MORAGA, Calif. - Santa Clara was unable to complete a five-set comeback victory on the road, falling to Saint Mary's 25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 17-25, 15-12 on Tuesday.
Chandler Cowell had 13 kills, Elena Baka registered a double-double (12 kills/13 digs) and Kristen Erland tallied 12 kills for the Gaels (7-5, 1-2) in the West Coast Conference matchup.
Santa Clara had the momentum heading into the fifth set, but the Gales posted the first three points. The Broncos went ahead 10-9 on a kill by Sangiacomo. However, Baka answered with a kill and two attack errors pushed the Gaels back into the lead they didn't relinquish. Erland had a kill to reach match point and Ella Sandt finished it off with a service ace.
Shaffer had a season-high seven aces and Nani Spaar had her most productive match of the season with seven kills.
- Michelle Shaffer was just one shy of her season-high of 20 kills, set against Auburn (Sept. 12). She has posted double-digit kils in all but one of the team's 13 matches.
- Julia Sangiacomo (16) had at least 15 kills for the fifth match this season.
- Alex Anthony had a season-high 9.0 blocks for the second-straight match.
- Saint Mary's led by as many as five in the opening set before the Broncos pulled ahead 19-18. A kill from Alex Anthony evened the score at 21-all, but with Ella Sandt on serve the Gaels scored the final three points.
- Saint Mary's never trailed in the second set and outhit the Broncos .286 to .069.
- Sangiacomo (five) and Shaffer (four) combined for nine of the team's 14 kills in the third, which was tied five times.
- The fourth set was tied five times, including at 14-all. But it was all Broncos from there as they scored six straight which included two aces from Shaffer.
- Santa Clara now leads the all-time series 54-28. The Broncos won both meetings in 2019, but the teams split the two meetings in the spring during the postponed 2020 season. The Gaels have won six of the last 11 matchups.
We did not come out with a high enough level of play to start the match. They did a really nice job in serve and pass and we were not able to take good enough swings out of our system to compete. We made a few adjustments and Nani Spaar came in and really gave us the lift we needed by putting a solid block up against their right side attackers. Both Julia and Michelle were able to start to find more ways to score which put us in great position going into the fifth. We battled hard but again just a few missed opportunities and tough serving by Saint Mary's at the end didn't allow us to close out. I am really excited with the fight we are showing in these matches and we will continue to work for the Ws.
- Head coach Erin Lindsey
The Broncos play BYU at home on Thursday. First serve is set for 6 p.m.
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