Volleyball

 
October 10, 2000

No. 21 Volleyball Travels to CS Sacramento, North Carolina/Nike Classic

Sept. 12, 2000

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This Week No. 21 Santa Clara volleyball (5-1) will play four matches for the second straight week. The Broncos start the week with a Tuesday match at CS Sacramento and then travel east for the North Carolina Tournament, playing Delaware on Friday and Louisville and North Carolina on Saturday.

The Opponents CS Sacramento holds a 7-9 over Santa Clara, but the Broncos ended a six match losing streak to the Hornets with a 3-2 win last season. Sacramento State went 22-10 last season, reaching the NCAA Tournament and return three starters from that team that is currently 5-3. When the Broncos arrive in Chapel Hill, N.C., for this weekend's tournament, they will be facing three opponents for the first time in Delaware, Louisville and host North Carolina. Delaware went 12-21 in 1999 and return four starters while Louisville went 19-12 and was selected to the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals return five starters. North Carolina advanced to the second round of the 1999 NCAA Tournament, finishing the season with a 28-6 record. Three starters from that team return this year.

In the Rankings Santa Clara entered the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll for the first time in seven years, ranked 21st in the poll's second edition, released Sept. 11. The Broncos haven't been ranked since the 1993 squad went 22-10 and reached the NCAA Tournament. Santa Clara was ranked for seven straight weeks that season, peaking at No. 19 for three weeks. The Broncos earned the ranking by sweeping two top-25 opponents last week. Santa Clara defeated then-No. 11 Pacific in Stockton on Sept. 5, and defeated then-No. 19 Baylor in the opening match of the Starwoods Plaza Classic in Tucson, Ariz., on Sept. 8.

Santa Clara's schedule features seven ranked opponents over nine matches. Remaining on the schedule are WCC foes Pepperdine, ranked ninth, Loyola Marymount, ranked 21st. The Broncos will also face No. 13 UC Santa Barbara in a non-conference match on Halloween, Oct. 31 ,and will close out the regular season at 11th-ranked Stanford on Nov. 21.

Last Week
Santa Clara Upsets Pacific
Santa Clara posted its first big win of the season, sweeping 11th-ranked Pacific Sept. 5 at the Spanos Center. With the 15-13, 17-15, 15-12 victory, the Broncos ended Pacific's 15-match home win streak and defeated the Tigers for the first time in 25 meetings, dating back to 1975. Four Bronco attackers reached double figures, led by Brook Terhune and Annika Dell with 14 kills apiece. Amy Kohl added 12 while Ynez Carrasco posted 11. Setter Roz Pelayo posted a career-high 21 digs on the night.

Santa Clara Places Second at Starwoods Plaza Classic Santa Clara swept its second straight ranked opponent, defeating No. 19 Baylor Sept. 8 to open the Starwoods Plaza Classic, hosted at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Santa Clara won 15-7, 15-13, 15-13, posting 23 kills and a .437 hitting percentage in the first frame. Baylor was up 13-11 in the final two games, but each time, Santa Clara pulled out the win. Baylor fell to 5-1, its 15-match winning streak ended by the Broncos. Santa Clara is now 3-0 all-time against the Bears, dropping just one game in the series. Santa Clara swept its second opponent later that day, defeating New Mexico State Santa Clara won 15-12, 15-4, 15-2, with freshman Jessie Mechem leading all attackers with 11 kills. Junior Jami Bari added 10 kills for the Broncos while junior Merrin Thompson added six service aces. Defensively for the Broncos, freshman Becky Potter posted six blocks. The team lost its first match of the season on Sept. 9, falling to No. 14 Arizona to conclude the Classic. Santa Clara was led for the second straight match by freshman Jessie Mechem, who led all attackers with 13 kills. Jami Bari added 12 kills. For the weekend, seniors Ynez Carrasco and Amy Kohl were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Hot Start Heading into the Arizona match, Santa Clara's 5-0 mark was the best season-opening record for the program in 17 years, surpassing the 1983 squad's 4-0 start. In 1979, Santa Clara began its season with six straight wins, a program best, but was not able to match that all-time high with the loss to Arizona. Santa Clara began to make history after its third win of the season, as a Bronco team had only started the year with a 3-0 mark four previous times, last in 1993.

Streak Busting While Santa Clara was extending its winning streak, it ended two this past week as well. With the sweep of then-11th-ranked Pacific on Sept. 5, the Broncos ended Pacific's 15-match home win streak and defeated the Tigers for the first time in 25 meetings, dating back to 1975.. Three days later, on Sept. 8, Santa Clara upset its second straight ranked opponent by sweeping then-No. 19 Baylor to end the Bears' 15-match win streak.

Experience Counts Santa Clara is hoping the combined experience of five seniors and six returning starters from a squad that went 21-11 last season--advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament--will pave the way for the program to keep moving forward. Last season marked the program's most wins in a season since the 1993 squad posted 22 victories. It was also the program's second straight 20-win season, a feat that hadn't been repeated since 1991-93.

Beating the Best With its sweep of Baylor, Santa Clara improved its record to 3-1 against last year's NCAA Tournament teams. The Broncos defeated Colorado in five games to win the PowerBar Invitational and swept 1999 NCAA semifinalist Pacific last week. The loss came to 14th-ranked Arizona on Sept. 9. The next match against last year's NCAA field is tonight against CS Sacramento. The Broncos will also face 1999 NCAA Tournament participants Louisville and North Carolina this weekend, as well as Southeast Missouri State, San Diego, Pepperdine, LMU, UC Santa Barbara and finalist Stanford later in the season.

Broncos on the Rise Santa Clara won 21 matches last year, the first time the Broncos put together back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1992-93. The 21 wins in 1999 also made Santa Clara the first team in West Coast Conference history to improve its season victory total in six consecutive seasons.

In 3s Santa Clara's trio of consecutive sweeps against Pacific, Baylor and New Mexico State last week marked the third year in a row the Broncos have posted back-to-back-to-back sweeps of teams. In 1999, Santa Clara did it twice: against Wisconsin-Green Bay, Northern Illinois and Florida State and over Georgia, Iowa and Nevada-Las Vegas. In 1998 the team consecutively swept Pepperdine, California and Saint Mary's.

In the WCC Santa Clara was selected by conference coaches to place third in the West Coast Conference. Receiving one first-place vote, the Broncos garnered 39 points from league coaches. Pepperdine was picked to defend its 1999 WCC title with 48 points, followed by Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, San Diego, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, Gonzaga and Portland.

A Change of Scenery Due to reconstruction of the Leavey Event Center, Santa Clara volleyball will play its home season in the newly-built Pat Malley Recreation Center. The Broncos play 21 of 30 matches on the road, with the home opener Oct. 8 vs. George Mason. The Malley Center has a capacity of 500.

Into the Recordbooks Santa Clara seniors are rewriting the school's recordbooks. In kills, Ynez Carrasco is currently second all-time in Santa Clara recordbooks, needing only 203 kills to surpass Lia Young's career mark of 1,496 set in 1990-93. Amy Kohl is fifth, with 920 kills. Both are also top five in career kill average. Kohl and Annika Dell are top six in hitting percentage while Carrasco enters the charts defensively as well, seventh on the list with 904 digs and sixth in dig averge. Dell also made the top 10 career block average, entering the season with a 0.78 mark. Roz Pelayo became Santa Clara's all-time assist leader, break Kris Kosnoski's record of 4,421 (1990-93). She currently has 4,579. She also owns five of the top single-match assist totals in school history, including a school-record 91-assist performance against Pepperdine last season. Her 1,678 assists she charted last season ranks her third on the WCC single-season record list. She needs 784 assists to break Tracy Holman's WCC career record.

The Starting Lineup Santa Clara returns a full starting lineup from the 1999 season, with four of the six starters entering their senior seasons. They are seniors Ynez Carrasco, Roz Pelayo, Annika Dell and Brook Terhune, as well as junior Jami Bari and sophomore Chrissy Hirsch. Senior Amy Kohl plays a key role off the bench.

Senior Outside Hitter Ynez Carrasco As the leading offensive threat last season, Carrasco returns to the Bronco lineup as an outside hitter for her final stint at Santa Clara. A fearsome front-line player, she can control a match with her athletic ability. The 1999 first-team All-WCC selection will be a prime candidate for 2000 All-America honors. She is currently second on the team in kills and kills per game with 83 and 4.15, respectively. She leads the team defensively, averaging 3.15 digs per game. She has been named to the All-Tournament Teams of both the Colorado PowerBar Invitational and the Starwoods Plaza Classic. Currently second all-time in Santa Clara recordbooks, Carrasco needs 203 kills to surpass Lia Young's career mark set in 1990-93.

Senior Setter Roz Pelayo In her third year as the Broncos' starting setter, Pelayo became Santa Clara's all-time assist leader, breaking Kris Kosnoski's record of 4,421 (1990-93). She currently has 4,579. Pelayo has established herself as one of the best setters in the country, as she ranked second in the nation in assists with a 14.59 per-game average last season. The second-team All-WCC selection owns five of the top single-match assist totals in school history, including a school-record 91-assist performance against Pepperdine last season. Her 1,678 assists she charted last season ranks her third on the WCC single-season record list. She needs 784 assists to break Tracy Holman's WCC career record.

Senior Right Side Hitter Annika Dell Dell eagerly returns to the Santa Clara lineup after a knee injury limited her playing time last season. A solid front row player, she is a mainstay on the right side and carries the load offensively for the Broncos. Dell has averaged 3.53 kills per game and one block per game. She registered 108 kills and hit .266 for the Broncos last season in only the 37 games she was able to play.

Senior Middle Blocker Brook Terhune A second-team All-WCC selection last season, Terhune is expected to post big numbers. One of the top returning players on the team, she hit a team-high .317 after registering 234 kills on 517 swings. She also made huge strides defensively, totaling 27 digs and 54 blocks. So far this season, she leads the team in blocks, with 26.

Junior Outside Hitter Jami Bari Bari brings experience to the Santa Clara squad as one of last year's starters on the outside. She averaged 2.44 kills and 2.38 digs per game. She is one of two starters to see time in all 21 games this season

Sophomore Defensive Specialist Chrissy Hirsch Hirsch is a versatile athlete, who enjoyed an outstanding freshman campaign. She is going to be looked upon to play a more integral role on defense this season. Hirsch is also one of two starters to see time in all 21 games this season. Her twin sister Cindy is also a member of the team.

Senior Middle Blocker Amy Kohl One of the top athletes in the nation at the middle position, Kohl possesses tremendous confidence while on the court. As a junior, she combined with former standout Laura Echolds to give Santa Clara one of the most talented blocking tandems in the nation. She finished third on the team in kills with 301 and hit .242. The team leader in blocks, Kohl combined for 55 block assists and stuffed nine of her own. She was named the Colorado PowerBar Tournament MVP for posting 39 kills, a .329 hitting percentage and 9 blocks at the beginning of the season and was also named to the All-Tournament Team at the Starwoods Plaza Classic.

Freshman Faces Becky Biniek, Amy Graybill, Jessie Mechem, Becky Potter and Kelli Sousa make the quintet of new faces that join the team this season. A Junior Olympic All-America selection in 1999, Sousa has been tabbed the setter of the future for Santa Clara. A highly recruited athlete from Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif., Potter will be competing for a starting position in the middle from the start. Mechem makes her way to the Santa Clara campus via Mountain View High School in Mesa, Ariz., where she led the Toros to the 1999 State Championship. She already has seen a significant amount of playing time behind Carrasco and Bari at outside hitter. Biniek, a middle blocker who hails from St. Francis High School in Los Altos, Calif., will play backup in the middle. Graybill, an outside hitter who played high school volleyball at Los Gatos, will also give the Broncos added depth at that position. She helped lead Los Gatos to the section finals all four years and earned all-league honors as a junior and senior.

Head Coach Jon Wallace Jon Wallace (UC Santa Barbara '89) is in his second season as Santa Clara's head coach, currently 26-12 (.684). In 1999, he led his team to its best record in six seasons and its first trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Santa Clara, Wallace spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Pepperdine. A three-year starting setter at UC Santa Barbara, he directed the Gauchos to the NCAA Tournament title match in 1988. He is assisted by David Hollaway, now in his fourth season at Santa Clara.