Volleyball Hosts Saint Mary’s in WCC Home Opener Tuesday

Santa Clara faces a 2018 NCAA Tournament team for the third match in a row and fourth time in five matches on Tuesday night.
Santa Clara faces a 2018 NCAA Tournament team for the third match in a row and fourth time in five matches on Tuesday night.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball plays its first West Coast Conference home match of the 2019 season on Tuesday night. The Broncos host Saint Mary's at 7 p.m. in Leavey Center. 

SCU will face its third straight 2018 NCAA Tournament qualifier in five matches against the Gaels. The Broncos fell to the Loyola Marymount in three sets and Pepperdine in four sets on the road last week.

The match will be live streamed on the WCC Network with play-by-play announcer Anthony Passarelli.


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The Broncos rank 25th in the NCAA and second in the WCC (San Diego) with a .267 hitting percentage. Taylor Odom ranks 13th in the country with 75 total blocks and 26th with 1.36 blocks/set. Alexa Dreyer is the conference's most efficient hitter at .405 (27th in the NCAA) and Michelle Shaffer has served up 27 aces, the most by a WCC player this season (19th in the NCAA).

Allison Kantor had a 14-kill, 19-dig double-double in addition to a 3.64 hitting percentage against the Waves last week. She has 11 or more kills in five of the last six matches and five double-doubles on the season. Her .280 hitting percentage is 96 points above her career average (.184).

Santa Clara is outhitting opponents .267 to .182 and has posted a higher hitting percentage in 11 of 15 matches as well as winning the block battle in 14 of 15 matches.


Michelle Shaffer tied the program record of eight aces in a single match and became the first Bronco to hit that mark in 30 seasons (1989) as the team rolled through the second, third and fourth sets to defeat the Northern Colorado in the South Bay Battle on Sept. 14. The Thousand Oaks, California native is the fourth Bronco to serve up eight aces in a match and the first in the rally scoring era, which began in 2001. She had three aces in four points as part of a 7-0 Bronco run in the second set and five aces in six points as part of a 12-0 Bronco run in the fourth set en route to all-tournament team honors.

Shaffer logged Santa Clara's first 20-20 match since 2017 in Santa Clara's matchup against Denver on Sept. 20, posting 22 assists and 22 digs. Shaffer had a 12-kill, 24-assist, 11-dig triple-double Aug. 31 against Marshall, and is the first Bronco since 2003 and second in program history to record a triple-double and a 20-20 match in the same season (Becky Potter).

Julia Sangiacomo was named West Coast Conference Player of the Week on Sept. 2, 2019 following the first action of her debut season at the Indiana Invitational.

Allison Kantor served up four consecutive aces in the first set of a sweep victory over Indiana on Aug. 31.

Santa Clara started 6-0 for the fifth time in program history (1979, 2002, 2005, 2016) and won all four matches to claim the Indiana Invitational crown on opening weekend (Aug. 30-31). The Broncos also posted their best start through 13 matches since 2014 (five seasons). The team posted a perfect 6-0 record in neutral-site tournament matches and was the only WCC program to win 10 matches in nonconference play.


Erin Lindsey is in her first season as head coach of Santa Clara in 2019. Lindsey joins the Broncos after winning a national championship as an assistant coach at Stanford in 2018. She is the 10th head coach for a program that dates back to 1963 and enters her second stint as a head coach after leading Dartmouth from 2011 to 2015. Her overall record as a head coach is 64-74 (10-5, 0-2 WCC at SCU) and she is the first head coach in Santa Clara history to start 6-0 in her debut season.


• The Broncos return 13 players from 2018, 12 of whom saw the court last season; they posted a 6-24 record. 2019 returners accounted for the following percentages of last year's team stats:
1,220/1,315 kills (93 percent)
839/1,224 assists (69)
87/109 aces (80)
1,039/1,615 digs (64)
191.5/214.5 blocks (89)

• Senior Alexa Dreyer and sophomore Michelle Shaffer played in all 30 matches and all 108 sets a year ago. Shaffer, a 2018 West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team selection, led the team with 297 kills (2.75/set) and ranked second with 294 digs; she had the second-most digs among WCC freshmen. Dreyer led the team in hitting percentage (.273), total blocks (93) and block assists (87).

• Sophomore Liliana Light took the court in 27 of 30 matches, primarily as a setter, and led the team with 687 assists (6.87/set). She finished third on the Broncos in digs (187) and posted six double-doubles.

• Senior Michelle Gajdka and junior Allison Kantor each appeared in 25 matches as outside hitters. Gajdka had 10-plus kills in four straight matches from Aug. 25-31. Kantor started 20 of the last 21 matches after appearing in four of the first nine matches, all off the bench.

Brittany Gillingham (24 matches), Gretchen Reinert (23), Kamrin Caoili (22), Taylor Odom (20), Anna McCreadie (17), Alex Anthony (14) and Kathryn Decker (14) round out the returners that took the court. Natalia Rentsch did not play last season.

• Santa Clara welcomes five newcomers: freshmen Claire Doud, Haley Flanagan, Katie Lawton, Kamaile Manol and Julia Sangiacomo.

• By Class: Seniors (4), juniors (3), sophomores (6), freshmen (5).

• By State: California (11), Washington (3), Oregon (2), Colorado (1), Hawai'i (1).

• The Broncos were picked to finish 9th of 10 teams in the 2019 West Coast Conference preseason poll. BYU was the unanimous pick to win the conference title.


• 2019: 4-7 (0-1 WCC) | 2018: 19-10 (11-7 WCC), NCAA Tournament
• Picked to finish 5th of 10 in 2019 WCC preseason poll
• All-time series: Santa Clara leads 51-26 (first meeting 1979)
• 2018: 10/20 SMC won 3-0 @ SCU | 11/20 SMC won 3-1 @ SMC
• Saint Mary's has won three straight in the series

The Gaels have lost three straight matches, falling twice against No. 24 Cal (3-0 Sept. 19, 3-1 Sept. 21) before opening up conference play with a home defeat against Pacific last Friday (Sept. 27). Alexsa Parker ranks 39th in the NCAA and fourth in the WCC with 0.46 aces/set while Aubrey Pitts ranks 36th in the NCAA and third in the WCC with 1.31 blocks/set.


Season or single-game tickets are available. Click here to purchase online or contact the ticket office weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (408) 554-4660 or BroncoTickets@scu.edu. Group discounts are also available through our ticket office sales and service consultants. Doors to Leavey Center, as well as its ticket office, are open one hour prior to the start of the match.


For weekday matches, the Leavey Center lot (see below for access), located on Accolti Way off El Camino Real, is free beginning one hour prior to first serve. Any other parking facility on campus will be subject to normal daily rates or restrictions, including the main structure, located adjacent to Stevens Stadium on Palm Drive. During the weekend, campus parking facilities are free (except for permit required locations). Click here for a campus map and parking restrictions. The construction of the Stephen C. and Patricia A. Schott Athletic Excellence Center has necessitated the closure of the main entrance (off Accolti Way) to the Leavey Center parking lot. Access is now ONLY directly from El Camino Real (Route 82). If you are traveling east on El Camino Real, the Leavey lot entrance will be approximately 150 yards on the right (enter through the black iron gate) after you pass the main campus entrance. If you are traveling west on El Camino, make a u-turn at the main campus entrance at Palm Drive/Railroad Ave and follow the same directions.

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