Oct. 6, 2007
(San Francisco) - USF volleyball played its best match of the season and stunned, then swept Santa Clara 30-23, 30-26, 30-25 in West Coast Conference action Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Gym. The Dons (13-6, 2-1 WCC) defeat their ancient Bay Area and WCC rivals for the first time since November 9, 1989 and snap a 34-match losing streak to the Broncos (11-8, 3-1WCC), who posted a 3-1 road win at No. 14 San Diego on Friday night.
Junior middle blocker Alix Gombos stepped up for the Dons, recording a match-high 13 kills on .500 hitting to go along with seven blocks (one solo), while sophomore opposite Sarah Mandala shook off a slow start to tally 11 kills, eight digs, four blocks and a pair of service aces.
Senior honors candidate Kristin Hasselberg added 11 kills, five digs and a block, while junior outside hitter Addie Webster enjoyed a strong match with 10 kills, 14 digs and three blocks, good for her team-leading fourth double-double of the season.
Junior setter Darcy Carroll did a great job running the USF offense, dishing out a match-high 46 assists to go along with seven digs and a block. Carroll becomes the first Dons setter to lead her team to a win since Denise MacDougal (1988-91). Sophomore libero Haley Carroll recorded 10 digs and three aces.
"I thought we served really well and did a solid job passing," USF head coach Gilad Doron said. "We ran a solid offense, stayed very patient and executed our game plan very well. I'm extremely happy for the players on this team doing something that hasn't been done for 18 years. I think it shows we're moving in the right direction. I am very proud and happy of the way the team came up with two wins against a pair of strong WCC Bay Area opponents. Hopefully we can continue to build on this."
San Francisco stormed out of the gate from the opening serve of game one, building a 16-6 lead on a Hasselberg kill and led wire-to-wire. Gombos, Hasselberg and Webster recorded five kills apiece to pace the Dons, while Webster added seven digs to the cause.
USF built a 7-1 lead in game two before Santa Clara rallied to take its first lead of the match at 13-12 and again at 14-13. USF recovered and went ahead 17-16 on a Gombos kill and the Broncos would not recover to tie it. Gombos recorded six kills on seven swings in the game to go along with a remarkable five blocks (one solo).
Game three was tighter, featuring 14 tie scores and seven lead changes. USF trailed 16-14, but roared back on a 8-4 run to seize a 22-20 lead it would not relinquish. The Broncos closed to within one at 23-22 on a Dons service error, but San Francisco got a service ace from Haley Carroll and back-to-back kills from Mandala and senior opposite hitter Linzy Kearney to take a 27-23 lead. Hasselberg capped the sweep with a kill on match point.
USF hit at a .260 clip for the match and limited the Broncos to .156 attacking. The Dons held a 52-44 kills advantage and won the battle at the net 12.0 blocks to 8.5.
Junior outside hitter Brittany Lowe and freshman outside hitter Krista Kelley tallied 10 kills to lead the Broncos. Senior setter Crystal Matich dished out 36 assists to go along with four kills, five digs and two blocks. Senior libero Caroline Walters recorded a match-high 18 digs.
San Francisco returns to WCC action when it travels to Southern California to take on Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine, beginning Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles. First serve against the Lions is set for 7:00 PM at Gersten Pavilion. The Dons then tackle the Waves in Malibu Saturday with a 1:00 PM match at Firestone Fieldhouse.