Dons’ Offense Absent in Loss to Santa Clara

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Matt Sieckert
Staff Writer

The Dons, fresh off of two consecutive victories against WCC rivals Gonzaga and Portland, were eager to continue their winning ways against the SCU Broncos on Friday in San Francisco, Calif. Unfortunately, a season-worst .073 hitting percentage resulted in a three-set sweep of 25-21, 25-18, and 25-19.

The match featured a wave of support from fans, as they packed the stands in pink shirts to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness. Feeding off that energy, USF was able to come out of the gate with a 12-9 lead. Shortly after that, however, the Broncos strung together six consecutive points to pull ahead 17-13, and never look back in route to winning the first frame.

The Dons continued their slump in the second frame, as they never were able to take a lead. The offense was noticeably quiet, with not one member of the team registering double digits in kills, including team leader and Junior Outside Hitter Katarina Pilepic, who only recorded six.

The third set was more or less the same as the first, as the Dons took an early lead of 4-2, before eventually falling behind 6-5 and never retaking the momentum. They would lose the match 25-19.

Sophomore Opposite Hitter Oluoma Okaro led the team with nine kills, while Junior and Senior Setters Kiara McKibben and Jurja Vlasic contributed with 13 and 12 assists, respectively. On the defensive side of the ball, Katarina Pilepic and Sophomore Libero Kim Gutierrez each recorded 8 digs apiece.

“I thought they served us well today, and our players were not patient enough,” said head coach Gilad Doran, according to Dons.com. “If you get impatient, you start making errors. And when you start making errors you become more frustrated.”

The Dons (15-4) now travel down to Southern California to face off against LMU and Pepperdine on October 15 and 17.

Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics

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