Volleyball Begins West Coast Conference Play Thursday at San Francisco

Santa Clara has won seven straight matches over the Dons, all by way of the sweep.
Santa Clara has won seven straight matches over the Dons, all by way of the sweep.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball begins West Coast Conference play in its lone match of the week on Thursday night. The Broncos face the San Francisco Dons for a 7 p.m. first serve at War Memorial at the Sobrato Center.

Santa Clara (5-7) went 1-2 last weekend at the Bulldog Brawl in Indianapolis. The Broncos were swept by Cleveland State and defeated Kent State in four sets on Friday before being swept by tournament host Butler on Saturday. Allison Kantor and Michelle Shaffer took home all-tournament team honors.


Live Stats


Kantor has played in all 15 sets over the last four matches after playing in eight sets during the team's first eight matches. The redshirt sophomore totaled 30 kills (4.29/set) on .292 hitting between matches against the Golden Flashes and Bulldogs. She posted season-best marks with 19 kills and 15 digs in the victory over Kent State.

Shaffer logged 13 kills, 15 digs and three aces for the Broncos in the win over Kent State. The freshman has double-digit digs in eight of her last 10 matches and four double-doubles in 10 matches on the year. She leads the team in kills (120) and aces (16) while ranking second on the Broncos with 134 digs. Shaffer earned her third consecutive all-tournament team nod last week. 

Tessie Powers had a career-high 51 assists and added 16 digs to help Santa Clara down the Golden Flashes. The junior followed up with 30 assists against Butler to make 81 assists (11.57/set) over the weekend's last two matches. She entered Friday's second match with 67 career assists for the Broncos after spending most of 2017 and the early part of 2018 as a libero and defensive specialist.

Shaffer, Chloe Loreen and Alexa Dreyer played in all 12 matches and all 43 sets of nonconference action. Loreen had 25 digs against Kent State to top the 20-dig mark for the third time this season and has 11-plus digs in nine of her 10 starts at libero. Dreyer had at least three blocks in five of Santa Clara's last six matches.

Kamrin Caoili has featured more prominently in the Santa Clara attack over the last four matches. The freshman had 15 kills against Kent State and 13 kills on .423 hitting against Butler. She has amassed 42 kills over 14 sets in the last four matches after totaling 12 kills in 10 sets over her first 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 366-213 (.632).

• 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) 

THE DONS (7-4) 

• Santa Clara is 67-13 against San Francisco in a series that dates back to 1975. 

• 10/6/17: SCU won 3-0 @ SCU | 11/3/17: SCU won 3-0 @ USF 

• The Broncos have swept seven straight matches in the series. 

• Last USF win: 9/26/14 3-0 at USF 

San Francisco enters West Coast Conference action on the strength of a five-match winning streak. The team won nine of 10 sets at last weekend's Fullerton Classic, including sweeps of Idaho and Cal State Fullerton along with a four-set victory over UC Riverside.

More than one of every four attacking looks goes to Kathya Garcia (431 of the team's 1,628 total attempts), who has a team-best 140 kills. Garcia is one of four players who has 10-plus aces in the team's 11 matches. Erin Anthony leads the team in that category with 13 aces.

The Dons were picked to finish last of 10 teams in the 2018 preseason poll, while the Broncos were picked to finish sixth. San Francisco won seven of 11 matches in nonconference play this season to equal its overall win total from the last two seasons (seven wins in 62 contests).


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