Zags vs. San Francisco: Thursday, Oct. 26; 6:00 p.m.
Zags vs. Santa Clara: Saturday, Oct. 28; 12:00 p.m.
The Bulldogs had a light week last week, just playing one match at Portland...they still played plenty of volleyball, however, beating the Pilots in five sets...freshmen Abby Knapp and Gretchen Rudel sparked the offense with career highs in kills at 15 and 10, respectively...on defense, junior Tiyana Hallums became the first Zag to tally 31 digs since 2012, and as a team, the Zags tallied 81 for a season high...higher up the court, Gonzaga out-blocked Portland 13.0-4.0
MAKING THE TURN:
With a 7-2 mark after nine matches, the Bulldogs have their highest win total at the midpoint of the West Coast Conference season in program history...it’s also their second best record after going 6-1 (.857) through seven games in 1990.
Gonzaga has been over .500 in the first half of conference play in three of the last four seasons (also 2014, 2016)...before 2014, that had not happened since 1990.
Last season, the Zags went 5-4 over the second half of WCC play.
THE CENTRE OF THE ZAGS’ SUCCESS:
Gonzaga is 6-1 inside the Martin Centre this season and 4-0 during home conference matches.
The Bulldogs have had winning records at home every season since 2014...they went 7-4 at home in 2014, 9-6 in 2015, and 6-3 last year...Gonzaga extends that streak to this season with just one more win in their final five home matches.
Before 2014, the Zags just had three winning records at home during the Division I era: 10-3 in 1994, 10-2 in 1990, and 11-2 in 1989.
WE’RE ALL FOR MORE VOLLEYBALL:
The Bulldogs have played a lot of extra volleyball already this season, going to five sets nine times.
Gonzaga is 7-2 when going five sets, including 6-0 against conference opponents...GU is 13-3 in five-set matches in the last two seasons.
In 1990, the Zags won 13 five-set matches, going a perfect 13-0 in said contests...they also played in 13 during the 2014 season but won just four of them.
The Bulldog attack has been well-balanced this year...six different Bulldogs have at least 100 kills on the season...only one, MB/OH Kaylie Loewen, has a kills-per-set average above 2.50, but three more are above 2.00...an additional three contribute well over a kill per set.
Seven different Zags have led GU in kills during a match...OH Sarah Penner has paced GU in seven matches...Loewen is one off that mark with six...OPP/S Jenna Kuehn and MB Alyse Whitaker have also led Gonzaga during multiple matches.
Multiple Zags have reached double-digit kills in 13 of the Zags’ 21 matches...on Oct. 5, five Zags reached that milestone against Pepperdine.
FIRST YEAR, NO FEAR:
The Zags have seven freshmen on the roster, six of which have taken the court...OH Sarah Penner leads the team with 187 kills – second-most by a freshman in the WCC this season – and OH Chapin Gray is fourth in the WCC, third on the team with 164...both average over two kills a set.
DS/OH Gretchen Rudel has played in 56 sets, third-most among the freshmen, and has 55 digs, 0.98 per frame...OPP Abby Knapp comes next at 39 sets...she’s registered 55 kills and 21 blocks...those two played key roles in the Zags’ win at Portland Oct. 21.
DS Julia Talarico has played in 14 sets this season, tallying 14 digs for a 1.00 d/s rate...S Mary Marzo has played in 13 frames, posting 30 assists.
In all, the freshmen have landed 419 kills this year, 41.8% of the team’s total...they’ve also tallied 224 digs (19.8%) and 25 service aces (25.5%).
ON THE DONS:
San Francisco is 3-20 on the year and still looking for its first conference victory...the Dons lost at home to Pacific and on the road to Saint Mary’s last weekend.
Erica Ronda is the team’s primary attacker with 232 kills (2.86 a frame), and Carly Lowry is just four shy of the 200 mark...Erin Anthony handles setting duties, dishing out 8.31 assists a set.
Defensively, Marjolijn Oskam has blocked 79 opponent attacks, 1.04 per set, and Laura Leap is at 63 and 0.78, respectively...Sabrina Blackwell leads the way with 233 digs...Camille Araujo has also dug up over 200 attacks.
ON THE BRONCOS:
Santa Clara is 10-12 overall and 3-7 in WCC action...most recently, the Broncos split a home weekend, falling to Pacific in four sets but downing Saint Mary’s in five.
Offensively, they are led by Michelle Gajdka and Jensen Cunningham, who average 3.20 and 3.08 kills every set...the experienced Kirsten Mead is the lone setter and has doled out 902 assists this season, an average of 10.61 a set.
Mead leads the team with 232 total digs, but Tatiana San Juan tops the squad with 3.71 digs per frame...four more Broncos average over two digs a set...Jensen Cunningham leads with just over a block a set and 86 total.