Santa Clara Wins Palo Alto Regional
Dec. 11, 2005
Stanford, Ca - For the first time in school history, the Santa Clara women's volleyball team is heading to the NCAA Final Four.
The Broncos, ranked eleventh in the nation, scored a highly dramatic 22-30, 30-24, 30-26, 15-30, 17-15 victory over fifth-ranked Arizona in the championship match of the Palo Alto Regional at Maples Pavilion.
Kim McGiven, named the co-most outstanding player of the tournament along with Arizona's Kim Glass, led the Broncos with 25 kills and 15 digs. Glass led the Arizona attack with 37 kills while Jennifer Abernathy added 24 kills and 15 digs.
Santa Clara, now 27-4, travels to the NCAA Final Four on Dec. 15 and 17 in San Antonio. The Broncos will face top-ranked Nebraska in one semi-final match while Pac-10 champion Washington will tackle Tennessee in the other semi-final match on Dec. 15 at the Alamodome. The national championship match is slated for Dec. 17.
Arizona led throughout game one. Their biggest lead was eight points at 29-21. A kill by Santa Clara's Annalisa Muratore cut the margin to 29-22, but Glass collected a kill to give Arizona the game (30-22). Arizona hit .378 compared to Santa Clara at .175.
Santa Clara fought back to win game two (30-24). The Broncos jumped to an 11-5 lead and never lost the advantage. Arizona managed to pull within three points at 23-26, but Santa Clara scored four of the next five points to win. Santa Clara only hit .216 but held the Wildcats to a .136 hitting percentage.
Santa Clara continued to dominate the match in game three. Again the Broncos jumped in front and never gave up the lead. Arizona managed a tie at 15-15, but three straight points gave Santa Clara the lead for good. The lead extended to 23-16, but the Wildcats managed a comeback and pulled to within two points at 26-28. But two kills by Brittany Lowe gave Santa Clara the game three victory.
Arizona completely dominated play in game four. Down 5-7, the Wildcats made a 13-2 run to take a 18-9 lead. The lead eventually grew to 13 points (27-14), and the Wildcats eventually closed out the game with a 30-15 victory.
Both teams played the role of championship heavyweight boxers in the fifth game, and the crowd responded. Arizona jumped to a 4-0 lead, and held a 10-7 advantage. Back came Santa Clara to tie the match at 11-11. Both teams refused to cave in. A service error by Arizona, and a kill by McGiven gave the Broncos a 13-11 lead. Back came Arizona to tie the game at 13-13 on kills by Abernathy and Glass. Arizona took a 14-13 lead on a hitting error by Santa Clara, and only needed one more point to take game five and the match. It didn't happen. An attack error by Arizona tied the game at 14-14, and then the Broncos went in front at 15-14 on a McGiven kill. Back came Arizona to tie the game on a Santa Clara hitting error. But the Broncos ended the suspense on a kill by McGiven and a hitting error by Arizona. Santa Clara won game five (15-13) and ended Arizona's season at 25-6.
Co-MVP's - Kim Glass (Arizona); Kim McGiven (Santa Clara)
Jennifer Abernathy - Arizona
Savanah Parra - Ohio
Brittany Lowe - Santa Clara
Caroline Walters - Santa Clara
Crystal Matich - Santa Clara
Arizona (25-6) 30 24 26 30 15
Santa Clara (27-4) 22 30 30 15 17