SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball begins the 2019 season with back-to-back doubleheader days at the Indiana Invitational. The Broncos open the year against Florida International at noon Pacific on Friday, then face UT Martin right after the first match at 2:30 p.m. They take on Marshall at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by a 5 p.m. tilt against the tournament host Hoosiers.
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.
The Broncos have won four of their last five season-opening matches. They will play against each of this week's opponents for the first time in program history.
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First-year head coach @Coach_ELindsey and junior outside hitter @allison_kantor preview the 2019 season, which begins tomorrow at the Indiana Invitational!— Santa Clara Volleyball (@scuvolleyball) August 30, 2019
FULL VIDEO ▶️ https://t.co/uwEBLZKu3J#StampedeTogether #SCUBroncos pic.twitter.com/GkXCb5Fipa
• 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.
• 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.
• 2018: 19-12
• Picked to finish 6th of 13 in 2019 Conference USA preseason poll
The Panthers had three stretches last season in which they won five of six matches. They reached the Conference USA championship final for the first time in program history and fell to Rice 3-0 in that match. Sophomore Abbie Hughes earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors; she led the team with 1,019 assists (8.9/set) and 292 digs.
• 2018: 14-17
• Picked to finish 7th of 12 in 2019 Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll
The Skyhawks bring back five full-time starters from the 2018 campaign. Senior Hannah Phillips earned Second Team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors after leading the squad with 170 kills in conference action; she totaled 295 for the year.
• 2018: 10-19
• Picked to finish 10th of 13 in 2019 Conference USA preseason poll
Senior Ciara Debell earned Second Team All-Conference USA honors a season ago. She led the Herd with 437 kills (4.24/set), the sixth-most in a single season in program history. Ariana Aganus is in her first season as Marshall's head coach after spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Grand Canyon.
• 2018: 16-15
• Picked to finish 11th of 14 in 2019 Big Ten preseason poll
Indiana began the 2018 season with an 11-3 record before going 5-12 to close out the year. The Hoosiers faced a nationally-ranked team 10 times in their last 17 contests and a top-10 team six times over that span. Senior Deyshia Lofton led the 2018 team with a .336 hitting percentage (fifth-best in program history) and 130 total blocks en route to Second Team All-Big Ten honors.
The Hoosiers will play the first home matches in their new arena, Wilkinson Hall, as part of the season-opening tournament.
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