SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball hits the court for its first 2018 regular season matches this weekend. The Broncos face Idaho, New Mexico and Grand Canyon in the Idaho Volleyball Classic at the outset of the program's 61st season.
SCU and the Vandals meet for the first match of the year on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gym in Moscow, Idaho. The Broncos then play New Mexico Saturday at 10 a.m. and Grand Canyon Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Santa Clara's only preseason competition was a home scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 17 against Nevada. The Broncos won all five sets against the Wolf Pack.
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• The Broncos return 12 players from the 2017 roster, 10 of whom saw the court last season.
• Michelle Gajdka and Taylor Odom played in all 30 matches and 115 of 116 sets a year ago. Gajdka led the team with 361 kills (3.14/set) and ranked third with 277 digs. Odom tied for the team lead in block assists (97) and was second with 108 total blocks (.94/set).
• Allison Kantor and Tessie Powers each took the court in 29 of 30 matches. Kantor, a 2017 WCC All-Freshman Team selection, posted seven double-doubles on the season and closed out the year with six double-digit kill efforts in her last seven matches. Powers finished second on the 2017 team with 287 digs and posted 10-plus digs 16 times.
• Brittany Gillingham (25 matches), Tatiana San Juan (23), Gretchen Reinert (19), Chloe Loreen (16), Anna McCreadie (11) and Ngozi Nwabuzoh (9) round out the returners that took the court. Laura Willems did not play last season and Kathryn Decker redshirted.
• Santa Clara welcomes six newcomers: UCLA transfer Alexa Dreyer — who joins the team with two years of eligibility remaining — as well as freshmen Alex Anthony, Kamrin Caoili, Liliana Light, Natalia Rentsch and Michelle Shaffer.
• 2017 players lost to graduation: setter and 2017 West Coast Conference assists leader Kirsten Mead (1,232 assists, 10.62/set), middle blocker Jensen Cunningham (team-best 114 total blocks), setter Erin Reineking. Mead also led the team with 33 aces.
Head Coach Jon Wallace
• Jon Wallace, the winningest coach in program history, enters his 20th season at the helm in 2018. His overall record is 361-206 (.637).
• The Broncos have reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times in Wallace's 19 seasons.
• Wallace is 13-6 in season-opening matches, including four straight victories.
• Seniors: 1 - Tatiana San Juan
• By State: California (13), Oregon (2), Washington (2), Colorado (1)
VIDEO | Here's a snapshot of interviews with Taylor Odom, Chloe Loreen, Michelle Shaffer and head coach Jon Wallace ahead of the 2018 season-opening match tomorrow!— Santa Clara Volleyball (@scuvolleyball) August 24, 2018
FULL VIDEO ▶️ https://t.co/SLeZZstx32#StampedeTogether #SCUBroncos pic.twitter.com/OdPdLFMmb3
• SCU leads the all-time series 5-1 | First Meeting: 1983
• 2017: 9/15/17 @SCU | Santa Clara Won 3-0
• Last Idaho Win: Nov. 23, 2000 (SCU has won four straight)
The Vandals went 18-11 in 2017 – they won a share of the Big Sky regular season championship with North Dakota. Idaho was picked to win the Big Sky in the 2018 conference preseason poll. The team features five seniors that played in all 29 matches last season, including category leaders in kills (Kaela Straw – 357), assists (Haylee Mathis – 1,107), digs (Alycia Wodke – 472), total blocks (DeVonne Ryter – 115) and aces (Mathis – 25).
• UNM leads the all-time series 3-0 | First Meeting: 1993
• Last Meeting: 9/4/15 @UNM | New Mexico Won 3-0
The Lobos went 16-16 with a young core in 2017 – there were eight freshmen and no true seniors on the roster. New Mexico was picked to finish ninth of 11 Mountain West teams in the 2018 conference preseason poll. UNM returns five of its top six kill-getters from last year, led by Lauren Twitty (412, 4.15/set).
• SCU leads the all-time series 1-0 | Only Meeting: 2016
• Last Meeting: 9/9/16 @Berkeley, California | Santa Clara Won 3-0
The Antelopes went 8-18 in 2017. Grand Canyon was picked to finish sixth of nine WAC teams in the 2018 conference preseason poll. Sophomore outside hitter Teagan DeFalco finished second on the squad with 272 kills last season. GCU returns category leaders in digs (Emma Ahern – 428), blocks (Maria Adams – 94), and aces (Kayla Redfield – 26).
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