Aug. 17, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 22nd-ranked Santa Clara University volleyball team, under the direction of third-year head coach and 2000 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year Jon Wallace, completes its first week of preseason practices this evening.
"I had a lot of expectations heading into camp," Wallace said. "One was for our returning players to be physically fit, emotionally ready and mentally geared to go and I think all eight did that for us. I also expected our incoming freshmen to have a little bit of a rough time because of the standard of work that we demand within our program. And they have, but I'm already seeing signs of their confidence and playing ability returning. I'm pleased with their recovery from being thrown into Division I double-day practices."
With the loss of five seniors from last year's WCC Championship team, the Broncos will see underclassmen in five of the eight positions the Broncos have available on the court.
"Right now, we're starting at ground zero with both our offensive and defensive systems," Wallace continued. "About 70 percent of our practices are focusing on learning our system so we can feel comfortable on where we need to go, what we need to do, and what's expected. The other 30 percent is developing player skills, working on fundamentals and conditioning."
Several new rules changes are in effect for the 2001 season, including a change from side-out scoring to 15 points to rally scoring to 30.
"We've found out quickly that playing a game to 30 is long," Wallace explained. "It's a weird number to go psychologically. It also brings different ebbs and flows to the game, so with that in mind, we're playing at least one game to 30 daily to get a better feel for it."
The Broncos arrived last Saturday and have been practicing twice daily since Monday and will continue through Friday, August 24. Times vary, but most morning sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. while the afternoon session goes from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Intrasquad scrimmages usually take place during the afternoon session.
Practices are open to the public and are located at either the Leavey Center or the Pat Malley Fitness and Recreation Center. Those interested in attending or wanting to confirm practice times and locations, days off or directions, please call the Santa Clara Athletic Office at 408-554-4063.
"I'm really pleased with our conditioning during the first week of camp," Wallace said. "There's a lot of athleticism in the gym right now. We have talent, but we're young and inexperienced. The power of the team is going to come from the youth, but the ball control is going to come from the upperclassmen. Putting that in harmony is one of our biggest challenges right now."
The Broncos will face No. 23 South Carolina in the season opener at the Phoenix Airport Hilton/Sun Devil Challenge in Tempe, Ariz., on August 31 and will begin the home schedule with the Santa Clara Invitational, hosting Creighton, UC Santa Barbara and North Carolina on September 8 and 9. Tickets may be purchased online by clicking here or by calling the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660.