex Anthony won in three sets against the Gaels and straight sets against the Spartans; they own a team-best five match wins as a pair.
vs. New Mexico – Friday @ noon
at Arizona – Friday @ 5:30 p.m.
vs. Ottawa – Saturday @ 9 a.m.
at Arizona – Saturday at 1 p.m.
at Grand Canyon – Sunday @ 11 a.m.
"We're going to play ranked teams again in Arizona and Grand Canyon, which is fantastic experience for us," associate head coach Jeff Alzina said. "Ottawa and New Mexico have put together strong seasons as well so we'll see some great competition. We have not had a lot of chances to play this many in a row. It will be a great test of our physical and mental endurance to keep making adjustments and keep resetting for quick turnarounds.
"We had a big burst of improvement in our ability to prepare defensive schemes recently. It was hard to come in with no preseason as a coach and take student-athletes with limited beach background through skills, offense, defense and team chemistry. Defensive schemes were put on the back burner early, but now we've put a few days wholeheartedly into them and the team has shown a lot of improvement."
New Mexico is 8-12 on the year and has gone almost two weeks between competitions. The Lobos defeated Texas A&M – Kingsville and Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, both by scores of 3-2, on March 30. Lauren Twitty/Dali Rosado have won seven straight matches and are 16-4 on the season.
Arizona boasts an overall record of 17-4 and has won seven straight duals entering the weekend. Natalie Anselmo/Madison Rigdon are a perfect 13-0 between the No. 2 and No. 3 positions.
NAIA Ottawa is off to a hot start in the program's first season of beach volleyball. The team is 16-2 on the year, including a stretch of nine straight sweeps from March 15-April 3. Ottawa played its first duals against Division I competition on Saturday, falling 3-2 against Cal State Bakersfield and 5-0 against No. 13 Loyola Marymount. Each pair boasts a match record of 14-4 or better, led by top tandem Andrea Gonzalez/Viri Serrano at 16-2.
Grand Canyon brings a three-dual winning streak into the weekend as well as victories in five of its last six contests. Hannah Towne/Katie Hess have won all five of their matches in the month of April.
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