Volleyball Comes Up Short in Five Sets Against Gonzaga

Volleyball Comes Up Short in Five Sets Against Gonzaga
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – For the second time this season, Santa Clara volleyball and Gonzaga went the distance, with the Bulldogs once again coming out on top in a tightly-contested West Coast Conference matchup. Gonzaga rallied from being down two sets to one to beat the Broncos 22-25, 26-24, 27-29, 25-23, 15-10 in Leavey Center.
Kamrin Caoili's match-high and career-high 16 kills led a balanced attack for Santa Clara. The Broncos (6-20, 1-13 WCC) had three other players chip in with double digit kills – Alexa Dreyer (career-high 15), Michelle Shaffer (15) and Allison Kantor (13) – to help SCU post a season-high 71 kills. Dreyer's .382 hitting percentage was the highest of her collegiate debut season and she matched career-high efforts with six blocks and five digs.
Gonzaga (8-16, 5-8 WCC) had five players with double-digit kills and was led by Kennedy Croft and Chapin Gray (13 each). Peighton De Von and Kaylie Loewen added 11 kills apiece and Sarah Penner finished with 10.  Jenna Kuehn paced the Bulldogs with 26 assists and Tiyana Hallums posted a team-high 25 digs.
Santa Clara's Liliana Light posted a match-best 42 assists and Chloe Loreen led all-players with a career-high 27 digs.
In the opening stanza, Santa Clara took a 10-5 lead behind three kills from Dreyer before Gonzaga made a 9-2 run to go up 14-12.  With the set tied at 19-19, the Broncos finished with a 6-3 run including kills by Kathryn Decker and Kantor to close out the set at 25-22.  
Kantor helped the Broncos maintain their first-set momentum by producing three kills as the team won six of the first seven points in the second frame. The Bulldogs battled their way back into the set and pulled level at 18-all. The teams were tied six times over the next 12 points, including 24-all after Gonzaga's Chapin Gray produced a kill facing a Santa Clara set point. Gray's sixth kill of the set sparked a 3-0 run to tie the match at one set each; she hit .462 in the frame.
In the third set, Gonzaga survived a pair of set points by Santa Clara on its way to taking a 25-24 lead, then the Broncos fought off three Bulldogs set points and capped the stanza with a 3-0 scoring run to take a 2-1 match lead. Shaffer led either side with five kills in the set as the Broncos out hit the Bulldogs .280 to .208.  
Santa Clara had an opportunity to close out the match in the fourth set when it knotted the score up at 23-all on a kill by Caoili, but Gray responded with a kill and Gonzaga sent the match to a fifth on the strength of a block by Loewen and Peighton De Von. Gonzaga totaled 15 blocks on the day, including a match-best eight from De Von.
Gonzaga used a 4-0 spree to take control midway through the fifth set; Payton Mack bookened the short run to give the Bulldogs an 8-4 lead. They had at least a two-point edge for the rest of the stanza en route to closing out the match.
The Bulldogs hit .211 for the match to Santa Clara's .209 in one of the closest contests this year for both teams.
The Broncos travel to Provo, Utah to face No. 1 BYU (23-0, 13-0 WCC) on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT.  In the first match between the two schools on Oct. 13, the Cougars swept the Broncos.
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