Volleyball Wins Thriller on Senior Day, Downs LMU in Five Sets

Volleyball Wins Thriller on Senior Day, Downs LMU in Five Sets

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara volleyball senior class won't have trouble remembering its final appearance in Leavey Center.

Jensen Cunningham posted a team-high 18 kills, Kirsten Mead registered 44 kills and Erin Reineking recorded the clinching point in Saturday's five-set thrilling victory over Loyola Marymount.

Those three seniors helped the Broncos (15-12, 8-7) twice rally from down a set to win 22-25, 26-24, 15-25, 25-21, 17-15 in a meeting of West Coast Conference teams.

Megan Rice had a match-best 20 kills for the Lions (15-12, 8-8) who had 16 aces and posted a .162 attack percentage.

Allison Kantor had a double-double with 11 kills and 12 digs, and Hailey Lindberg and Michelle Gajdka each had 10 kills for the Broncos who won their sixth-straight match.

Santa Clara, which had a .178 attack percentage, was impressive down the stretch in each of the final two sets, scoring the final six points to finish out the fourth, lining up the thrilling ending.

An attack error gave LMU a 14-13 lead in the fifth, which was tied eight times, but Mead set up Cunningham for a kill to extend the match. Mead followed by setting up Gajdka for a kill. Reineking subbed in to serve and put the ball toward the back line for an ace and a victory on Senior Day.

Taylor Laugero (15) and Tessie Powers (13) were solid defensively for the Broncos combining for 28 of the team's 57 digs.

Tess Reid (19 assists/16 digs) had a double-double for LMU, which had its three-match wining streak snapped.

• Seniors Jensen Cunningham, Kirsten Mead and Erin Reineking were recognized prior to the match.
• The Broncos were without Chloe Loreen who sat out with a shoulder injury
• Cunningham had 12 kills on first 14 attacks of the match and ended with 18 for a .433 attack percentage. She had a career-high 20 kills vs. Saint Mary's on Oct. 21.
• The teams have split the season series for six straight years. LMU leads the series 39-35..

"The team just worked hard. It came down to a couple points and we're good enough, lucky enough; however you want to look at it. We were able to execute. We had our bumps early (in the season) and the kids have just learned how to be resilient, lots of grit. They know they're never out of it. I'm really proud of them for battling through.

"Jensen has been amazing. Our seniors have just been dynamic. Kirsten set some amazing balls tonight. I love the fact that Erin Reineking gets in there and gets to serve match point on senior night. There's nothing better than that."

Head coach Jon Wallace

The Broncos play their final three regular season matches on the road, beginning with a trip to San Diego on Thursday.


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