Volleyball Back Home to Face Gonzaga, Portland in WCC Play

Santa Clara brings a 4-1 home record, including a 2-0 mark in WCC play, in to this week's action.
Santa Clara brings a 4-1 home record, including a 2-0 mark in WCC play, in to this week's action.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball is back in Leavey Center for two West Coast Conference matches this week. The Broncos host Gonzaga (6-12, 0-6 WCC) Thursday at 7 p.m. and Portland (9-8, 1-5) Saturday at noon. 

SCU took on the WCC's only teams with undefeated records in conference play on the road last week. The Broncos fell against San Diego on Thursday and No. 9 BYU on Saturday.


Gonzaga | Portland
Live Stats Gonzaga | Portland


Santa Clara has won three straight home matches and is 4-1 on the season in Leavey Center. The Broncos picked up WCC victories over Saint Mary's (Oct. 1 – sweep) and San Francisco (Oct. 4 – four sets) in their first conference home matches of the year earlier this month.

SCU leads the WCC in total blocks (183.0 – 17th NCAA) and blocks/set (2.54 – 35th – NCAA). Taylor Odom's 101 total blocks (6th NCAA) and 1.49 blocks/set (7th NCAA) are tops in the conference. Odom has registered 30 blocks over the last five matches (1.76/set), including seven-plus blocks in three straight matches from Oct. 1-10.

As a team, the Broncos have won the block battle in 17 of 19 matches. They rank second in the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.168).

Liliana Light, Michelle Shaffer and Gretchen Reinert have played in all 19 matches and all 72 sets on the season. Odom, Allison Kantor and Julia Sangiacomo have also played in all 19 matches on the year.


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 66-76 (12-7, 2-4 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: 6-12 (0-6 WCC, 0-4 Away) | 2018: 11-18 (8-10 WCC)
• Picked to finish 8th of 10 in 2019 WCC preseason poll
• All-time series: Santa Clara leads 50-14 (first meeting 1987)
• 2018: 10/4 GU won 3-2 @ GU | 11/3 GU won 3-2 @ SCU
• Four straight matches in the series have gone to five sets

The Bulldogs began the year at 6-1 and have lost 11 consecutive matches; they have won six sets and been swept six times in the last 11 tilts. They lost four-set home matches against Saint Mary's and Pacific last week. Gonzaga ranks second in the conference and 14th in the country with 1.81 aces/set. Kennedy Croft's 0.45 aces/set rank third in the conference and 35th in the NCAA. Sarah Penner (165 kills) and Chapin Gray (145) pace the Zag offense.


• 2019: 9-8 (1-5 WCC, 3-2 Away) | 2018: 20-13 (6-12 WCC)
• Picked to finish t-6th of 10 (Pacific) in 2019 WCC preseason poll
• All-time series: Santa Clara leads 54-13 (first meeting 1979)
• 2018: 10/6 POR won 3-0 @ POR | 11/1 POR won 3-1 @ SCU

The Pilots started the season at 8-2 and are 1-6 in their last seven matches. Portland picked up its first WCC win of the season last Thursday in a five-set match against Pacific before falling to Saint Mary's in four sets on Saturday. Portland is the conference's top serving team at 1.89 aces/set (9th NCAA) and 121 total aces (25th NCAA). Grace Zilbert leads the Pilots from the service line with 26 aces. Liz Riech paces the Portland attack with 225 kills (3.52/set).


GONZAGA MATCH - RUFF RIDERS ONLY - Claradise slap koozie giveaway to the first 150 Ruff Riders.


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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