Volleyball

Volleyball Closes out Regular Season Tuesday at Saint Mary’s

Kirsten Mead (2) and Jensen Cunningham (23) play their final regular season matches as Broncos on Tuesday night.
Kirsten Mead (2) and Jensen Cunningham (23) play their final regular season matches as Broncos on Tuesday night.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball concludes a three-match road trip and the 2017 regular season on Tuesday night. The Broncos head to McKeon Pavilion for a 7 p.m. first serve against Saint Mary's.

Tuesday's match marks the final contest for Bronco seniors Kirsten Mead, Jensen Cunningham and Erin Reineking.

The Broncos fell in three sets at No. 11 San Diego on Thursday night and No. 9 BYU on Saturday afternoon as part of the WCC's toughest road trip. The loss at San Diego snapped the team's longest WCC winning streak since 2015 (six matches).

The Gaels split matches in their final homestand of the season last week. Saint Mary's fell against Portland in four sets on Thursday before rebounding for a five-set triumph over Gonzaga on Saturday.

GAME DAY LINKS

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THE MATCHUP

• Santa Clara: 15-14/8-9 WCC/7-7 Away | Saint Mary's: 8-19/4-13 WCC/5-6 Home

• SCU All-Time vs. Gaels: 51-23 | First Meeting: 1979

2017: 10/21 @SCU Santa Clara Won 3-0

• 2016: 10/22 @SMC Saint Mary's Won 3-0 | 11/12 @SCU Santa Clara Won 3-0

• Last SCU Road Win: 9/29/15 3-0

• Santa Clara has won six of the last seven matches in the series

THE BRONCOS

Ngozi Nwabuzoh led Santa Clara with a career-high eight kills against the Toreros. She entered the contest with 12 kills in eight matches for the season.

Allison Kantor paced the Broncos offensively at BYU by leading SCU with 13 kills on .258 hitting. She added 10 digs to make it a fifth double-double in the team's last six matches.

Mead leads the WCC with 1,167 assists and ranks second in the conference with 10.51 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).

Cunningham, the reigning WCC Player of the Week, ranks fifth in the conference with a .352 hitting percentage and eighth with .98 blocks/set. She has double-digit kills 19 times on the year and has hit .433 or better in 11 matches. 

Reineking, who joined the team partway through the 2016-17 season, capped Santa Clara's senior day match against the Loyola Marymount with her second-career ace in the deciding set on Nov. 11.

MEAD'S ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

Mead added to her long list of accolades last Thursday as she was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District® 8 Volleyball First Team. Mead, a senior business economics major with a 3.91 GPA, advances to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be announced in December.

The Palo Alto, California native is a two-time WCC All-Academic selection for both indoor and beach volleyball, and likely on her way to a third-straight indoor nod later this month. Last spring, Mead became the first player in Bronco beach volleyball history to be selected for a CoSIDA academic award when she was named to the Academic All-District® 8 Women's At-Large Second Team.

THE GAELS

Saint Mary's snapped a four-match losing streak in its win over the Bulldogs. The Gaels have also defeated Loyola Marymount and San Francisco (twice) in conference play. They have not won back-to-back matches in WCC action this year.

Alexsa Parker leads the conference with 42 aces and ranks second in the WCC with .41 aces/set. Alex O'Sullivan checks in at fourth in the WCC and 37 the in the NCAA with 1.29 blocks/set.

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GO BRONCOS!