Broncos return to winning ways after comeback victory
THE SANTA CLARA
October 20, 2016
After falling in straight sets to Loyola Marymount University last Thursday night, the women’s volleyball team bounced back with a convincing win over Pepperdine University the following Saturday.
Santa Clara entered Thursday night on a two game winning streak, but slow starts plagued the Broncos against LMU. Santa Clara found themselves trailing 9-4 early on and never put up much of a fight, dropping the first set 25-14.
“We have to find a way to get to a certain, different level right from the start,” said Head Coach Jon Wallace. “Some teams just start slow, so we’re trying to address it and get it going.”
But Santa Clara could never get going Thursday night. They lost the first seven points in the second set, leaving them in a hole too big to climb out of. The Broncos outplayed LMU from then on, but still lost the set 25-16.
The closest Santa Clara got to victory was when they led 16-13 midway through the third. But LMU won the next seven points en route to a 25-19 third set that clinched the match.
Santa Clara seemed out of sync for most of the match. They went through long stretches where they couldn’t manage a point and totaled just 23 kills.
But they didn’t have long to think about the loss, as a day and a half later they faced off against Pepperdine. The match was a must win, as Santa Clara couldn’t afford to fall to 2-6 in conference play.
Much of the first set was neck-and neck. The Broncos found themselves sitting with a 23-20 lead, just two points away from the set.
But Santa Clara could not deliver the knockout punch, and Pepperdine ultimately prevailed, winning 30-28.
“There was actually confidence after the first set,” said Coach Wallace. “We felt like when we did our stuff we were scoring points and putting them in a bad position.”
After the quick defeat to LMU and a heartbreaking first set, it would have been easy for Santa Clara to regress. It speaks volumes that this team did just the opposite.
“We had two minutes to reset and we all did,” said Senior Nikki Hess. “We understood what we had to do and sort of just let go of the little lull we had.”
That lull vanished immediately. The Broncos jumped off to an 8-1 lead in the second set and didn’t let up on the intensity, winning the set 25-10.
They cruised in the third set 25-11 and won the match after taking the fourth set 25-14.
“It’s always great to get in a little groove and build confidence,” Hess said.
Santa Clara notched 57 kills on the day, with four different players tallying at least nine.
“(Balance) is everything for us,” said Coach Wallace. “I thought Taylor Odom and Jensen Cunningham hit for very high percentage and had great kills for us.”
Hess led the attack with 19 kills. She’s carried the offense all season, tallying nearly 40 percent of the team’s kills.
“(Hess) was a real warrior for us,” said Coach Wallace.
Santa Clara will travel to University of the Pacific to take on the Tigers on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m. before heading to St. Mary’s College for their match against the Gaels on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1:00 p.m.
Contact Andrew Slap at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.