This past weekend the Dons headed out to Main Beach for the Santa Cruz Invitational, co-hosted by USF and Santa Clara. USF came away with an improved record at the end of the day, defeating CSUN decisively 4-1 and Cal Poly 3-2. Sadly they were unable to topple co-host Santa Clara who came out on top by a margin of 3-2.
First up for the Dons were the CSUN Matadors. USF took a quick lead when sophomore Oluoma Okaro and senior Sara Staengle had a relatively easy two set victory against the CSUN pair of Haake and Leiphardt, 21-16, 21-17. Next up were senior Katarina Pilepic and senior Jurja Vlasic who, after winning their first set 21-16, were defeated in the second by the same margin. They stormed back in the third set however with a 15-11 win.
Junior Emily Reed and senior Courtney Sabahi also won in three sets after going down 0-1 in their first. Sophomore Jessica Gaffney and junior Kiara McKibben put the icing on the 4-1 victory with a straight set win over Dragovic and Maas. Despite coming away with another notch in the W category the Dons were not able to get the 5-0 sweep. Senior Jessica Keenan and sophomore Kim Gutierrez fell in the final game in two straight sets.
The next team across the net from the Dons was Cal Poly. USF would have a much harder time in this matchup despite pulling out the win in the end. Once again it was Okaro and Staengle up first for the Dons. This time however it was the Dons duo on the losing end in a three set defeat. Not to be discouraged the USF came roaring back winning all three of their next four matchups and securing their win.
Despite a spectacular start to the Invitational USF stumbled in their final matchup of the day against Santa Clara. The Dons and Broncos had faced off earlier in the season with the Dons coming out on top 3-2, yet this time it would be the Broncos winning by that same margin of victory. Both teams traded sets for the first four games with Santa Clara taking the first and third and USF taking the second and fourth. It all came down to the final set which featured Kennan and Gutierrez against the pair of Dutra and Shepherd from SC. The Dons duo put up a good fight but ended up losing in straight sets.
These three games bring the Dons overall record to 12-2, putting them in second place just behind Pepperdine in the WCC standings. Next up for the Dons will be a matchup against Bakersfield on Thursday before they head to the USAV Collegiate Challenge.
Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics