Bulldogs Fall On The Road To #13 San Diego
SPOKANE, Wash. - Facing a ranked opponent for the second time in conference play, Gonzaga University women's volleyball lost 3-1 (21-25, 25-10, 25-19, 25-10) to No. 13 University of San Diego at the Jenny Craig Pavilion Thursday.
"I felt we came into this match pretty well prepared," fourth-year head coach Dave Gantt said. "We were staunch with our conviction tonight and we did some nice things at times. The key for us is to respond at a high level after closing one set out. San Diego is a great program and they deserve credit too."
With the loss Gonzaga dropped below .500 to a 9-10 overall record and 1-4 in West Coast Conference play. The Toreros improved to 15-3 and 7-0 in the WCC.
The Bulldogs started out strong in the first set. The attack was clicking at a line of .303 compared to the Torero .170 clip. San Diego stayed within two points of the Bulldogs for the majority of the set until redshirt freshman Savannah Blinn smashed the final two points to give GU a 1-0 lead.
"We had some good matchups that we took advantage of," Gantt said. "Savannah and Jordan Gasser both put up quality numbers. I liked our blocking on defense but our response after the set is what concerns me."
Roles reversed in the second set for the Zags and Toreros. The San Diego attack appeared unstoppable and the Torero hitting percentage jumped to .333. USD would out kill and out block GU 17-6 and 4-1 respectively. Going into intermission the match was tied 1-1.
"At times San Diego was doing whatever they wanted," Gantt said. "They responded like a team that plays at a high level. Our response was not nearly as confident as we should be and it showed in the score."
Gonzaga continued to flounder in the third set. San Diego built a 17-4 advantage until the Zags woke up. The Bulldogs would go on a 15-2 run bringing the score to 19-17. The run was a result of a three blocks by junior Meredith Crenshaw but the Bulldog attack was unable to close the gap. San Diego would take a 2-1 lead.
"Good teams communicate, come together and allow themselves to play when tough situations occur," Gantt said. "Generally speaking, younger players learn how to respond during these times from older players and experience. We can continue to coach but our leadership needs to step up."
The fourth set was all Toreros. Two 6-1 runs gave San Diego a lead they would not give up. Senior Terran Poindexter would pick up two kills but GU could only muster a total of five in the set.
"We have hung with Santa Clara, San Francisco and now San Diego at times this year," Gantt said. "I like our resilience but our team needs to believe they have the capacity to do what they believe. We will not back off and we have a cycle we need to continue to try and break."
Gonzaga is back in action Saturday at 1 p.m. when they face Saint Mary's College at the McKeon Pavilion.