Volleyball

 
October 10, 2000

No. 17 Volleyball Continues WCC Play, Opens Home Season vs. George Mason

Oct. 3, 2000

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This Week No. 17 Santa Clara volleyball (13-1) concludes a 15-match road trip this Saturday against West Coast Conference opponent San Francisco. The Broncos will then host their first home match of the season when George Mason arrives for a Sunday night match. Santa Clara enters the weekend riding an eight-match winning streak.

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.

Making WCC History 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 USF is currently 9-4, 1-1 in WCC play. The Lady Dons entered league play last weekend with the program's best non-conference record. USF won two tournaments in the preseason, at Cal State Fullerton and at the Denver Pioneer Classic. The team is led by sophomore Teresa Russel and senior Laura Tinetti, both of whom are averaging more than 3.5 kills per game. No information was available on George Mason.

In the Rankings With two wins last week, Santa Clara moved up one spot and is currently ranked 17th, 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. Two weeks ago, Santa Clara saw its debut in Volleyball Magazine's Poll, at No. 19, where it remained last week. This week, the Broncos moved up one spot, to No. 18.

Santa Clara's schedule features seven ranked opponents over nine matches. Remaining on the schedule are WCC foes Pepperdine, ranked sixth, and Loyola Marymount, ranked 22nd. The Broncos will also face No. 15 UC Santa Barbara in a non-conference match on Halloween, and will close out the regular season at 21st-ranked Stanford on Nov. 21.

Last Week
Santa Clara Defeats Gonzaga, Portland in WCC Opening Weekend
Jessie Mechem and Amy Kohl posted 13 kills apiece to pace Santa Clara to its eighth straight victory, sweeping Portland in the Chiles Center, Sept. 30. Santa Clara out-hit Portland, .287 to .101, and held the advantage at the net, outblocking the Pilots, 9-5. Mechem added a match-high 20 digs for the Broncos. The 15-4,15-7, 15-5 victory improves the Broncos' record to 13-1 overall, 2-0 in the WCC. Portland falls to 5-8, 1-1 in league play.

Santa Clara opened the West Coast Conference season against Gonzaga Sept. 29, taking a 3-2 victory away from the Martin Centre and Spokane, Wash. Game scores were 13-15, 15-5, 11-15, 15-5, 15-4. Ynez Carrasco led all attackers with 22 kills. Four other Broncos posted double-digit kills, including Becky Potter with 18, Amy Kohl with 15, Jami Bari with 12 and Brook Terhune with 11. The Broncos were led defensively by Potter's 20 digs and Kohl's six blocks (four solo, 2 assist).

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 Portland improved the Broncos' record to 13-1 on the season, adding on to 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 victories also tied 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 this 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 17.39 per game, dig average, at 19.29 per game, and kills average, at 18.76 per game. The Broncos are second in service ace average (1.53 per game) and third in team hitting percentage (.236) while ranking fifth in blocks (2.65 per game). Individually, Ynez Carrasco is one of four players ranked in the top 10 in conference digs. She's first, averaging 3.87, while Roz Pelayo is fifth (3.10), Jami Bari is seventh (3.00) and Merrin Thompson is 10th (2.81). Carrasco is also third in kills per game, averaging 4.47, while Pelayo is also ranked first in the WCC in assists, with a 14.38 mark. Brook Terhune is third in blocks per game, averaging 1.26. Amy Kohl is ranked in two categories, eighth in hitting percentage, boasting a .316, and ninth in blocks, at 1.06 per game.

Nationally Speaking As of Sept. 24, Santa Clara was leading the nation in team kills, averaging 18.91 per game, and team assist average, with a 17.47 mark. The Broncos are also ranked 11th in the country in team digs, posting 19.37 per game. Individually, senior Roz Pelayo is sixth nationally in assist average, with a 14.28 mark.

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, at1,412, and needs only 85 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 1,048. 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 last 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 4,937. 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 426 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 3.87 per game average. She's also second on the team and third 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. Last week, she became only the fourth Bronco to reach the 1,000 kill, 1,000 dig mark in a career. With 1,412 kills and 1,015 digs, Carrasco is second all-time in Santa Clara recordbooks in the kills category, needing 85 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 4,937. 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, sixth in the country with a 14.28 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 426 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 52 and her 1.26 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 1,048 and is fifth on SCU's all-time lists. Her marks rank her in two WCC categories, eighth in hitting percentage, boasting a .316, and ninth in blocks, at 1.06 per game. 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. She was the WCC's Player of the Week for Sept. 18.

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. In 25 games this season, she has recorded 201 assists. A highly recruited athlete from Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif., Potter has been starting in place of the injured Annika Dell on the right side. She is leading the team in hitting percentage, with a .324 mark. Defensively, she's third on the team in blocks, averaging 1.10 per game. 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 and is averaging 3.58 kills per game. Biniek, a middle blocker who hails from St. Francis High School in Los Altos, Calif., is backing up in the middle, seeing action in seven games. 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 34-12 (.739). 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.