Volleyball faces San Diego Thursday, No. 9 BYU Saturday in WCC Play

Santa Clara is fresh off of a 2-0 week with home victories over Saint Mary's and San Francisco.
Santa Clara is fresh off of a 2-0 week with home victories over Saint Mary's and San Francisco.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball hits the road this week to face the only two West Coast Conference teams that are undefeated in WCC play. The Broncos face San Diego (12-4, 5-0 WCC) Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Jenny Craig Pavilion and No. 9 BYU (14-2, 5-0) Saturday at noon in Smith Fieldhouse.

Santa Clara (12-5, 2-2) is coming off of a two-win week in its first conference home matches of the season. The Broncos swept Saint Mary's on Tuesday and downed San Francisco in four sets on Friday. 


San Diego | BYU
Live Stats San Diego | BYU


Santa Clara leads the conference in total blocks (167, 15th NCAA), blocks/set (2.53, 41st NCAA) and opponent hitting percentage (.166, 36th NCAA). The team limited Saint Mary's to a .097 hitting percentage and San Francisco to a -.008 hitting percentage, including a negative hitting percentage for the Dons in each of the last three sets.

The Broncos are outhitting opponents .257 to .166 and have posted a higher hitting percentage in 13 of 17 matches as well as winning the block battle in 16 of 17 matches. They racked up 16 blocks against the Dons, one shy of their single-match best for the season.

Taylor Odom is the WCC's leader in total blocks (90, 5th NCAA) and blocks/set (1.45, 13th NCAA). She totaled 15 blocks in seven sets last week (two solo, 2.14/set). Odom hit .450 with 12 kills against San Francisco and helped Santa Clara to its largest margin of victory in a single set as the Broncos took the fourth frame 25-8 over the Dons to close out the match.

Julia Sangiacomo leads Santa Clara with 207 kills (3.39/set). She has double-digit kills in 12 of 17 matches on the season, including six straight contests to start the year. The freshman notched a career-high with eight blocks against San Francisco, besting her previous best mark of three.

Allison Kantor has 11-plus kills in eight of the last 11 matches. Kantor is hitting .257 on the season, 76 percentage points above her career average of .181.


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 Northern Colorado 3-1 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 (2001-present). 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. Sangiacomo had 54 kills (4.15/set) on .341 hitting to go along with 25 digs, nine aces, two block solos and 66.5 points en route to all-tournament team honors. SCU was one of only two WCC teams to finish opening weekend undefeated.

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 (10-3, five seasons). The team had a perfect 6-0 record in neutral-site tournament matches and SCU 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 66-74 (12-5, 2-2 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: 12-4 (5-0 WCC, 5-1 Home) | 2018: 18-13 (13-5 WCC), NCAA Tournament Third Round
• Picked to finish 2nd of 10 in 2019 WCC preseason poll
• All-time series: San Diego leads 38-34 (first meeting 1979)
• 2018: 10/11 USD won 3-0 @ SCU | 11/10 USD won 3-1 @ USD
• San Diego has won eight straight matchups in the series (Last SCU win – Nov. 1, 2014)

The Toreros own the longest winning streak in the WCC at 10 matches entering the week. They lead the WCC and rank 7th in the NCAA with a .285 hitting percentage. Megan Jacobsen paces the team's offense with a conference-best .396 hitting percentage. Thana Fayad has a team-high 152 kills on the season (2.92/set) and the Toreros have five players averaging 2.21 kills/set or better.


• 2019: 14-2 (5-0 WCC, 6-1 Home) | 2018: 31-2 (17-1 WCC), NCAA Tournament Final Four
• Picked to win WCC in 2019 preseason poll
• All-time series: BYU leads 13-4 (first meeting 1992)
• 2018: 10/13 BYU won 3-0 @ SCU | 11/8 BYU won 3-0 @ BYU
• BYU has won seven straight matchups in the series (Last SCU win – Sept. 26, 2015)

The Cougars own the second-longest winning streak in the WCC at eight matches entering the week. They rank second in the WCC in hitting percentage (.263, 28th NCAA) and opponent hitting percentage (.177). McKenna Miller tops all WCC players with 3.75 kills/set while Whitney Bower ranks first in the conference in aces (31, 18th NCAA) and aces/set (.54, 14th NCAA).

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