Volleyball

Volleyball’s Six-Match Winning Streak Snapped at No. 11 San Diego Thursday Night

Ngozi Nwabuzoh had a career-high eight kills to lead the Bronco offense on Thursday night.
Ngozi Nwabuzoh had a career-high eight kills to lead the Bronco offense on Thursday night.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball battled on Thursday night and played a close second set with No. 11 San Diego, but fell to the Toreros 25-15, 27-25, 25-12 in Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Broncos had their six-match West Coast Conference winning streak snapped in the defeat.

Ngozi Nwabuzoh turned in a career-high eight kills to lead Santa Clara. Kirsten Mead recorded her 16th double-double of the year for the Broncos (15-13, 8-8 WCC) with 19 assists and 12 digs.

The Toreros (22-4, 15-1 WCC) extended the conference's longest active winning streak to 12 matches. Lauren Fuller (12 kills), Jayden Kennedy (11) and Addie Picha (10) spearheaded a balanced attack set up by Kristen Gengenbacher, who had 43 assists and setting the team to a .351 hitting percentage.

Santa Clara produced a 5-0 stretch in the second set, fueled by an ace from Taylor Laugero and two kills from Jensen Cunningham, to take a 15-11 lead. The Broncos matched the four-point edge two more times and were on set point at 25-24.

The Toreros countered with a timeout and produced a pair of blocks around a Picha kill to go up a pair of sets. Picha combined with Kennedy on a block to close out the set. 

San Diego went on a 5-0 run and won eight of nine points to go in front 14-7 in the first set. The Toreros maintained at least a five-point advantage the rest of the way. They hit .464 on en route to the early match lead, including six kills from Kennedy.

Following the intermission, San Diego took early control of the third set by winning seven of eight points to take a 13-5 lead. The Toreros closed the match on a 7-2 spree. They have won 17 straight sets dating back to a 3-1 at BYU on Oct. 27.

NEXT UP

Santa Clara plays its second straight road match against a ranked opponent when it visits No. 9 BYU on Saturday at noon. The Cougars swept San Francisco on Thursday night.

NOTES

• Santa Clara is 34-36 all-time against the Toreros.

• The matchup featured the previous two WCC Players of the Week in Cunningham (Nov. 13) and Kennedy (Nov. 6).

• SCU had not been swept in its previous 12 matches entering Thursday night.

• The Broncos have played without freshman outside hitter Chloe Loreen for six straight matches due to injury.

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