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WCC Volleyball Recaps

Sept. 27, 2007

Saint Mary's - 3
Gonzaga - 0

Moraga, CA - In the first WCC action of the year, women's volleyball defeated Gonzaga in three games, 33-31, 30-15, 30-25. The Gaels posted 21 blocks in the three game sweep over the Bulldogs, while Gonzaga recorded four in the match. Freshman Shannon Lowell led the way for the Gaels, tallying a career-high 10 blocks, while also adding seven kills. Megan Burton joined Lowell's block party, posting nine blocks.

In game one both teams battled back and forth, recording eight ties before either team reached 12. A serving run by junior Taylor Groess gave the Gaels a 16-12 advantage. Groess tallied one serving ace in the run, while Jaeckel and York each added a kill. Saint Mary's would continue to push, extending the lead to 20-13 off a Barker kill. Gonzaga would turn-up the heat late in the game, decreasing the lead to 22-20. From that point on each team would not let up, exchanging points back and forth. The Gaels would reach 29 first, but the Bulldogs kept the pressure on, forcing the game to continue into the 30's. Saint Mary's remained composed, putting together two consecutive points off a York kill and Bulldog ball handling error. The Gaels prevailed in the end, defeating Gonzaga 33-31. Lowell continued her consistent attacking throughout game one, posting three kills on six swings for a .500 hitting efficiency. Groess added four blocks in the game, while Burton and Lowell each added three.

The Gaels continued their stellar blocking in game two, posting seven blocks to the Bulldogs one. Burton ignited in the game, tallying three kills and five blocks. Freshman setter Christy Payne guided Saint Mary's to .310 hitting efficiency in the game, while also dishing out ten assists. Saint Mary's snatched the lead from the Bulldogs at the start of game one, taking a 10-5 advantage and never looking back. Junior Erin Thompson found a rhythm at the serving line, leading the Gaels in a five point run. The Gaels' tough serving kept the pressure on Gonzaga throughout the match; tallying three aces to the Bulldogs zero in game two alone. Payne stepped up to the line late in game two, tabbing two aces in four attempts. The Gaels would dominate the rest of the way, winning the game 30-15.

Saint Mary's carried their momentum into game three, as Groess exploded for six kills on 11 swings for .364 hitting percentage. Freshman Megan York scooped up six digs in the game, while also recording five kills and two blocks. Payne continued to lead the Gaels' offense, posting 16 assists, one blocks, and two digs. Saint Mary's finished off the Bulldogs in three games, winning the third set 30-25.

The Gaels return to action Saturday afternoon, when they face Portland in a 1:00 PM matinee.

Santa Clara - 3
Portland - 1

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara volleyball team served up a 3-1 (30-19, 30-20, 29-31, 30-21) win over Portland Thursday night in its West Coast Conference season opener. With the win the Broncos improved to 9-7 overall and 1-0 in the WCC, while the Pilots dropped to 7-7 on the season and 0-1 in league play.

"I liked the way we played tonight," said head coach Jon Wallace. "We came out really focused and with good energy. We lost that drive in game three but it was nice to see them come back in game four with the rejuvenated focus and win it."

Opposite hitter Lindsy Evans led the match with 16 kills and four service aces, while outside hitter Krista Kelley had 19 kills and 14 digs. Junior Brittany Lowe added 14 kills and 17 digs. Evans also posted a match-high 5 service aces.

The Broncos opened the first game with a 3-1 start on points from Lauryn Dowd, Evans and Lowe. Santa Clara continued to control the scoreboard and held seven 10-points leads during game one. An attacking error from Portland gave Santa Clara game point, and an ace from Evans gave SCU a 30-19 victory.

Santa Clara picked up from where it left off in game one and produced a 4-1 lead in the beginning of the second game. A block assist from Kelley and Nichole Clark, along with a kill by Kelley put the Broncos up by six point, 10-4. SCU compiled an eight-point lead, 17-10, and then back-to-back block assists from Clark and Crystal Matich made the score, 21-12, in the Broncos favor. Santa Clara pushed ahead and never looked back as sophomore Evans struck again, this time with a kill, to end game two, 30-20.

After the break, Portland came back with a bit more energy and kept the sore tight. A Bronco error brought the Pilots within one, 4-3, but a 4-0 run on points from Clark and Kelley improved the score to 8-3. Portland rallied back on kills from Ashley Grayson to come within three, 9-6, but Santa Clara continued to hold the edge. A service ace from Kim Courtney put SCU up by seven points, 20-13. However, the Pilots were not willing to give up that easily and brought the score within four, 22-18, on kill from Jessica Clemens, which forced the Broncos to call a timeout. Portland narrowed the game, 26-25, on a kill from Grayson and then tied the score 27-27. The two teams then battled point-for-point until Clemens gave the Pilots the edge and then the game, 31-29.

The fourth game saw the Broncos and Pilots go head-to-head in the start and the score was tied four times before SCU was able to breakaway. Santa Clara advanced to an 18-8 lead on a kill from Lowe. SCU earned an 11 point lead on a kill from Matich, 22-11, and continued to hold a large lead over Portland. A strong kill from Evans gave the Broncos match point, 29-20, and a kill from Lowe brought the match to a close, 30-21.

For Portland, Grayson and Jennifer Sheedy had a team-best 13 kills, while Clemens posted five total blocks.

The Broncos return to action on Saturday, Sept. 28, against the Bulldogs of Gonzaga. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m., at the Leavey Center.