Volleyball to Battle at Bulldog Brawl

Santa Clara will meet Kent State for the third time in program history this weekend. The Broncos have never faced Cleveland State nor Butler.
Santa Clara will meet Kent State for the third time in program history this weekend. The Broncos have never faced Cleveland State nor Butler.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball wraps up nonconference play in the 2018 season this Friday and Saturday. The Broncos head to Indianapolis for the Bulldog Brawl; they battle Cleveland State (7 a.m. PDT) and Kent State (1 p.m.) on Friday, followed by tournament host Butler (7 a.m.) on Saturday. 

Santa Clara (4-5) looks to bounce back from a pair of home losses as hosts of last week's Santa Clara Invitational. The Broncos were sept by Boise State on Thursday and too UC Davis to five sets on Saturday; they held a 7-3 lead in the fifth frame prior to a 9-1 Aggie run that led the visiting side to victory.


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Live Stats (All Matches)
Cleveland State | Kent State | Butler


Junior Chloe Loreen and freshman Michelle Shaffer earned all-tournament team honors for their performances last week. 

Loreen totaled 32 digs in two matches as the Bronco libero, including 20 against the Aggies, and had a career-best seven assists in the tournament finale. She has 11-plus digs in seven of the team's last eight matches and had posted 20 or more digs twice in that stretch (career-high 26 vs. Grand Canyon Aug. 25).

Shaffer, who picked up her second all-tournament team nod in as many competitions, totaled 23 kills. She hit .424 with 16 kills and added 15 digs against the Aggies. The outside hitter has 10 or more digs in six of the last seven matches and has hit .321 or better five times in nine contests on the season.

Junior Tessie Powers, redshirt sophomore Allison Kantor and freshman Kamrin Caoili provided a spark for Santa Clara off the bench as they won the second and third sets against the Aggies.

Powers pitched in at setter and posted a double-double with a career-high 14 assists along with 11 digs. She only played in one previous set on the season, when the Broncos faced Boise State.

Kantor played in only eight of the team's 28 sets entering the UC Davis bout. She had 13 kills (season-best), six digs and five total blocks versus UC Davis.

Caoili posted 10 kills on Saturday, the highest single-match total of her young Bronco career. She totaled 12 kills in 10 sets over her first five appearances of the season.

Junior Michelle Gajdka, Junior Alexa Dreyer, freshman Liliana Light, Loreen and Shaffer have played in all 33 sets on the season. Dreyer has 13 blocks over the last three matches (1.08/set). Light posted her second collegiate double-double by amassing 28 assists and 15 digs on Saturday.

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 365-211 (.634).

• 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)


• Santa Clara and Cleveland State have never met.

The Vikings (4-5) won four of their first five matches this season and have lost the last four, including three straight at the team's second home tournament in three weeks. Cleveland State has a strong presence at the net, ranking 17th in the NCAA with 2.79 blocks/set entering the weekend. Individually, Hannah Greene ranks 13th with 1.52 blocks/set.

Cleveland State is coming off of a 22-8 season and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017. The Vikings have won the Horizon League regular season and tournament championship in three straight years; they were picked to win the conference once again in its 2018 preseason poll.


• Santa Clara leads the all-time series 2-0

• 9/18/15 @ Sacramento, California SCU 3-0

• 9/4/99 @ Tucson, Arizona SCU 3-1

The Golden Flashes (6-5) snapped a three-match losing streak on Saturday by sweeping NJIT at the La Salle Invitational; they began the year at 5-2. Erin Gardner ranks 27th in the NCAA with 17 aces.

Kent State went 5-22 in 2017. The team was picked to finish fifth of six MAC East Division teams in the conference's preseason poll.


• Santa Clara and Butler have never met.

The Bulldogs have lost four straight matches following a win over Eastern Illinois two weekends ago at the Top Dawg Challenge (also hosted by Butler). The team has worked the block well this season, coming in at 33rd in the country with 2.58 blocks/set. Melody Davidson (1.17 blocks/set) and Briana Lilly (1.13) lead the effort up front.

Butler turned in a 23-8 campaign, including a 13-5 mark in BIG EAST play a season ago. The Bulldogs were picked to finish third of 10 teams in the conference's 2018 preseason poll.


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