Women receive runner-up spot in Santa Barbara
THE SANTA CLARA
September 25, 2014
The Santa Clara women’s volleyball team traveled to the University of California, Santa Barbara on Friday, Sept. 19 for the UC Santa Barbara/Cal Poly Invitational and placed second after facing three opponents in two days.
Going into the tournament with eight wins and two losses, the Broncos aimed to improve.
The team began tournament play against the host and fell to the Gauchos in three sets.
“We had a hard time just settling into the match and playing our game,” said freshman setter Kirsten Mead. “We allowed UCSB to take control of the game and go on serving runs. UCSB had the momentum throughout the majority of the match, and we were struggling to side out.”
In their second game against Northern Illinois University on Sept. 20, Santa Clara defeated the Huskies in straight sets.
“(Mead and freshman Natasha Calkins) are making an impact,” said junior Danielle Rottman, an outside hitter for the Broncos. “(Mead) is running a 5-1 offense her first year on the team and is doing a great job. (Calkins) was unstoppable in the middle and contributed to both of our wins.”
Just a couple hours later, Santa Clara took on California Polytechnic State University in their final match of the tournament. They lost the first and third set to the Mustangs but came out on top with a score of 3-2.
Broncos’ Head Coach Jon Wallace said that the team was fatigued going into their second match of the day, but they handled it and performed well in the sets that they won.
Sophomore and outside hitter Nikki Hess’ outstanding performances during the UCSB and NIU games earned her a spot on the All-Tournament team.
“(Hess)’ a stud,” said Wallace. “She carries a big load for us… she has to pass, she has to hit, she has to play defense, block, she does a lot for us and being only a sophomore and being able to do that many things at the level that she does — it is awesome for us.”
Their efforts allowed the Broncos to clinch second place in the tournament and raise their record to 10-3 on the season.
The team credits some of their success at this tournament to their determination. The group did not let their loss to Stanford University on Sept. 13 affect them going forward.
“Losing is never our desired outcome,” said Rottman. “(After the loss) we got back in the gym and were able to work on things that broke down during the Stanford match.”
“Every opportunity that comes in front of us, be it success or failure, we’re trying to learn from,” he said. “There were some times where we broke down and we try to get better at that the next day at practice.”
Looking forward, the Broncos will begin interconference play in the West Coast Conference.
“We’ve got a really tough schedule ahead of us, we have three top-25 opponents in our conference this year and those will always be big matches,” Wallace said. “Every match will be tough, but it’s going to be exciting.”
Rottman also shared that she is looking forward to playing all of Santa Clara’s WCC rivals in the coming weeks.
The Broncos’ first conference game is Friday, Sept. 26 at the University of San Francisco and their next home game is Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. against University of the Pacific.
Contact Claire McLoughlin at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.