Volleyball Blocks Its Way to WCC Victory at Pacific

Taylor Odom (15) set a new career-high mark with 14 blocks on Saturday to match the third-most blocks in a single match by a Bronco in program history.
Taylor Odom (15) set a new career-high mark with 14 blocks on Saturday to match the third-most blocks in a single match by a Bronco in program history.

STOCKTON, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball dominated the net, totaling a season-high 22 blocks, on its way to a West Coast Conference victory at Pacific on Saturday afternoon. SCU defeated the Tigers 14-25, 25-19, 25-19, 27-25 at the Alex G. Spanos Center.

The Broncos (16-7, 6-4 WCC) made it another 2-0 week in conference play, their third of five in the 2019 WCC campaign, after taking down Saint Mary's on Thursday night. They have won four straight matches and six of the last eight overall. The team block total was the highest in a single match since a Nov. 21, 2015 contest at San Diego.

Taylor Odom set a career-high mark and led all players with 14 blocks (all assists) to tie for the second-most block assists and third-most total blocks in a single match in program history. In total, six Broncos produced at least four blocks: Liliana Light (seven), Julia Sangiacomo (five), Alexa Dreyer (five), Allison Kantor (five) and Michelle Shaffer (four). SCU entered the week as the conference's leader in blocks and blocks/set.

Santa Clara's balanced offense featured a team-high 11 kills by Kantor (on .314 hitting) and 10 kills apiece from Shaffer and Sangiacomo on .218 hitting. Shaffer added 12 assists for a double-double and nine digs to finish one dig shy of a triple-double. Sangiacomo and Light (team-high 24 assists) collected nine digs each to finish one dig shy of a double-double. Gretchen Reinert led the team with 19 digs to tie Pacific's Jadyn Tubbs for the match lead.

The Tigers (12-10, 4-6) got a match-best 18 kills from Allison Dennemann and 15 kills from Riley Patterson. They hit .093 for the contest and managed only one block to Santa Clara's 22.

In a back-and-forth second set that featured eight ties and three lead changes, Santa Clara held a 16-15 edge and closed the stanza on a 9-4 run. Odom produced a block assist on three of the last eight points as the visitors tied the match at one set apiece. 

The Broncos produced single-set bests of .270 hitting and eight blocks in the third frame; they used a 5-0 run to pull ahead 13-9 and led by at least two the rest of the way. Sangiacomo led the team with four kills in that set and Odom had five blocks. The Broncos racked up seven blocks in a 16-point span in the middle of the set, including five in nine points by Odom.

SCU built a 17-11 lead in the fourth set before Pacific won 13 of the next 19 points to go on set point at 24-23. Light's kill saved set point for SCU, and after three straight points decided on serves, Kantor produced the match-clinching kill.

Pacific jumped out to leads of 5-1 and 14-5 in a wire-to-wire first-set victory. Dennemann hit .500 (5 kills – 1 error – 8 total attempts) and the team hit .290 to grab the early lead.


"Pacific played well in the first set and was serving us tough. We had some trouble getting into our system on serve-receive and we were putting together a ton of errors too which didn't allow us to be in that first set. We regrouped and talked about playing better volleyball as a whole. Our blocking came on and our hitters started to be smarter about where to attack; that's when we saw the offensive numbers go up as well."

"The block was a huge part of this win. We knew that if we stayed in our system and stayed disciplined about getting our hands over the next, that we would have an opportunity for a big day defensively at the net."


• Odom tied a career-high with 12 blocks on Thursday night in a win over Saint Mary's and posted 26 blocks (3.25/set) in two matches this week.
• Odom is only the second Bronco since 2006 to tally 14 block assists and 14 total blocks in a single match; Jensen Cunningham set program records with 16 block assists and 17 total blocks on Nov. 21, 2015 at San Diego.
• Sangiacomo has double-digit kills in four straight matches and 16 times in 23 matches on the year.
• Pacific leads the all-time series 28-11.


Santa Clara plays one match next week, facing San Francisco Friday night on the road.

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