SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball wraps up a two-match road trip to Southern California on Saturday afternoon. The Broncos face Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse in a West Coast Conference tilt. First serve is set for noon.
The Broncos (8-11, 1-6 WCC) dropped a five-set match to Loyola Marymount 25-17, 25-27, 13-25, 25-23, 15-12 on Thursday night at Gersten Pavilion. The Broncos stormed out of the gates in the deciding set against the Lions by building an 8-3 lead before the hosts closed the frame on a 12-4 run to take the match.
The Waves (12-8, 4-3) swept away San Francisco 25-19, 25-23, 25-16 on Thursday night at Firestone Fieldhouse. Pepperdine never trailed in the first and second sets; the Waves fell behind early in the fourth set before taking a 5-4 lead and holding the edge the rest of the way. The team is 7-2 at home this season — including a 3-0 mark in conference — and has won four straight matches in Firestone Fieldhouse overall.
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Jensen Cunningham hit .483 with 16 kills and a season-high 10 total blocks for the Broncos on Thursday night. The senior middle blocker has double-digit kills in four straight matches and 14 of 19 contests. She has hit .444 or better seven times in 2017.
Chloe Loreen posted the third double-double of her freshman season with 14 kills and 13 digs against Pepperdine. The freshman outside hitter missed three of Santa Clara's prior four matches due to injury; she played in four of five sets against Portland on Sept. 30.
Kirsten Mead totaled 52 assists versus the Waves to top the 50-assist mark for the third time in four matches. She set the Broncos to solid hitting percentages in the second (.354), third (.348) and fifth (.368) frames. The senior setter ranks second in the WCC in aces (24), assists/set (10.48) and total assists (744).
The Palo Alto, California native Mead is second all-time in career assists among Broncos that spent their entire careers in the rally-scoring era. She has 3,767 career assists, and needs 109 more to pass Julie Jamile (1987-90) and move into fifth-place all-time for SCU.
Michelle Gajdka has served effectively in a six-rotation role for the Broncos all season. The sophomore outside hitter leads the team in kills/set (3.26) and kills (228) while ranking third on the Broncos with 171 digs.
Taylor Odom leads the Broncos and ranks sixth in the WCC with 69 total blocks. The redshirt sophomore middle blocker has multiple blocks in 12 straight matches and three-plus blocks in 11 of those 12 contests.
2017 Record: 12-8 (7-2 Home) | SCU All-Time vs. PEP: 31-40 | First Meeting: 1982
2016: 10/15 Santa Clara Won 3-1 in Santa Clara | 11/10 Pepperdine Won 3-1 in Malibu | Last SCU Win in Malibu: 10/15/15 3-0
Santa Clara has won three of the last four matches in the series.
Pepperdine has scored WCC wins over Loyola Marymount, Pacific, Saint Mary's and San Francisco. The Waves have dropped conference matches against BYU, Gonzaga and Portland. As a team, Pepperdine ranks in the WCC's top three in every major statistical category. The Waves are top 20 in the NCAA in total blocks (200 – 12th), assists (1,001 – 13th) and kills (1,054 – 16th).
Individually, Jasmine Gross leads the WCC in total blocks (110, fourth in NCAA) and blocks/set (1.45, 22nd in NCAA). She and Hannah Frohling combine to rank in the WCC's top five of 13 major statistical categories. Frohling is second in the conference with 24 aces and third with 274 kills.
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