Volleyball Hosts Portland Thursday, Gonzaga Saturday

Santa Clara has its last two-match homestand of the 2018 season this week. The home finale is against San Francisco on Nov. 16.
Santa Clara has its last two-match homestand of the 2018 season this week. The home finale is against San Francisco on Nov. 16.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball returns home to Leavey Center for the start of November. The Broncos host Portland on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Gonzaga on Saturday at 1 p.m. in West Coast Conference action.

SCU is coming off of a road trip to Southern California. The Broncos (6-18, 1-11 WCC) fell in four sets against Pepperdine last Thursday and in five sets against Loyola Marymount last Saturday. Santa Clara won the first two sets against LMU before the Lions rallied to take the final three frames; the Broncos did not win a set against either team in September.

Portland and Gonzaga hit the road after playing a pair of home matches last weekend. The Pilots (16-7, 4-7) were swept by No. 1 BYU on Thursday and fell in five sets against San Diego on Saturday. The Bulldogs (6-16, 3-8) were swept by both the Toreros and Cougars.


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Allison Kantor posted a 12-kill, 12-dig double-double against the Waves on Thursday. That effort marked her seventh match of the season with 10-plus kills and fifth match of the season with 10-plus digs. Kantor has started 15 straight matches after playing in four of the first nine matches with no starts.

Michelle Shaffer paced the offense by notching 17 kills on .342 hitting against the Lions on Saturday. Shaffer has six double-digit kill efforts and three double-digit dig efforts in Santa Clara's last eight matches, including two double-doubles. Shaffer's 245 kills are tops on the team this season; Alexa Dreyer ranks second with 159.

Shaffer, Dreyer and Chloe Loreen have played in all 24 matches and all 85 sets on the season. Dreyer tops the Broncos with 68 total blocks. Loreen has double-digit digs eight times in the team's last 10 matches and 17 times in 24 matches overall.

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 367-222 (.623).

• 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 54-12 against Portland in a series that dates back to 1979

• 2018: 10/6 POR Won 3-0 @ POR

• 2017: 10/30 POR won 3-2 @ SCU | 10/26 SCU won 3-0 @ POR 

• The road team has won four of the last five in the series. 

Portland ranks 27th in the NCAA with a .259 hitting percentage; Katie Barker is hitting .346 on the season and Shayla Hoeft is hitting .340. Carey Williams leads the WCC in total digs (366) and digs/set (4.41).

The Pilots were picked to finish eighth (of 10) in the 2018 WCC preseason poll, while Santa Clara was picked to finish sixth. Portland went 15-15 overall and 6-12 in conference play last season to finish eighth in the WCC.


• Santa Clara is 50-13 against Gonzaga in a series that dates back to 1987

• 2018: 10/4 GON won 3-2 @ GON

• 2017: 9/28 GON won 3-2 @ GON | 10/28 SCU won 3-2 @ SCU 

• Three straight matches in the series have gone to five sets.

• The home team has won five straight in the series.

Sarah Penner enters the week with 242 kills, twice as many kills as the next-highest Bulldog (Chapin Gray and Kaylie Loewen are tied for second on the team with 120 apiece). She totaled 20 kills over six sets last week, including 13 against BYU. Tiyana Hallums ranks third in the WCC with 340 digs and 4.3 digs/set.

The Bulldogs were picked to finish fifth (of 10) in the 2018 WCC preseason poll. Gonzaga went 14-16 overall and 9-9 in conference play last season to finish tied for fourth (Loyola Marymount) in the WCC.


Pajama Party - Keep calm and put your jammies on! All fans are encouraged to wear their best pajama attire. Comfort is key.

Onesie Raffle - Enter to win an SCU Athletics branded onesie. Winners will be announced during the third set. Visit the marketing table for more details.


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