Volleyball

 
October 24, 2000

Volleyball Begins Second Half of WCC Season, Hosts Portland, Gonzaga

Oct. 24, 2000

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This Week The 15th-ranked Santa Clara volleyball (18-2) team returns home for two matches in continuing West Coast Conference action. On Friday, Santa Clara will host Portland, followed by Gonzaga on Saturday. Last month, Santa Clara swept Portland while topping Gonzaga in five games.

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 Fitness & Recreation Center. The Broncos play 21 of 30 matches on the road, and completed a 15-match road swing before returning for the home opener Oct. 8, a 3-0 defeat of George Mason.

The Opponents Portland enters the weekend with a 6-14 overall record, 4-5 in the WCC. The Pilots won their first road match of the season this past weekend at Gonzaga. On Sept. 30, Santa Clara swept Portland, with Amy Kohl and Jessie Mechem posting 13 kills apiece for the Broncos. Mechem added her season's first double-double with 20 digs. SCU leads the all-time series 23-7. Gonzaga is 4-17 overall, and winless in the WCC at 0-7. The Bulldogs have lost 12 straight entering the weekend. Gonzaga took the Broncos to five games in their last meeting, Sept. 29. Four players on each side of the net reached double figures in kills and assists, led by SCU's Ynez Carrasco double-double 18 kills and 19 digs. SCU leads the all-time series 21-6.

Nationally Speaking As of Oct. 15, Santa Clara was leading the nation in team kills, averaging 19.76 per game, and team assist average, with a 18.30 mark. The Broncos are also ranked ninth in the country in team digs, posting 19.30 per game. Individually, senior Roz Pelayo leads the nation in assist average, with a 15.20 mark. Senior Ynez Carrasco is ranked in two categories: 18th in digs (4.14 pg) and 20th in kills (5.02 pg).

In the Rankings With one loss and one win last week, Santa Clara remained ranked 15th, the program's all-time best national ranking. On Sept. 11, the Broncos entered the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll for the first time in seven years, ranked 21st in the poll's second edition. 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 month, Santa Clara saw its debut in Volleyball Magazine's Poll, at No. 19, where it remained for two weeks. Last week, the Broncos moved up one spot, and it did again this week, to No. 17.

Santa Clara's schedule features seven ranked opponents over nine matches. Remaining on the schedule are matches against WCC foes Pepperdine, ranked ninth, and Loyola Marymount, ranked 22nd. The Broncos will also face No. 14 UC Santa Barbara in a non-conference match on Halloween, and will close out the regular season at 17th-ranked Stanford on Nov. 21.

12-match Win Streak The loss to Pepperdine ended Santa Clara's 12-match win streak, two short of the program's best, set in 1993. That team won 14 straight and finished the season 22-10.

Beating the Best With its defeat of Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara improved its record to 9-2 against last year's NCAA Tournament teams. The Broncos have also defeated Colorado, Baylor, 1999 NCAA semifinalist Pacific, CS Sacramento, Louisville, North Carolina and SE Missouri State. The losses came to 14th-ranked Arizona on Sept. 9 and No. 9 Pepperdine on Oct. 20. The next match against last year's NCAA field is Oct. 31 at UC Santa Barbara. The Broncos will also face 1999 NCAA finalist Stanford and host rematches against Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine later in the season.

Winning Seasons Santa Clara's victory over Saint Mary's on Oct. 20 gave the team its 16th win of the season. With 30 matches on the schedule, the Broncos' guaranteed its fifth-straight regular season win record and 14th overall since 1975.

Last Week
Santa Clara Falls to Pepperdine, Tops LMU in Season's Toughest Road Trip
In a battle of undefeated West Coast Conference teams, No. 9 Pepperdine came out on top, defeating Santa Clara in a five-game thriller Oct. 20 at the Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

The 13-15, 11-15, 17-15, 15-8, 15-7 loss ended the Broncos' 12-match win streak, and marked the third straight five-game meeting between the teams. Pepperdine led game one 13-6 before Santa Clara stole it 15-13. The Broncos kept the momentum, beginning game two with a 9-0 edge. Ynez Carrasco led all attackers with 29 kills on the night. Amy Kohl added 23, with three other Broncos reaching double figures. Defensively for the Broncos, Chrissy Hirsch dug 19 balls and three others reached double figures.

Santa Clara rebounded the next night with a sweep of No. 23 Loyola Marymount at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles. The win marked the sixth sweep for the Broncos in their last seven matches. Game scores for the contest was 15-9, 15-6, 15-7.

Game one began with Santa Clara taking an early 7-4 lead only to see the Lions knot the score at eight and again at nine, but SCU rallied to take game one. After matching the Lions point for point in the second frame and tying the score at four, Santa Clara rattled off eight straight points and later took the frame. SCU hit a .302 clip in the final game to take the match.

The Broncos were led by Carrasco, who hit .394 on the evening, putting down 16 kills on 33 attacks. Becky Potter was the only other Bronco to hit double-digit kills, collecting 10 on the night.

Breaking NCAA Records Santa Clara is on pace to break two NCAA season records. The Broncos are averaging 19.69 kills per game to lead the nation, and will top Colorado's mark of 19.01 set in 1998. additionally, that same Buffalo team posted 17.45 assists per game, a statistic Santa Clara will claim if it can keep up its 18.32 per game mark. Individually, senior setter Roz Pelayo is averaging 14.01 assists per game for her career, which will be an NCAA record when she graduates.

Into the Recordbooks Senior outside hitter Ynez Carrasco's 19th and final kill in a sweep of San Diego on Oct. 14 gave her 1,497 in three-plus seasons, surpassing Lia Young's career mark of 1,496 set in 1990-93.She is also one of the Broncos' all-time top defensive players, with 1,077 career digs, sixth on the charts. Passing the 1,000-dig mark last month, Carrasco is only the fourth Bronco to post 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career. But she's not the only senior rewriting the school's recordbooks. Earlier in the season, setter Roz Pelayo became Santa Clara's all-time assist leader, breaking Kris Kosnoski's record of 4,421 (1990-93). She surpassed the 5,000 mark last weekend and currently has 5,154.She needs 210 assists to break Tracy Holman's WCC career record. Middle blocker Amy Kohl is fifth in career kills, becoming only the fifth player in Santa Clara history to pass 1,000 career kills. She currently has 1,097. Kohl and right side hitter Annika Dell are top six in hitting percentage. Dell also made the top-10 career block average, entering the season with a 0.78 mark.

Hot Start Santa Clara's sweep of Loyola Marymount improved the Broncos' record to 18-2 on the season, adding on to the best start ever for a Santa Clara squad. This year's squad won earned its 10th win in the 11th match of the season. The 1997 team held the previous mark, earning 10 victories 12 matches into the season. The 13-1 record Santa Clara achieved 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. The all-time record is held by the 1979 squad that began its season with six straight wins. 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.

In 3s Santa Clara has swept six of its last seven opponents and 11 of 20 this season. The Broncos have posted at least two sets of back-to-back-to-back sweeps of teams this season, also achieving the feat twice in 1999: 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. The Broncos' biggest sweeps of this season came against then-ranked opponents Pacific, Baylor and LMU.

On the Road Santa Clara concluded a 15-match road trip Oct. 7 with a sweep of USF. The Broncos went an impressive 14-1 during the season-opening trek, upsetting two ranked teams, winning two of three tournaments, and reaching a No. 16 ranking in the national polls after beginning the season unranked. It marked the longest, and most successful, road trip in WCC history.

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. On Sept. 16, SCU defeated North Carolina in four games, handing the host Tar Heels their first Nike Classic loss in more than five years in addition to ending their 13-match home win streak.

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.

Conference Leaders Although selected by conference coaches to place third in the WCC, Santa Clara is in second place in the league standings after remaining at the top for three straight weeks. 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 18.32 per game, dig average, at 19.04 per game, and kills average, at 19.69 per game. The Broncos are second in service ace average (1.48 per game) and third in team hitting percentage (.255) while ranking fourth in blocks (2.54 per game). Individually, Ynez Carrasco is one of four players ranked in the top 10 in conference digs. She's first, averaging 4.02, while Jami Bari is sixth (2.96), Roz Pelayo is ninth (2.87) and Merrin Thompson is 10th (2.60). Carrasco is also second in kills per game, averaging 5.09, while Pelayo is also ranked first in the WCC in assists, with a 14.87 mark. Brook Terhune is fourth in blocks per game, averaging 1.27, while Amy Kohl is ranked fourth in kills per game, posting a 4.32 average and sixth in hitting percentage, with a .326 clip. Freshman Becky Potter debuted in the WCC rankings this week and is seen in two categories: ninth in hitting percentage (.301) and 10th in blocks (0.94).

Carrasco Named WCC Player of the Week For two consecutive weeks, Oct. 9 and 16, senior Ynez Carrasco was named the West Coast Conference's Player of the Week. Against Saint Mary's, she hit .457 with 23 kills and 11 digs, committing only two hitting errors. The next night against San Diego, Carrasco tallied 19 kills, 18 digs and four blocks, while hitting .324. Her 42nd and final kill of the weekend was No. 1,497 of her career, a new SCU record. For the week, she averaged 7.0 kills, 4.8 digs and 1.3 blocks per game, while hitting .397. Two weekends ago, Carrasco set records for kills and attempts in a three-game match with 25 kills in 56 attempts at USF, hitting .304. She added 21 digs and three blocks as well. Not letting up during the Broncos' home opener the following night against George Mason, she recorded 18 kills and 12 digs while hitting .364. For the week, Carrasco averaged 7.2 kills and 5.5 digs per game, hitting .326.

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.

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 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 and junior Merrin Thompson play key roles off the bench.

Senior Outside Hitter Ynez Carrasco Carrasco became the school's all-time career kills leader with her 19th and final kill on the night in an Oct. 14 win against San Diego. With 1,497 total, she surpassed Lia Young's career mark set in 1990-93.She currently has 1,542. With 1,102 digs, sixth best in Santa Clara history, Carrasco is only the fourth Bronco to reach the 1,000-kill, 1,000-dig mark in a career. A prime candidate for 2000 All-America honors, she leads her team and the WCC in digs per game, posting a 4.02 per game average. She also leads the team in kills, with 331 and kills per game, with a 5.09 average. Against league opponents, she is averaging 6.09 kills per game and 4.05 digs each contest. She was named to the All-Tournament Teams of both the Colorado PowerBar Invitational and the Starwoods Plaza Classic and was named the WCC's Player of the Week for Oct. 9 and 16.

"Going into the year, we talked about Ynez being our best player and an All-American candidate, and the last two weeks, she's been playing like it," head coach Jon Wallace said. "She's in her zone. She's getting kills off of bad sets, when before she wasn't able to. Her game is there and she's having a blast and should feel extremely confident."

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 5,240. She is also averaging 14.01 assists per game for her career, which will be an NCAA record when she graduates. The current mark stands at 13.26 assists per game. 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 in 2000, first in the country with a 15.20 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 124 assists to break Tracy Holman's WCC career record.

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 80, and her 1.27 average is fourth-best in the WCC. She is fourth on the team in kills, with 189, averaging 3.00 per game. 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 two weeks ago. She currently has 1,129 and is fifth on SCU's all-time lists. Her marks rank her in three WCC categories: fourth in kills per game, posting a 4.32 mark, sixth in hitting percentage, boasting a .326. She earned Tournament MVP honors at the North 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 co-Player of the Week for Sept. 18.

Freshman Faces Becky Biniek, Amy Grabill, 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 28 games this season, she has recorded 227 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 debuted in the WCC rankings this week and is seen in two categories: ninth in hitting percentage (.301) and 10th in blocks (0.94). 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 3.19 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. Grabill, 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 39-13 (.750). On Oct. 7, Wallace earned his 35th career win against USF, becoming the fastest coach in West Coast Conference history to reach that mark, needing only 47 matches. In 1999, Wallace 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, he spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Pepperdine. A three-year starting setter at UC Santa Barbara, Wallace directed the Gauchos to the NCAA Tournament title match in 1988.