Broncos pick up critical win on the road
The Santa Clara
October 6, 2016
Santa Clara women’s volleyball finally got the conference win they needed to get them back on track. After an 0-4 WCC start, the Broncos defeated the University of Portland in a decisive fifth set.
Freshman Callie Jones led the Broncos with a career-high 56 assists and senior Sabrina Clayton had a great match with a team-high 17 kills. Jones’ success was critical since she’s filling in for the injured star Kirsten Mead. Jones’ assist total was the most for Santa Clara since Mead set 59 in 2014 as a freshman.
The win came at a critical juncture in Santa Clara’s season, after dropping a five-set match to the University of Pacific on Tuesday, Sept. 27 and being swept at Gonzaga University on Thursday, Sept. 29. A tough road win is exactly the kind of push that the Broncos needed.
“We haven’t dealt with too many losing streaks in my 18 years here,” said Head Coach Jon Wallace. “Just the relief is going to take the pressure off of some of the girls, for them to be more confident and comfortable is going to help for sure.”
A big part of this winning confidence came about through the difficult experience of a harsh defeat in Spokane against Gonzaga.
“After the match we had a discussion, asked ourselves if we liked this feeling, what are our goals, how do we want to play and what do we want to be?” Wallace said. ”The girls did an amazing job of turning that around in a day and a half and coming back and playing hard on Saturday.”
The post-game meeting certainly had an impact on the team. “It allowed us to be more open and get out any problems that we had so we can work together better,” said Clayton. “We had some hard talks and we agreed that we need to go all out in every single point.”
Some of that extra effort has come from the play of firstyears like Jones, who’ve been forced to step into bigger roles due to injuries.
“I’ve had so much support from my teammates, they are right behind me every step of the way,” Jones said. “It’s been great having everybody help me out.”
First-years Jones, Taylor Laguero, Taylor Odom, in addition to sophomore Hailey Lindberg who played very little last season, all contributed significantly to the win at Portland.
When these youngsters are thrown in with the veterans of the team, it can be a bit of an adjustment. “There are some major differences in approaches that are normal when you have freshman and seniors on the court at the same time. Nikki and Sabrina know the big picture where the other girls don’t,” said Coach Wallace. “They had a good talk on Friday that really cleared things up and now they are in a much better spot.”
With many of their earlier issues seemingly sorted out, the Broncos will look to put together the start of a winning streak on Friday at the University of San Francisco at 7 p.m.
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