SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Closing out a weekend at home, Santa Clara volleyball beat Saint Mary's 3-2 Saturday afternoon by set scores of 25-18, 21-25, 25-10, 24-26, 15-13.
Michelle Gajdka (20 kills/15 digs), Chloe Loreen (15 kills/25 digs), and Kirsten Mead (62 assists/17 digs) all registered double-doubles for the Broncos (10-12, 3-7 WCC) who also got 20 kills from Jensen Cunningham and 21 digs from Taylor Laugero.
The Gaels (6-14, 2-8 WCC) hit just .120 on the day and got a double-double from Lindsay Knudsen (13 kills/20 digs). Lindsey Calvin (12) and Morgan Hughes (10) also registered double-digit kills.
In the fifth frame, Santa Clara scored the first five points but Saint Mary's came back with five in a row of its own. The two teams went back and forth with the biggest lead being a 13-10 Bronco advantage before Cunningham closed out the victory with a kill off an assist from Mead.
In a back-and-forth fourth set, Santa Clara got on top 24-22 but couldn't put the Gaels away as they scored four in a row to force a decisive fifth stanza.
Santa Clara's most dominant set of the day was the third. The Broncos started with a 4-0 run and closed out the game by scoring the final 10 points.
SCU scored nine of 10 points early in the first set to get on top 9-3, but Saint Mary's fought back with a 6-0 run later in the game to cut the Bronco lead to 17-15. After a timeout, Santa Clara answered with four points in a row and scored eight of the final 11 to take a 1-0 lead.
- Santa Clara is now 51-23 all-time against Saint Mary's and has won six of the last seven.
- Mead moved into fifth place all time for the Broncos in career assists with her 12th assist of the match in the second set. She passed Julie Jamile (1987-90, 3,875 career assists). Mead ranks second all-time for Broncos that spent their entire careers in the rally-scoring era. She finished the day with 3,926 career assists.
- Mead has at least 30 assists in 20 of 22 matches this season, at least 40 in eight, at least 50 in six and at least 60 in three.
- Loreen's double-double was her sixth of the year and fourth in as many matches. She also set a career-high with her 25 digs.
- Gajdka now has eight double-doubles on the year and two in her last three matches.
- Cunningham set a season-high with 20 kills and has double-figures in 16 matches.
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"I'm really proud of our girls. Chloe Loreen is learning on the job and did a great job for us today. Jensen Cunningham is a rock star; she's doing a great job leading our group right now. Kirsten Mead is a warrior; from serving to blocking to setting to defense, it's amazing what she does for us."
"It's nice to see the team grow up, mature and compete like that."
- Head coach Jon Wallace
The Broncos return to the floor Thursday at Portland for a 7 p.m. start.
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