Volleyball Continues WCC Play at Saint Mary's, Pacific

Santa Clara swept Saint Mary's in the first meeting of the season on Oct. 1 and the Broncos will face Pacific for the first time this season.
Santa Clara swept Saint Mary's in the first meeting of the season on Oct. 1 and the Broncos will face Pacific for the first time this season.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball continues West Coast Conference play on the road this week. The Broncos face Saint Mary's (7-11, 3-5 WCC) Thursday at 7 p.m. and Pacific (11-9, 3-5) Saturday at noon.

Santa Clara (14-7, 4-4) swept Gonzaga on Thursday and came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Portland on Saturday in WCC home matches last week. The Broncos ran their home record to 6-1 on the season, including 4-0 in conference action. They face Saint Mary's for the second time this season after sweeping the Gaels at home on Oct. 1 and face Pacific for the first time this season.


Saint Mary's | Pacific
Live Stats Saint Mary's | Pacific


SCU leads the WCC in total blocks (203.5 – 15th NCAA), blocks/set (2.54 – 33rd NCAA) and opponent hitting percentage (.164 – 29th NCAA). As a team, the Broncos have outblocked the opposition in 19 of 21 matches.

Taylor Odom's 113 total blocks (6th NCAA) and 1.49 blocks/set (7th NCAA) are tops in the conference. Odom has produced at least four blocks in seven straight matches and totaled 42 blocks over that stretch (1.68/set). The middle blocker eclipsed her single-season best block total of 112 (2016-17) in Santa Clara's victory over Portland. She also ranks second in the conference with a .354 hitting percentage.

Julia Sangiacomo logged an 11-kill, 11-dig double-double in Santa Clara's sweep of the Bulldogs, then turned in a 17-kill performance against the Pilots; she has led the team in kills in three straight matches. Sangiacomo posted 10 or more kills in six straight matches to start the season and 11 of the first 13 matches overall.

Allison Kantor notched a career-high 22 digs and tied a career-high mark with six blocks against Portland; she added 14 kills for her fifth double-double of the season. Earlier in the week, she hit .346 with 10 kills against Gonzaga.

Michelle Shaffer leads the WCC and ranks 21st in the country with 36 service aces. She served up three aces in each of Santa Clara's victories last week.

Shaffer, Liliana Light and Gretchen Reinert have played in all 21 matches and all 80 sets on the season. Odom, Kantor and Sangiacomo have also played in all 21 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 68-76 (14-7, 4-4 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: 7-11 (3-5 WCC, 3-5 Home) | 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 52-26 (first meeting 1979)
• 2019: 10/1 SCU won 3-0 @ SCU
• 2018: 10/20 SMC won 3-0 @ SCU | 11/20 SMC won 3-1 @ SMC

The Gaels have won three of their last four matches. They fell against Loyola Marymount in five sets on Thursday and downed Pepperdine in four sets on Saturday at home last week. As a team, the Gaels rank third in the WCC in blocks/set (2.33) and individually, Aubrey Pitts ranks second in the conference in that category (1.35, 26th NCAA).

Elena Baka led all players with 11 kills and Sienna Young posted 10 for the Gaels in the first matchup of the season between these two teams. Julia Sangiacomo and Michelle Shaffer posted nine kills each for the Broncos and Taylor Odom added eight. The Broncos overturned a 23-19 first-set deficit to win the frame 26-24.


• 2019: 11-9 (3-5 WCC, 0-4 Home) | 2018: 13-16 (8-10 WCC)
• Picked to finish t-6th of 10 (Portland) in 2019 WCC preseason poll
• All-time series: Pacific leads 28-10 (first meeting 1975)
• 2018: 9/25 PAC won 3-0 @ PAC | 10/18 SCU won 3-1 @ SCU
• Pacific has won five of the last six meetings in the series

The Tigers continue a four-match homestand by welcoming San Francisco to Stockton on Thursday night before facing the Broncos on Saturday. They fell against Pepperdine in three sets on Thursday and Loyola Marymount in five sets on Saturday of last week. Riley Patterson leads the WCC with 288 kills, 3.51 kills/set and 325.5 total points.

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