Rallying in the third and fourth set, Santa Clara came up short against Gonzaga, falling 3-1 on Saturday in the Leavey Center. Set scores were 21-25, 20-25, 25-19 and 23-25. Santa Clara is 7-7 and 2-3 in the WCC. Gonzaga is 7-8 and 3-3 in the WCC.
Santa Clara hit .221 with 60 kills (22 e, 172 att.). The Broncos collected 59 assists, 78 digs, four service aces, five service errors and four team blocks. Gonzaga hit .250 with 62 kills (20 e, 168 att.). The Zags collected 56 assists, 75 digs, four service aces, five service errors and 12 team blocks.
"Gonzaga applied a lot of pressure all day long, especially from the service line. We couldn't get them into any kind of trouble when we served," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "We have to get a lot better. We have to dig balls. We are playing a lot of freshmen right now who continue to learn on the job. I thought Gonzaga played very well. They played with great energy and fight."
SCU was led by Sabrina Clayton's 16 kills. Nikki Hess had 12 kills and 13 digs. Haley Cameron scored 11 kills and a block solo. Taylor Milton had 10 kills and 19 digs. Katherine Douglas snared 12 digs and Mary Shepherd added 18. Alyssa Anderson had 52 assists and 12 digs.
Gonzaga was led by Savannah Blinn, who scored 21 digs. McKayla Ferris had 13 kills and Kristina Lavrisha had 12. Five Zags had double digit kills.
Nikki Hess started the match with a kill down the line. Taylor Milton got the sideout cross court. The teams tied it up at 3 before a kill by Haley Cameron put the Broncos up 4-3. Sabrina Clayton's swing into the back row landed for a kill, 6-4 Broncos. A service error tied it up 7-7 before a GU kill gave them a sideout. GU scored three of the next four to take an 11-9 lead. Milton's kill cross court off a nice set by Alyssa Anderson gave SCU a sideout. Savannah Blinn and Clayton traded kills off the double block. An error by Imani Wimbush tied it up 12-12. GU scored four of the next five to jump ahead 16-13. A dump by Anderson in the donut gave SCU a sideout. After a couple of Gonzaga points, a Milton kill cross court helped the Broncos sideout. The Zags zoomed ahead 20-17 before a Cameron swing off the single blocker gave SCU the ball. After Gonzaga scored twice, SCU called for time again, down 22-18. Cannon's kill on the slide out of the timeout helped SCU sideout. Just as quick Meredith Crenshaw scored down the line. Clayton crushed it cross court, 23-20 Zags. A kill by Ferris gave the Zags set point. Kristina Lavrisha's attempt from beyond the 10 foot line went into the net. A kill by Blinn gave Gonzaga the set, 25-21. SCU hit .368 with 17 kills (3 e, 38 att.). Gonzaga hit .487 with 22 kills (3 e, 39 att.). There was just one block in the first set, a block solo by Crenshaw.
Gonzaga started the second set on a four-point roll before a Clayton kill gave SCU the sideout. The teams traded points with a Hess kill helping SCU reset, 5-3 Zags. Gonzaga went up 7-4 on a service error by Milton. Hess picked up a kill off the head of Crenshaw and Wimbush hit it out, 8-6 Zags. Clayton's kill of the double block stopped the Zags run, 10-7 SCU. GiGi Cresto picked up an ace to pull SCU within one. Clayton and Cannon picked up the team's first team block of the day for a sideout. Hess flew in from the back row for a kill off the single block. Clayton's serve sailed out and Blinn crushed it for a kill, 14-11 Zags. After a long rally, Blinn's tip attempt fell short, 14-12 Zags. Off a nice set by Anderson, Cameron put it down in the back. With Gonzaga marching ahead 18-14, SCU called for time. The Broncos picked up two more errors and called for time again, down 20-14. After an error, Hess scored a kill cross court. Another ace by Cresto made it 23-17 Zags. A kill by Crenshaw gave the Zags set point. Another back-court kill by Clayton held off the Zags. Clayton then tipped the ball for another point. Milton's kill to a wide-open back court made it 24-20 Zags. Timeout Gonzaga. The Zags won the second set 25-20. SCU hit .355 with 11 kills (6 e, 37 att.). Gonzaga hit .216 with 13 kills (5 e, 37 att.).
After Gonzaga scored twice, Anders scored her first kill in her first set of the day for a Bronco sideout. The Broncos tied it up 3-3 on an error by Blinn. A kill by Hess tied it up 4-4. Cameron tipped and then Hess tipped again to put SCU up 7-5. Milton smacked an ace to a wide open hole in the back row. Timeout Zags. Cameron crushed it again to a wide-open back row, 10-5 Broncos. A kill by Clayton and an error by the Zags pushed the lead to 13-7 Broncos. Gonzaga rallied to score five of the next six to pull within two, 14-12 Broncos. Timeout SCU. The Broncos scored three of the next four out of the huddle, including a kill by Anders. Milton's score gave SCU the ball up 18-14. Cameron blocked Wimbush's attempt all alone and then she collected a sideout on a huge kill in the middle, 20-15 Broncos. A Hess kill off the off-stretched arms of a Zags defender caused Gonzaga to call for time, 21-15 Broncos. Milton's kill off Douglass' body put SCU up 23-16. An error by Ferris gave SCU set point. Clayton hit into the double block for a Zags sideout. Gonzaga scored a kill to hold off set point and then Crenshaw snared a block solo. Cameron's kill off the double block gave the Broncos the third set 25-19. SCU hit .200 with 18 kills (7 e, 55 att.). Gonzaga hit .114 with 11 kills (6 e, 44 att.).
The Zags took a 2-0 lead before Anders scored a kill and Clayton added an ace. The Broncos tied it up 3-3 and then Gonzaga scored a three. Cameron's swat in the back row stopped the rally. A kill by Clayton and a Gonzaga error stopped the Zags rally, down 11-9. Another kill by Clayton, her 14th of the match, gave SCU the ball. The teams traded points with Hess scoring a kill off the team block. The Zags scored a couple, including an ace, to pull ahead 15-12. Timeout Broncos. Gonzaga scored twice out of the timeout before a team block by Cameron and Milton handed SCU the ball. A kill by Hess on a dandy set by Anderson and an error by Crenshaw made it 17-15 Zags. Gonzaga scored a couple time before serving it out, 19-16 Zags. The Broncos scored two of the next three to pull within one. Timeout Gonzaga. After a Bronco service error out of the timeout, Ferris smacked it out for a Bronco sideout, 20-19 Zags. Anders got up for a score and a perfect set by Castro for a Clayton kill gave SCU the lead, 21-20. Timeout Gonzaga. Lacey Maas and Anders went sky-high for a team block. The Zags scored twice with kills to tie it up 22-22. Anders stopped the mini-run with a kill from the middle. Blinn crushed it on back-to-back attempts to give Gonzaga match point. Timeout Broncos. Gonzaga won the point on a kill by Blinn to give Gonzaga the set 25-23. SCU hit .190 with 14 kills (6 e, 42 att.). Gonzaga hit .208 with 16 kills (6 e, 48 att.).