Volleyball Winning Streak Reaches Five, Downs Pepperdine in Four Sets

Volleyball Winning Streak Reaches Five, Downs Pepperdine in Four Sets

SANTA CLARA, Calif.Jensen Cunningham and Kirsten Mead led the offense while Taylor Laugero helped backbone the defense for Santa Clara volleyball, which knocked off Pepperdine 30-28, 25-20, 11-25, 25-22 in Thursday's West Coast Conference matchup.

Cunningham had a team-high 13 kills on a .385 attack percentage, Mead dished out 46 assists and Laugero had 28 of the 102 digs for the Broncos (14-12, 7-7) who won their fifth-straight outing.

Hannah Frohling had a match-best 19 kills, but had just a .103 attack percentage for the Waves (15-13, 7-8) who had won three of their last four. Hana Lishman had a match-high 32 digs and Frohling picked up a double-double with 15 digs of her own.

Allison Kantor (10 kills/19 digs) and Michelle Gajdka (12 kills/10 digs) each had double-doubles for Santa Clara, which was outhit by Pepperdine .139 to .097 in the match.

After dropping the first two frames, the Waves appeared to have taken back momentum with an easy third-set win, but the Broncos used their defense in the fourth set, compiling 33 digs, to fuel the offense.

Santa Clara scored the first five points of the fourth and raced out to a 21-13 lead before fending off a late challenge. The Waves closed to 24-22 on an attack error, but Cunningham closed out the match with a kill.

The Broncos outlasted Pepperdine in the opening frame, which featured five set points. Lindberg led the way with seven kills.

Santa Clara posted its second-highest dig total of the season, registering 107 in the season's first meeting with Pepperdine (Oct. 14), though that went five sets with the Waves prevailing.

The Broncos were aided by long runs in each of the first two sets. They trailed 13-9 in the opening frame before ripping off nine straight points. Down 9-4 in the second, Santa Clara scored seven in a row to claim the lead it never relinquished. Pepperdine returned the favor in the third set, which was tied at 4-all until the Waves scored seven consecutive points and 11 of 12 to take a 15-5 lead.

• The opening set was the highest scoring, and longest, of the season for the Broncos. Two other sets this season went 28-26, though Santa Clara lost both of those – the fourth set at Howard (Aug. 26) and third at Pepperdine (Oct. 14).
• Laugero's 28 digs were her second-highest total of the season. She had a career-high tying 32 in a five-set loss at Pepperdine (Oct. 14).
• Pepperdine now leads the series 40-33 and has not won in Santa Clara since a 3-1 triumph on Nov. 15, 2014
• The Broncos have won five of the last six matches in the series.

"The team is getting better each week. We're improving. We still have some lapses that hurt us. I love how out gitls are staying gritty with it. We've been in that spot with those freshmen but they are getting better.

"Taylor (Laugero) is digging the ball really well. She's seeing it so clear. The good thing off her digs is we're scoring points. A lot of times you dig and you just want to rally it back over. With her soft touch on the ball, we're able to get swings."

Head coach Jon Wallace

The Broncos play their final home contest on Saturday when LMU visits Leavey Center. The match will begin at 1 p.m. with Santa Clara's three seniors – Kirsten Mead, Erin Reineking and Jensen Cunningham – being recognized prior to the outing.