Volleyball

Streaking Volleyball Heads to San Diego to face No. 11 Toreros Thursday

Taylor Odom and the Broncos are on their longest WCC winning streak since 2015 at six matches.
Taylor Odom and the Broncos are on their longest WCC winning streak since 2015 at six matches.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball looks to extend its six-match winning streak Thursday night in the first of two West Coast Conference matches against ranked opposition this week. The Broncos head to San Diego to face the No. 11 Toreros for a 7 p.m. first serve in Jenny Craig Pavilion.

SCU added to its year-long winning streak by completing the season sweep of Pepperdine in four sets on Thursday and downing Loyola Marymount in five sets on Saturday as part of senior day. The Broncos own the second-longest active winning streak in the conference; San Diego has the longest at 11 matches.

Jensen Cunningham was named WCC Volleyball Player of the Week on Monday. The senior middle blocker hit .411 with 31 kills (3.44 kills/set), five digs and 12 total blocks (three block solos, nine block assists) between the two wins. She combined with fellow senior Kirsten Mead on a block to finish off the opening stanza on Thursday night and came through with the match-clinching kill in the fourth frame. 

San Diego has swept four consecutive matches, including road contests at Portland last Thursday and Gonzaga last Saturday. The Toreros are tied for first in the WCC with No. 9 BYU, whom the Broncos face on Saturday afternoon.

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THE MATCHUP

• Santa Clara: 15-12/8-7 WCC/6-5 Home | San Diego: 21-4/14-1 WCC/8-2 Home

• SCU All-Time vs. Toreros: 34-35 | First Meeting: 1979

2017: 9/22 @SCU San Diego Won 3-0

• 2016: 9/24 @USD No. 7 San Diego Won 3-0 | 11/17 @SCU No. 11 USD Won 3-0

• Last SCU Win: 11/1/14 3-2 @SCU

• Last SCU Win @USD: 10/2/14 3-1

• San Diego has won five straight in the series

THE BRONCOS

Santa Clara's last six-match winning streak in WCC play was in 2015. The Broncos can match their longest conference winning streak since 2007 with a victory over the Toreros.

Kirsten Mead leads the WCC with 1,115 assists and ranks second in the conference with 10.62 assists/set. The senior setter has hit a pair of milestones this year by reaching 1,000 assists for the season (Nov. 3 at San Francisco) and 4,000 assists for her career (Oct. 28 at Gonzaga). Mead has topped 1,000 assists three times in four years with the Broncos.

Cunningham ranks third in the conference with a .360 hitting percentage and 10th with .98 blocks/set. She set single-match program records with 16 block assists and 17 total blocks on Nov. 21, 2015 at San Diego.

Taylor Laugero was limited to six sets in three matches during the team's first 17 tilts of the year due to injury. The sophomore libero has played in all 42 sets of Santa Clara's last 10 matches and is averaging 4.05 digs/set over that stretch, during which the Broncos are 8-2. Santa Clara is 10-3 overall with Laugero on the court this year.

Senior Erin Reineking, who joined the team during the 2016-17 season, capped Santa Clara's senior day match against the Lions with her second-career ace in the deciding set.

THE TOREROS

San Diego's last defeat, its only loss in WCC play, came against then-No. 9 BYU on Sept. 30, 2017 at home. The Toreros avenged their loss with a four-set road victory at then-No. 8 BYU on Oct. 27. USD has lost only five sets in its last 11 matches and has 17 sweeps this season.

Kristen Gengenbacher leads the WCC with 11.59 assists/set. Kaity Edwards tops the conference with a .408 hitting percentage and Addie Picha ranks second with a .399 hitting percentage. As a team, San Diego is first in the conference and fourth in the NCAA with 14.91 kills/set.

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GO BRONCOS!