Volleyball Caps UC Davis Invitational with Sweep of Host Aggies

Santa Clara has recorded three sweeps in four matches for the first time since 2015.
Santa Clara has recorded three sweeps in four matches for the first time since 2015.

DAVIS, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball continued its recent stretch of strong performances with its third sweep victory in four matches on Saturday afternoon. The Broncos defeated UC Davis 25-17, 25-17, 25-22 in the final match of the UC Davis Invitational at The Pavilion.

SCU finished in second place in the four-team event, which Boise State won on a head-to-head tiebreaker over Santa Clara. Hailey Lindberg and Michelle Gajdka were named to the all-tournament team for their performances over three matches. Lindberg hit .378 with 21 kills and 10 blocks while Gajdka had a team-high 29 kills and 26 digs.

Three Broncos finished Saturday's action with double-digit kills: Gajdka (match-high 13), Lindberg (11) and Jensen Cunningham (10). Gajdka also had 14 digs for a double-double and Kirsten Mead logged one of her own with 33 assists and a season-high 15 digs. The Broncos (5-4) matched a season-best mark with 12.0 team blocks and Taylor Odom turned in her top defensive performance of the year with 8.0 blocks.

Mahalia White led the Aggies (5-5) with eight kills. Malia Bolko had a match-high 23 digs for the tournament hosts.

Santa Clara opened the match with a wire-to-wire first set win. Gajdka had six kills in the first stanza, which the Broncos controlled with an early 5-2 edge and finished by winning five points in a row. Odom registered a block on three straight points during the latter run before Gajdka clinched the set with a kill.

The Broncos trailed for all of one point in the match, when the Aggies took a 1-0 lead in the second set. Santa Clara quickly responded with a 5-0 run that included a block and a kill from Lindberg. Once more, the Broncos closed the set on a strong spree by winning nine of the last 11 points.

The two sides were tied up six times through 10-10 in a close start to the third set. The Broncos won the next three points and remained ahead the rest of the way. Cunningham had five kills in the set, including a clutch late effort to put Santa Clara on match point at 24-22 after UC Davis won three points in a row. 


Santa Clara plays its first home matches of the season next week as part of the Santa Clara/San José State Invitational next week. The Broncos host Idaho Friday at 11 a.m., followed by No. 7 Kansas at 7 p.m. They play a road match at San José State Saturday at 7 p.m.


• The Broncos last recorded sweeps in three of four matches from Nov. 12-19, 2015, when they swept San Francisco, LMU and Pepperdine in three consecutive home contests.

• Lindberg earned her third career all-tournament team selection, while Gajdka earned her first such honor. Lindberg was named to the all-tournament team at the Active Ankle Challenge and Cal Classic in 2016.

• Santa Clara is 4-1 all-time against UC Davis.

Taylor Laugero, who led the team with 471 digs last season, has not played through nine matches this year due to injury.


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