Sept. 9, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Senior outside hitter Jami Bari was named the Most Valuable Player of the Santa Clara University Invitational, hosted by the Fremont Marriott, after leading the 24th-ranked Broncos to a five-game victory over North Carolina this afternoon at the Leavey Center for the tournament title. Game scores were 30-24, 27-30, 22-30, 30-24, 15-6.
"Jami was the backbone of all the little things this weekend," head coach Jon Wallace said. "Our passing, defense, leadership, setting the tone, she was awesome. She also hit unbelievably well this weekend. Last year I don't think she hit over .200 and last night she hit over .400 and today over .300. She's really coming into her senior year and that's allowing her to play at a really high level."
Rounding out the all-tournament team were sophomore outside hitters Jessie Mechem and Becky Potter for the Broncos, North Carolina's Nicole Reis, UC Santa Barbara's Danielle Bauer and Creighton's Melissa Walsh.
The Broncos improve to 7-1 on the season and finished the weekend undefeated. North Carolina wrapped up the tournament with a 1-2 mark to move to 4-3 overall. Earlier in the day, UC Santa Barbara recorded a straight-set victory over Creighton, 30-19, 30-27, 30-27. The Gauchos concluded tournament play with a 2-1 record and move to 2-3 overall. The Blue Jays fell to 0-3 on the weekend and 1-5 for the year.
UNC took a 7-2 lead in game after Santa Clara was unable to convert on offense. After a Bronco side out, Mechem registered two service aces that were followed by a Bari kill to bring the home team within one point. The teams kept it close but SCU was unable to take a lead. A long kill by Potter tied the frame at 19 and a service ace by senior Merrin Thompson gave the Broncos their first lead. They held on with a strong offensive attack to close out the game 30-24.
North Carolina's defense dominated game two, posting six kills in the frame, four by Krista Buccholz. The match saw multiple ties on the scoreboard through 25-25, but three consecutive service aces by Reis put the Tar Heels ahead for good as they cruised to a 30-27 win off a kill by Laura Greene.
The teams battled another close match in the third frame, exchange leads through the first 40 points. Two kills by Greene followed by Bronco hitting errors closed out the game 30-22 favoring Carolina.
An early 12-5 lead in the fourth helped Santa Clara tie the match at two games apiece. The squad kept momentum on their side with strong kills by Bari, Potter and Mechem to dominate the deciding game and extend the series between the schools to a 2-0 mark.
Bari finished with 18 kills, her final mark coming at match point. Mechem added 16 and Potter 15. Defense played a major role with freshman middle blocker Christina Vick and Potter combining for three of the squad's seven blocks. Thompson recorded a match-high 23 digs to lead five Broncos in double figures in that category.
Reis led North Carolina with 19 kills while Greene added 16.
A complete schedule of the tournament's matches and results can be found by Clicking Here.
The Broncos return to action Tuesday at the Leavey Center, hosting Big West Champion and 2000 NCAA Tournament participant Sacramento State at 7 p.m.