No. 19 Volleyball Opens Conference Season in the Northwest

Oct. Sept. 26, 2000

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This Week No. 18 Santa Clara volleyball (11-1) continues its 15-match road trip this weekend as it opens West Coast Conference action this weekend at Gonzaga on Friday and Portland on Saturday. The Broncos are in the midst of a six-match win streak. The Broncos are just the third team in WCC history to open a season 11-1 or better, joining Pepperdine, who accomplished the feat in 1997 and '99. If Santa Clara wins both of this weekend's matches, it will tie the 1997 Pepperdine squad for the best record after 14 matches in WCC history.

The Opponents Gonzaga enters the week with a 4-8 overall record, 1-3 at home. The Bulldogs are led by attackers Heather Osberg and Britt Whiting and setter Emilie Heggli, and will face Eastern Washington tonight. Portland is 4-7 on the season, but 3-1 at home.

In the Rankings With two wins last week, Santa Clara moved up one spot and is currently ranked 18th, the program's all-time best national ranking. Two weeks ago, the Broncos 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. Last week, Santa Clara saw its debut in Volleyball Magazine's Poll, at No. 19, where it remains for this week.

Santa Clara's schedule features seven ranked opponents over nine matches. Remaining on the schedule are WCC foes Pepperdine, ranked seventh, Loyola Marymount, ranked 23rd. The Broncos will also face No. 9 UC Santa Barbara in a non-conference match on Halloween, and will close out the regular season at 15th-ranked Stanford on Nov. 21.

Last Week
Santa Clara Defeats Fresno State, SE Missouri State
Santa Clara posted two wins last Friday in Fresno State's North Gym. The Broncos defeated host Fresno State 15-9, 15-13, 9-15, 15-10, led by senior Ynez Carrasco's 18 kills and 19 digs. Junior Jami Bari added her own double-double with 16 kills and 15 digs, while senior Brook Terhune led the Broncos defensively, posting five of the team's 11 blocks.

Earlier in the day, Santa Clara defeated Southeast Missouri State 15-6, 15-8, 15-8, becoming the quickest team in the history of SCU's volleyball program to reach 10 wins. Freshman Becky Potter, who attended Buchanan High School in nearby Clovis, finished with a match-high 12 kills, and a .435 hitting percentage. Defensively, she led with a match-high six blocks (one solo, five assist) and added six digs. Carrasco and Amy Kohl added nine kills each to the winning effort. Carrasco led the team in digs, posting 15.

Kohl Named WCC Co-Player of the Week On Sept. 18, senior Amy Kohl was named the West Coast Conference's Co-Player of the Week with LMU's Sarah McFarland. Kohl's performance in the North Carolina/Nike Classic, including 28 kills and a .490 attack percentage in the title game, earned her MVP honors. For the week, Kohl collected 77 kills, 14 blocks and hit an impressive .420 to lead SCU to a 4-0 record.

Hot Start Santa Clara's sweep of Southeast Missouri State improved the Broncos' record to 10-1 on the season, marking the best start ever for a Santa Clara squad. The 1997 team held the previous mark, earning 10 victories 12 matches into the season. The Broncos are just the third team in WCC history to open a season 11-1 or better, joining Pepperdine who accomplished the feat in 1997 and '99. If Santa Clara wins both of this weekend's matches, it will tie the 1997 Pepperdine squad for the best record after 14 matches in WCC history. 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 this year's squad 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.

The Broncos' Streak Stampede While Santa Clara is extending its winning streak, it's ending others as it goes. 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. Last Saturday, Sept. 16, SCU defeated North Carolina in four games, handing the host Tar hells their first Nike Classic loss in over five years in addition to ending their 13-match home win streak.

Beating the Best With its defeat of Southeast Missouri State, Santa Clara improved its record to 7-1 against last year's NCAA Tournament teams. The Broncos have also defeated Colorado, Baylor, 1999 NCAA semifinalist Pacific, CS Sacramento, Louisville and North Carolina. The loss came to 14th-ranked Arizona on Sept. 9. The next match against last year's NCAA field is Oct. 14 against San Diego. The Broncos will also face 1999 NCAA Tournament participants 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. It also marked the program's most wins since the 1993 squad posted 22 victories. Additionally, the 21 wins in 1999 also made Santa Clara the first team in WCC 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 two weeks ago 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.

Conference Leaders Although selected by conference coaches to place third in the WCC, Santa Clara is at the top of the league standings entering the week. 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, San Diego, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, Gonzaga and Portland.

Leading the WCC, Statistically Speaking Santa Clara leads the WCC in three categories, ranking first in team assist average, at 17.47 per game, dig average, at 19.51 per game, and kills average, at 18.91 per game. The Broncos are third in team hitting percentage (.232) and blocks (2.72 per game), while ranking fourth in service ace average (1.47 per game). Individually, Ynez Carrasco is one of four players ranked in the top 10 in conference digs. She's first, averaging 4.00, while Roz Pelayo is fourth (3.25), Merrin Thompson is seventh (2.97) and Jami Bari is ninth (2.95). Carrasco is also fourth in kills per game, averaging 4.47, while Pelayo is also ranked first in the WCC in assists, with a 14.28 mark. Brook Terhune is second in blocks per game, averaging 1.31. Amy Kohl is ranked in two categories, third in kills per game, with 4.61, and fifth in hitting percentage, boasting a .325.

Nationally Speaking As of Sept. 17, Santa Clara was leading the nation in team kills, averaging 19.31 per game, and team assist average, with a 17.67 mark. The Broncos are also ranked 11th in the country in team digs, posting 19.36 per game. Individually, senior Roz Pelayo is second nationally in assist average, with a 14.94 mark.

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, and will have completed a 15-match road swing before returning for 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, at1,390, and needs only 106 kills to surpass Lia Young's career mark of 1,496 set in 1990-93. Amy Kohl is fifth, becoming only the fifth player in Santa Clara history to pass 1,000 career kills. She currently has 1,020. 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, sixth on the list with1,001 digs and sixth in dig averge. Passing the 1,000 dig mark this past week, Carrasco is only the fourth Bronco to post 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career. 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 4,847. 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 516 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 Carrasco, a 1999 first-team All-WCC selection, is position herself as a prime candidate for 2000 All-America honors. She leads her team and the WCC in digs per game, posting a 4.00 per game average. She's also second on the team and fourth in the league in kills per game, averaging 4.47. She was named to the All-Tournament Teams of both the Colorado PowerBar Invitational and the Starwoods Plaza Classic. This past weekend, she became only the fourth Bronco to reach the 1,000 kill, 1,000 dig mark in a career. With 1,390 kills and 1,001 digs, Carrasco is second all-time in Santa Clara recordbooks in the kills category, needing 134 to surpass Lia Young's career mark set in 1990-93. She is also sixth in digs and dig average for a career.

Senior Setter Roz Pelayo In her third year as the Broncos' starting setter, Pelayo became Santa Clara's all-time assist leader against Colorado, breaking Kris Kosnoski's record of 4,421 (1990-93). She currently has 4,847. 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 and finds herself back up there, second in the country with a 14.94 mark. 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 516 assists to break Tracy Holman's WCC career record.

Senior Right Side Hitter Annika Dell Dell eagerly returned to the Santa Clara lineup at the onset of the season, and has averaged 3.41 kills and one block per game, but a knee injury from last season is limiting her playing time heading into conference season.

Senior Middle Blocker Brook Terhune A second-team All-WCC selection last season, Terhune is one of the top returning players on the team. This season, she leads the team in blocks, with 47 and her 1.31 average is second best in the WCC. Last season, 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.

Senior Middle Blocker Amy Kohl One of the top athletes in the nation at the middle position, Kohl is became only the fifth Bronco to post 1,000 kills in a career, reaching the mark this week. She currently has 1,020 and is fifth on SCU's all-time lists. Her marks rank her in two WCC categories, third in kills per game, with 4.61, and fifth in hitting percentage, boasting a .325.She earned Tournament MVP honors at the Carolina/Nike Classic after recording 77 kills, a .420 hitting percentage and 14 blocks. She has been named to each of the All-Tournament teams for the three tournaments Santa Clara has participated in, and has been named MVP in two. At the beginning of the season, she was named MVP of the Colorado PowerBar Invitational, posting 39 kills, a .329 hitting percentage and 9 blocks. She 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 32-12 (.727). 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.