Volleyball Begins Busy Week Tuesday Night at Pacific

Santa Clara plays three matches in five days this week, including home contests at Leavey Center on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon.
Santa Clara plays three matches in five days this week, including home contests at Leavey Center on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball begins its busiest stretch of West Coast Conference play Tuesday night. The Broncos face Pacific in a road test at 7 p.m. for the first of three matches in five days this week. They host Loyola Marymount on Thursday night and Pepperdine on Saturday afternoon.

The Broncos (5-8, 0-1 WCC) enter the match against the Tigers (5-8, 0-2) after playing just one time in the previous nine days. Santa Clara was swept in the conference opener Thursday night at San Francisco. The team began the season at 4-2 and is 1-6 in its last seven contests.


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Allison Kantor made her fourth straight start on Thursday night and led the Broncos with nine kills against the Dons. She has played in all 18 sets over the last five matches after playing in eight sets during the team's first eight matches. The redshirt sophomore has reached double-digit kills three times in the last five matches and is averaging 3.11 kills/set in that stretch.

Michelle Shaffer has double-digit digs in nine of her last 11 matches and four double-doubles on the year. She leads the team in kills (125) and aces (17) while ranking second on the Broncos in dig (145). Shaffer was selected to three all-tournament teams in nonconference play (Ameritas Players Challenge, Santa Clara Invitational, Bulldog Brawl).

Tessie Powers made her third straight start at setter against the Dons after spending all of last season and the early part of 2018 as a libero/defensive specialist. She has a double-double in three straight matches and four of the last five overall.

Shaffer, Chloe Loreen and Alexa Dreyer have played in all 13 matches and all 46 sets of the season thus far. Loreen has 11-plus digs in nine of her 11 starts at libero, including three matches with 20 or more digs. Dreyer has at least two blocks in six of Santa Clara's last seven matches.

Kamrin Caoili has featured more prominently in the Santa Clara attack over the last five matches. The freshman had 15 kills against Kent State and 13 kills on .423 hitting against Butler during the Bulldog Brawl.

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 366-214 (.631).

• 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 is 9-27 against Pacific in a series that dates back to 1975. 

• 9/26/17: PAC won 3-0 @ PAC | 10/19/17: PAC won 3-1 @ SCU 

• The Tigers have won four straight matches in the series. 

• Last SCU win: 11/24/15 3-1 at PAC 

Pacific was swept in road matches at No. 1 BYU on Thursday and No. 24 San Diego on Saturday. The team is 1-5 in its last six matches.

Kaitlyn Lines enters the week as the WCC leader in points (227.5), kills (196) and attack attempts (498). She ranks third in the conference with 3.77 kills/set and fourth with 0.40 aces/set (21 aces on the season).

The Tigers were picked to finish ninth of 10 teams in the 2018 WCC preseason poll, while the Broncos were picked to finish sixth. Pacific went 17-14 overall and 11-7 in conference play last season to finish third in the WCC. The team made it to the second round of the NIVC postseason tournament.


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