ST. LOUIS - Santa Clara got 11 kills from Katherine Douglas and 21 digs from Katy Schatzman and defeated Saint Louis 25-20, 25-23, 25-20 Monday night in the Billikens' home opener at Chaifetz Pavilion.
Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Baumet (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) and freshman outside hitter Lindsey Dinkelacker (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother of Mercy) led the SLU offensive attack with six kills apiece, and senior middle blocker Carly Marcum (Belleville, Ill./Althoff) added five kills and a team-high four blocks. Dinkelacker and junior defensive specialist Grace Bonoma (Chicago, Ill./St. Ignatius) tallied 12 kills each for the Billikens (0-3), while senior setter Cassie Clarke (Fayetteville, Ark./Fayetteville) contributed 22 assists and eight digs.
Taylor Milton and Megan Anders narrowly missed double figures by recording nine kills apiece for Santa Clara (4-0). Alyssa Anderson had 12 digs and Lacey Maas registered a match-high six blocks.
"We're really appreciative of the great turnout and support we had for this match," head coach Kent Miller said. "Our team has been through a tough week, and it was great to have a chance to honor the memory of Megan Boken tonight.
"Santa Clara is a quality opponent that played good, competitive volleyball and exposed some of the weaknesses we have in our lineup right now," Miller said. "I thought our team competed hard. Compared to the tough matches we played at the Nebraska tournament over the weekend, I thought we had a better competitive level. Yet we still need to execute on some things and play a little bit tougher at tight times.
"I'm excited about the senior leadership on this team," Miller said. "Cassie Clarke and Carly Marcum continue to be good, aggressive leaders who help our team every day on the court. I know if we take care of a few things, their impact on the team will help us to more success."
Set one featured four early ties before a 6-1 run gave Santa Clara a 13-8 lead. SLU rattled off four straight points to pull to within one at 13-12, but a 5-1 spurt put Santa Clara on top 18-13.
Two straight kills by Dinkelacker made it 19-17, and Saint Louis was within two points on three more occasions. However, the Broncos collected three consecutive points to close out the set.
Santa Clara built an 8-4 lead in set two, only to see SLU claw back to earn a 13-13 deadlock. Six more ties ensued before the Broncos managed a 3-0 mini-run for a 22-19 lead, and the visitors held the advantage despite seeing the Billikens narrow the gap to a single point three times.
Santa Clara scored the first two points of the third set and maintained the lead until kills by Dinkelacker and Marcum and a block by that tandem tied it at 8-all. The Broncos began to gradually pull away, however, and constructed a 20-14 cushion.
Saint Louis didn't fold, though. A 4-0 flurry cut the deficit to two, and the Bills still were within striking distance trailing 21-19. But a key block ignited a 4-1 Santa Clara run that concluded the match.The Billikens are back in action at Chaifetz Pavilion this weekend as they host Valparaiso, Southern Illinois and South Alabama in the Active Ankle Challenge. Six matches are on the slate (two on Friday, Aug. 31, four on Saturday), with SLU's first match scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. against Valparaiso.