Sweeping an undefeated Kansas State team at Cal on Thursday night, Santa Clara won 3-0 behind the double-digit kill efforts of Sabrina Clayton (16), Haley Cameron (11) and Nikki Hess (10). Set scores were 25-18, 25-17 and 25-17. Santa Clara is now 4-3 and KSU is 6-1.
Santa Clara plays at No. 23 Cal Friday night at 7 pm before returning home on Saturday to host Cal Poly in its home opener at 2 pm.
"We came out with tremendous energy tonight," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "We had great energy. We were really prepared for this match and really wanted it badly."
Santa Clara hit .248 with 52 kills (20 e, 129 att.). The Broncos collected 49 assists, six service aces, six service errors, 56 digs and four team blocks. Big 12 Conference member Kansas State hit .115 with 24 kills (13 e, 96 att.). The Wildcats collected 23 assists, one ace, two service errors, 44 digs and nine team blocks.
Wallace said the team is committed to getting better every time out and it shows. "Following our weekend in Hawaii we learned a lot of lessons and were excited to see how much better they got in a week," added Wallace. "Our group is concerned with playing hard and improving every time out."
Cameron led the Broncos in hitting, scoring a .455 with 11 kills (1 e, 22 att.). Clayton continued her fine play with 16 kills, five digs and two block assists. Nikki Hess hit .304 to collect 10 kills and 14 digs. Alyssa Anderson had 39 assists, an ace and 11 digs. Danielle Rottman had six assists and 12 digs.
"Haley played solid volleyball with a lot of good energy," said Wallace. "She was able to score a lot for us. She was open on the three for us and she was really good for us all night."
K State was led by Kaitlynn Peiger, who hit .333 with seven kills and 11 digs.
"Santa Clara is a very high octane offense," said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz, "and to play with them, you have to match them, which we simply did not do. We didn't manage their speed very well."
Santa Clara opened the match with a 6-2 lead, benefitted by .625 hitting percentage on its opening swings. K-State trailed as much as 12-4, but the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run. Three straight attack errors by Santa Clara closed out the run and made it 12-10 Broncos. The two sides traded points to make it 14-12 Santa Clara, but the Broncos finished the set with an 11-6 advantage. Santa Clara hit .238 in the first set and K-State hit at .053 percent.
"I don't think anybody goes into the match thinking, 'We want to start slowly,'" said Fritz. "Volleyball is such a game of momentum, that if you don't get enough momentum shifts in there, then it is tough. It feels like it is getting away from you. [Santa Clara] started by firing on all cylinders, and it took us a game-and-a-half to get going."
The Broncos started off hot again in the second set, taking a 9-8 lead. SCU went up 13-8 before KSU whistled for time. Santa Clara scored five of the final six points to close out the set. SCU hit .255 in the second set and K State .121.
The Broncos continued to run ahead in the third set, leading the entire way. SCU went up 7-3 and went ahead 16-11 before the Broncos ran off a 4-0 points sprint to go up 20-11. After a KSU 4-0 run, SCU closed out the match with a 25-17 win. SCU hit .250 and K State hit .200.