Volleyball to Host Santa Clara Invitational Beginning Thursday

Santa Clara links up with Boise State and UC Davis in a preconference tournament for the third time in as many seasons this weekend.
Santa Clara links up with Boise State and UC Davis in a preconference tournament for the third time in as many seasons this weekend.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball welcomes a competitive field to this week's Santa Clara Invitational, as all three participants carry records above .500 on the young season. The Broncos (4-3) take the Leavey Center court against Boise State (5-0) on Thursday and UC Davis (5-2) on Saturday; both matches get started at 6 p.m. PDT. Boise State and UC Davis will play in Leavey on Friday at 5 p.m.

Santa Clara, Boise State and UC Davis meet in a preconference tournament for the third consecutive season (2016 Boise State Invitational, 2017 UC Davis Invitational).

The Broncos enter their home tournament following a 2-1 weekend at the Ameritas Players Challenge in Lincoln, Nebraska. They downed Wake Forest in four sets and swept Ohio on Friday before falling to the defending national champion and fifth-ranked Nebraska on Saturday. Santa Clara was the only team in the tournament to win a set against the Cornhuskers.



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Freshmen Michelle Shaffer and Liliana Light each earned their first collegiate all-tournament team selection for the Broncos last weekend. Shaffer hit .361 while leading the team with 28 kills, 37 digs and five aces between three matches. Light had 104 assists (9.45/set), 15 kills, 25 digs and 4.0 total blocks. She set Santa Clara to a .316 hitting percentage in Friday's sweep of the Bobcats and posted her first collegiate double-double with 39 assists and 10 digs. 

Shaffer is hitting .249 with a team-high 69 kills (2.76/set) in her debut season. She also has a Bronco-best 11 aces (0.44/set) and ranks second on the team with 74 digs (2.96/set). 

Sophomore Chloe Loreen has started six straight matches at libero and has double-digit digs in five of those six matches. Loreen, who played as an outside hitter during her freshman season, is averaging 4.05 digs/set in that stretch. 

Shaffer, Light, Loreen, junior Alexa Dreyer, Junior Michelle Gajdka and sophomore Brittany Gillingham have played in all 25 sets on the season entering the tournament. 

Dreyer earned Idaho Volleyball Classic All-Tournament Team honors at the season-opening event by compiling 27 kills and an SCU-best six aces in her debut weekend with the team. Gajdka had at least 11 kills in four straight matches from Aug. 25-31. Gillingham registered 10 digs against Ohio and has an ace in four of the last five matches.

Roster Breakdown

• 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, is in his 20th season at the helm in 2018. His overall record is 365-209 (.639).

• The Broncos have reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times in Wallace's 19 seasons.


• Redshirt juniors Anna McCreadie and Taylor Odom, junior Alexa Dreyer and freshman Liliana Light are the 2018 team captains. 

Class Breakdown

• Seniors: 1 - Tatiana San Juan

• Juniors: 7 - Alexa Dreyer, Michelle Gajdka, Anna McCreadie (RS), Ngozi Nwabuzoh, Taylor Odom (RS), Tessie Powers, Laura Willems

• Sophomores: 4 - Brittany Gillingham, Allison Kantor (RS), Chloe Loreen, Gretchen Reinert

• Freshmen: 6 - Alex Anthony, Kamrin Caoili, Kathryn Decker (RS), Liliana Light, Natalia Rentsch, Michelle Shaffer

• By State: California (13), Oregon (2), Washington (2), Colorado (1)


• SCU leads the all-time series 4-3 | First Meeting: 1986 | The teams have not met in Santa Clara

• Boise State has won matches each of the last two years

• 2017: 9/8 @UC Davis Invitational (Davis, California) | Boise State won 3-0

• Last Santa Clara win: 8/25/07 @BSU (3-0)

The Broncos are one of 27 unbeaten teams in the country. They defeated Milwaukee in five sets, UC Riverside in three sets and Idaho State in four sets last week to win the Idaho State Invitational. Jessica Donahue ranks 15th in the NCAA with 36 total blocks and eighth with 1.71 blocks/set; she is the reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Week. Sabryn Roberts has four double-doubles in five matches; she has at least 13 kills in all five contests this year.

Boise State went 17-14 in 2014 en route to an NIVC postseason appearance. The Broncos were picked to finish in a tie for third (San Diego State) out of 11 teams in the Mountain West Conference this season.


• SCU leads the all-time series 4-1 | First Meeting: 2006 | The teams have not met in Santa Clara

• 2017: 9/9 @UCD | Santa Clara won 3-0

• Last UC Davis win: 9/17/16 @Boise State Invitational (3-1)

The Aggies have won two straight matches, including a four-set win over Sacramento State on Tuesday night. They lost to Oregon State in four sets and swept Portland State in last weekend's Rose City Showdown. Malia Bolko is averaging 6.17 digs/set, good for sixth in the country and Emily Allen paces the team's attack with 105 kills (4.38/set).

UC Davis went 16-14 in 2017. The Aggies were picked to finish sixth out of nine teams in the Big West Conference this season.


Season and single-game tickets are available. Click here to purchase online or contact the ticket office weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (408) 554-4660 or BroncoTickets@scu.edu. Group discounts are also available through our ticket office sales and service consultants. Doors to Leavey Center are open one hour prior to first serve. Pricing is subject to change. 


For weekday matches, the Leavey Center lot, located on Accolti Way off El Camino Real, is free beginning one hour prior to first serve. Any other parking facility on campus will be subject to normal daily rates or restrictions, including the main structure, located adjacent to Stevens Stadium on Palm Drive. During the weekend, campus parking facilities are free (except for permit required locations). Click here for a campus map and parking restrictions.


Outside food and drink is permitted in Leavey Center for Friday's match only since concessions will not be sold during Friday's match. Outside food and drink is not permitted on Thursday/Saturday since concessions will be sold during those matches.


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