Nov. 13, 2001
Santa Clara will take its last regular season road trip this weekend in a van ride up to the City. The Broncos will close out the West Coast Conference season against the Dons on Saturday, November 17. The match will start at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Gym. USF is currently 9-14 on the season, 4-9 in WCC play. The Broncos swept the first meeting against the Dons last month.
The Race for Second Place
Although Pepperdine clinched the conference title last weekend, the race for second place is still on. If SCU wins this weekend and San Diego falls to either Pepperdine or Loyola Marymount, the Broncos will finish in second place in the league standings. If Santa Clara wins and San Diego wins both of it's matches, the two teams will share second. The squads will also share second if the Broncos fall to USF, and USD splits. The Toreros can take second place with two wins combined with a Santa Clara loss.
Santa Clara ranks 17th in the country in digs, averaging 18.00 per game, 19th in assists (15.15) and 23rd in kills (16.67). Individually, sophomore setter Kelli Sousa ranks 11th in the NCAA in assists, with a 13.64 per-game average.
In the WCC Statistics
Santa Clara leads the conference in digs (18.00 per game) while ranking second in kills (16.67) and assists (15.15). Individually, Kelli Sousa is second in assists (13.64) while Jami Bari is second in digs (3.59). Merrin Thompson is behind Bari in four (3.34). Becky Potter is ranked fourth in kills (4.02 pg) while Toni Muratore is ranked fifth (3.96). Bari is also ranked ninth in service aces (0.30 pg) while Muratore is eighth in hitting percentage (.276). Counting only league matches, Santa Clara is first in service aces (1.93), behind Megan Johnston's league-leading .40 average. Bari and Chrissy Hirsch are listed right behind Bari, with .39 and .37 marks.
In the Rankings
The Broncos remained ranked 19th in this week's USA Today/AVCA poll. The Broncos began the season ranked 22nd, marking the first-ever preseason listing for the program. This week's poll also marks the Broncos' 26th straight appearance in the rankings. Santa Clara's highest ranking came last November at No. 14. The only other season in which the Broncos were ranked nationally occurred in 1993 for seven consecutive weeks.
Santa Clara is 2-6 against ranked opposition, with wins against 13th-ranked UC Santa Barbara and 15th-ranked Pacific.
The Broncos debuted at No. 16 in last week's Volleyball Magazine poll and are currently 19th.
Up Next: Close of Regular Season against Idaho
Santa Clara will close the regular season the day after Thanksgiving, host Idaho on Friday, November 23. The Broncos will then hope for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. The brackets will be announced Monday, November 26.
Freshmen Dominate Middle Blocking Positions
When Santa Clara graduated middle blocking standouts Amy Kohl and Brooke Terhune in 2000, questions were raised in how strong this position would be for the Broncos. The team found the answer early in the season in its newcomers. Freshmen Toni Muratore, Jennifer Ryan and Christina Vick, as well as sophomore Becky Biniek have stepped onto the court and have created some noise. Muratore is second on the team with 333 kills, and also boasts a 3.96 per-game average. Ryan and Vick have both entered matches and provided solid support, including Vick's team-leading .290 hitting percentage.