Oct 8- The 14th-ranked Santa Clara University volleyball team pushed No. 9 California to the brink for the first time all season but came up just short, falling in a five-game thriller by a 3-2 score. With the loss the Broncos fall to 11-6 overall while the Golden Bears remain one of only three undefeated teams in the country at 15-0. Until Wednesday night Cal had not played a five game match all season long.
Santa Clara came out hungry in the first game and outplayed Cal, taking game one by a 30-28 score. The Broncos hit just under .200 as a team while limiting the potent Golden Bear offense to a .116 mark as Cal made nine errors while only connecting on 14 kills.
Game two seemed destined to go the way of SCU as they led 27-20 late in the match. One rotation hurt the Broncos during Amanda Fox's serve as Cal climbed back in the match and forced the game past the normal score of 30. The Golden Bears won game two by a 34-32 count behind 13 kills from their All-American, Mia Jerkov.
The Broncos redeemed themselves in game three as they were trailing by a 24-20 score when Lexie Bothman came in to serve, sparking Santa Clara to seven straight points to take the lead by three. SCU closed out the game with All-American Becky Potter's fifth kill of the game to take game three by a 30-26 score. Alyssa Lantz also had a big third game with her five kills while Kelli Sousa directed the offense with 17 assists.
In game four the Broncos came out a little flat after expending so much energy in the previous 30 points, falling behind early and never recovering. Cal forced a fifth and deciding by wining game four 30-25. The Golden Bears got eight kills from Jerkov to extend the match.
Cal started out quickly again in game five, jumping out to a 7-2 lead. Despite a valiant rally from the Broncos, the Golden Bears took game five by a score of 15-9 to take the hard fought match.
SCU's Potter concluded the evening with the program's first triple-double since Jennifer Guigliano accomplished the feat on October 19, 1991. The senior All-American ended the match with 19 kills, 13 digs and 11 total blocks.
Alyssa Lantz and Cassie Perret posted 16 and 15 kills respectively, while Becky Biniek and Toni Muratore chipped in with 13 and 11. Sousa's 69 assists and 18 digs were both match-highs.
Jerkov posted a match-high 34 kills to lead three Cal players in double-digit kills. Camille Leffall had 14 on the night while Jenna Brown notched 13 kills for the Golden Bears. Samantha Carter guided the offense with her 65 assists while Jerkov's 18 digs led the team.