SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball plays its final match of the 2018 season on Tuesday night. The Broncos head to Moraga, California for a 7 p.m. first serve against Saint Mary's in a West Coast Conference matchup at McKeon Pavilion.
The Broncos (6-23, 1-16 WCC) enter the tilt on an eight-match losing streak, which began against Saint Mary's on Oct. 20 in Leavey Center. The team's lone conference win of the season came two days earlier at home against Pacific. The Broncos were swept by San Francisco last Friday in Leavey Center.
The Gaels (18-9, 10-7) dropped a four-set match to No. 1 BYU last Thursday before completing a season sweep of San Diego on Saturday in McKeon Pavilion. Saint Mary's and BYU are the only WCC teams to defeat the Toreros this season. Saint Mary's (RPI 42) is one of three WCC teams vying for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament; No. 1 BYU has clinched the automatic berth by winning the conference championship. Pepperdine (RPI 37) and San Diego (RPI 47) are the other teams in the mix for an at-large berth into the tournament.
GAME DAY LINKS
Taylor Odom produced a perfect match offensively for Santa Clara on her Senior Day against the Dons. She had 10 kills on 10 attempts with no errors for a 1.000 hitting percentage to break Katie Hunsaker's overall program record and three-set record of .889, set in 1989 against United States International University. Odom reached the 10-kill mark for the second time in her Bronco career and first time in 61 matches.
Odom and fellow senior Tatiana San Juan will play their final matches as Broncos on Tuesday. San Juan led the Broncos with 3.54 digs per set last season. She needs four more digs to reach 300 for her career.
Alexa Dreyer has at least one block in 28 of 29 matches this season, multiple blocks in 17 of the last 18 contests and five-plus blocks in five of the last nine contests. Dreyer has had some of her best offensive performances of the season since the calendar turned to November; she hit .382 with a career-high 15 kills against Gonzaga (Nov. 3) and .440 with 13 kills at San Diego (Nov. 10).
Dreyer, Michelle Shaffer and Chloe Loreen have played in all 29 matches and all 104 sets in 2018. Shaffer leads the team in kills (291) and aces (28) in her freshman campaign. Loreen tallied six digs against the Dons to eclipse the 400-dig mark for the year.
• The Broncos return 11 players from the 2017 roster, nine 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), and Anna McCreadie (11) 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 367-227 (.618).
• The Broncos have reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times in Wallace's 19 seasons.
• Seniors: 1 - Tatiana San Juan
• By State: California (12), Oregon (2), Washington (2), Colorado (1)
• Santa Clara is 51-25 against Saint Mary's in a series that dates back to 1979.
• The home team has won five of the last six matches in the series.
• 2018: 10/20 SMC won 3-0 @ SCU
• 2017: 10/21 SCU won 3-2 @ SCU | 11/21 SMC won 3-2 @ SMC
• Santa Clara scored 46 points against Saint Mary's in the third set on Nov. 21 last season, the most in a single frame in NCAA history during the 25-point rally-scoring era (2008-present).
Alexsa Parker tops all players in the WCC with 44 aces. As a team, Saint Mary's ranks second in the conference with 166 aces (also 47th in the NCAA). The Gaels hit .322 as a team in their sweep of the Toreros on a balanced effort by Lindsey Knudsen (12 kills on .303), Sarah Chase (11/.458) and Lindsey Calvin (11/.348).
The Gaels were picked to finish seventh of 10 teams in the 2018 WCC preseason poll, while the Broncos were picked to finish sixth. Saint Mary's went 9-19 overall and 5-13 in conference play last season to finish ninth in the WCC.
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