Team defeats No. 11 and No. 30- ranked opponents
THE SANTA CLARA
November 6, 2014
Facing a tough two-game stretch, the Broncos shocked the nation twice, easily beating No. 11 Brigham Young University in straight sets and taking down No. 30 University of San Diego in a tight, five-set match.
Women’s volleyball challenged the Cougars on Oct. 30 and came out with the upset victory in three sets.
The win brought their record to 17-7 on the season and added a fourth win over a top-25 school to their tally.
Sophomore outside hitter Nikki Hess, who stacked the offensive stat sheets, recorded 18 kills and seven digs.
“We were more focused on our previous game against BYU,” said Hess. “We were all really pumped before the game and we just kept saying ‘We’re beating BYU today’ so that got us in a positive mindset.”
Senior outside hitter Taylor Milton also had a busy game with five digs, eight kills, two aces and three block assists.
She mentioned that coming back to Leavey Center after four games on the road contributed to the team’s success.
“It was nice to finally come back home and play on our own court,” said Milton.
Coach Jon Wallace echoed her sentiments, saying playing on their home court helped the team focus.
As a senior, Milton was committed to defeating the Cougars one last time before her season and Santa Clara career ends.
“It was really important to come out with a third win,” said Milton. “Not only to help us for the season itself, but also because I wanted to end my career beating them for the last time.”
Hess did not want to forget the rest of the team’s efforts that went into overcoming the No. 11-ranked team in the country. She stressed her teammates’ importance in the win as well.
“Volleyball is always a team win; everyone needs to do their job for us to do well,” Hess said.
With only one day of rest after their stunning upset against BYU, the Broncos took the court once more at Leavey Center to face the No. 30-ranked Toreros.
This game took five sets, but Santa Clara added another win to their record and sent the Toreros back to San Diego with a loss.
Milton had another huge output in their second straight win against a ranked team. She recorded 16 kills, 15 digs and four block assists.
“(The final set) came down to realizing this was our last and only opportunity we had to beat them,” said Milton. “There were a few things we had to capitalize on and I wanted to be able to do my best to take some authority and push our way into our last game and finish strong.”
The two teams traded sets, USD taking the first and third, Santa Clara taking the second and fourth.
Coach Wallace said Thursday’s victory pushed the girls through their fatigue and helped them steal the final set from the Toreros.
“Coming off a big win like that helps you,” Wallace said. “The girls carried the momentum from Thursday night into Saturday and did a great job.”
Hess agreed that the victories were a result of the whole team’s focus and determination.
Walking away with wins over two top teams in the West Coast Conference put the Broncos in a position of confidence for their next week of play.
Santa Clara now sits at third in the WCC with a conference record of 8-4 and an overall record of 18-7.
They travel to Gonzaga University on Nov. 6.
Earlier this season, the team fell to the Bulldogs in a tough five-set loss.
However, with a strong weekend of play behind them, the Broncos have all the momentum to upend Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. Santa Clara will look to continue their winning ways.
Claire McLoughlin is a sophomore English major.