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WCC Volleyball Recaps - 9/7

Sept. 7, 2006

Portland - 3
Montana - 1

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Pilots volleyball team opened the 2006 Nike Invitational with a 3-1 win against the Montana Grizzlies in a non-conference match Thursday night at the Chiles Center. Junior outside hitter Nicole Thometz led Portland's attack with 17 kills. Junior setter Kara Pein added 46 assists.

The Pilots won 30-20, 29-31, 30-23 and 30-27 to even their record at 3-3. Montana drops to 0-6.

The first game was evenly fought with the Grizzlies taking a 14-10 advantage. Down 12-14, Portland peeled off five straight points to gain control. UP didn't relinquish the lead the rest of the way.

Montana took the second game, before Portland took games three and four. In the third game, the Pilots scored the first eight points en route to the win. The fourth game was close as the Grizzlies tied it at 14-14. Portland was able to build a five-point lead at 26-21, before taking the game and the match.

Sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Sheedy added 13 kills for Portland, while junior outside hitter Kelly Whitehouse added 12. Senior libero Murphy McClenahan led the Pilots with 23 digs, while Thometz came through with three service aces.

Leading Montana's attack was Claudia Houle with 17 kills.

The Nike Invitational continues tomorrow with four matches at the Chiles Center. Montana gets things started with a match against High Point at 11 a.m. Portland then hosts Cornell at 1 p.m. During the evening session, UT-Pan American takes on Cornell at 6 p.m., before the Pilots play High Point at 8 p.m. The Nike Invitational concludes with four more matches on Saturda

Long Beach State - 3
Saint Mary's - 0

Long Beach, CA - The Saint Mary's volleyball team jumped out to an early lead in all three games against Long Beach State, but it wasn't enough, as the 49ers rallied late in all three to take home a 3-0 victory on Thursday night at the Pyramid in Long Beach, CA.

The Gaels beat the 49ers to at least 15 points in all three games, including Game 3, where they led 29-26, before Long Beach State won the next five points for the 31-29 victory.

Overall the Gaels fall to 3-4, while Long Beach State improved to 6-2. The Gaels are now 0-2 against the 49ers this year.

Offensively Saint Mary's was led by Taylor Groess, who recorded a career-high 14 kills with a .385 hitting percentage. Mandy Bible had 34 assists, six digs and three blocks and Missie Stidham added eight kills and four digs.

The Gaels also received six kills, with a .308 hitting percentage by Brittany Barker, along with seven blocks. Christina Kirk added five kills and two blocks.

The Gaels started the second game very similar to the first, jumping out to an early lead, before the 49ers battled back. Long Beach State went on to win Game 2 30-23. Stidham recorded four kills in the game, while Bible recorded 11 assists and three digs. Groess also added another four kills.

In the first game, the Gaels jumped out to an early lead, taking a 16-12 lead, before the 49ers made a rally. Long Beach State went on to win the first game 30-25. Groess led the Gaels with four kills and Lyndsey Parker added four digs.

Saint Mary's returns to action on Friday, September 8, when it faces Idaho at 5 p.m. at the Pyramid in Long Beach, CA.

Texas - 3
Santa Clara - 0

AUSTIN, Texas - The No. 4 Santa Clara University volleyball team's momentum early on in the 2006 season hit a speed bump Thursday evening as they were swept 3-0 (30-20, 30-25, 30-17) by the host No. 7 Texas Longhorns at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. SCU just couldn't get anything going from the start and struggled offensively, hitting only .160 for the match.

The Broncos will return to Gregory Gym Friday afternoon to conclude tournament action against the No. 15 Missouri Tigers. First serve has been changed to 1 p.m. PT from the originally-scheduled 2 p.m. PT start.

"We weren't really comfortable with our setup game early, and that gave them confidence," said head coach Jon Wallace. "The environment was also a little tough for us, and we just couldn't ever settle in and play our game."

Kim McGiven had nine kills to pace the SCU attack, while Anna Cmaylo added eight. Freshman Lindsy Evans continued to hit well, making six kills at a .455 clip, the only Bronco to hit over .200 for the match. Caroline Walters also made 11 digs to pace the defense.

Defensive struggles also plagued the Broncos, as they did not make a block all match long, while Texas hit .347 on the night. The Longhorns were led by the 15 kills apiece of Dariam Acevedo and Ashley Engle, while setter Michelle Moriarty had 35 assists.

Things were close in the early goings of game one, but with the score deadlocked at 8-8, Texas broke out to a 17-9 run highlighted by five kills from Engle and four from Destinee Hooker. The Broncos could not respond, and the Longhorns reeled off four consecutive points to capture the first game.

Game two followed a similar path as the previous game, as the two squads battled, with Texas holding Santa Clara off just enough with an 11-6 advantage. But crucial kills from McGiven, Cmaylo, and Brittany Lowe got the Broncos back into the game and cut the deficit to 14-12, forcing the Longhorns to burn a timeout.

But the Longhorns roared back after the break in the action, benefiting from a pair of attack errors and a service ace to reassert command of the game at 19-12. The Texas lead got to as much as nine at 25-17 before the Broncos closed things to four at 29-25, but a Lauren Paolini kill closed the door and put the Broncos in an 0-2 hole.

The third frame was just as unkind, if not more, to Santa Clara as the first two had been. Texas took control early, using a quick 4-0 burst to jump to a 10-5 lead, then extending it to 16-8. The Broncos did themselves no favors offensively, hitting only .088 in the third game, as the Longhorns continued to roll, extending the advantage to 24-13 before closing out the match with an Engle kill.