No. 14 Volleyball Travels to Gonzaga and Portland
Oct. 10, 2002
This Week: West Coast Conference Road Season Begins
No. 14 Santa Clara will open its 2002 West Coast Conference road season with matches at Gonzaga and at Portland. Friday night's match at Gonzaga is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start in the 4,000 seat Martin Centre in Spokane, Wash., while Saturday night's tilt in Portland is also scheduled for a 7 p.m. start in the 5,000 seat Chiles Center.
Santa Clara vs. Gonzaga
Santa Clara and Gonzaga have met 28 previous times entering this weekend's matchup in Spokane, with the Broncos holding a decisive 22-6 lead in the series. Since 1995, Santa Clara has posted a 14-0 record against the Bulldogs, including two three-game sweeps last year. The last time that Gonzaga beat the Broncos was during the 1994 season when the Bulldogs swept the Broncos in both matches.
Scouting the Bulldogs
Gonzaga enters this weekend's contest with a 2-13 overall record and a 0-2 mark in the WCC. Last weekend the Bulldogs opened the conference season with 3-0 losses at both Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. As a team, the Bulldogs have only won seven games all this season, six of which came in their two wins over Florida Atlantic and Boise State. Their lone other game win came in the first game of the season, defeating BYU by a score of 30-27 before going on to lose the match by a 3-1 score. Christina Davis leads the Bulldog attack, averaing 3.42 kills per game and 3.02 digs per game. Abby Cullen follows closely behind with her 3.19 kills per game, while Heather Signor leads the team with her 3.73 digs per game average. As a team the Bulldogs are hitting at just a .113 clip while their opponents have a .233 hitting percentage.
Santa Clara vs. Portland
Santa Clara and Portland have met 33 previous times entering this weekend's matchup, with the Broncos holding the all-time series advantage with a 26-7 record. Since 1995, Santa Clara has posted a 14-0 record against the Pilots, including two three-game sweeps last year. The last time that Portland beat the Broncos was during the 1994 season when the Bulldogs swept the season series from the Broncos by scores of 3-1 and 3-0.
Scouting the Pilots
Portland enters the weekend with a 10-6 overall record and a 0-2 WCC mark after losses last weekend at Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. After posting a season-long six match win streak, the Pilots have now lost three in a row dating back to their September 30th loss at Oregon. Portland is led offensively by Heather Denison and Sara Vercruyssen who are averaging 2.86 and 2.77 kills per game. Sheena Surplus leads the Pilots with her 10.87 assists per game average, while Carlie Price is tops on the team with an impressive 4.98 digs per contest. As a team the Pilots are hitting at a .219 clip while limiting their opponents to a .203 hitting percentage.
Next Week: Big WCC Showdowns
The Broncos will return to the friendly confines of the Leavey Center to take on Loyola Marymount and No. 12 Pepperdine at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively. Heading into this weekend the Broncos are tied with both the Lions and the Waves atop the WCC standings with their 2-0 records. This week the Lions will face the 7th-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos before taking on Pepperdine on Saturday, while the Waves will face top-ranked USC before its match with Loyola Marymount.
Last Week: Broncos Open Up WCC Season with Pair of Wins
The Broncos opened up the 2002 West Coast Conference season with a pair of wins at the Leavey Center. Friday night's conference opener against San Diego was a thrilling match as Santa Clara defeated the Toreros by a 3-0 score in front of 987 fans. Freshman Cassie Perret registered a .609 hitting percentage while Becky Potter posted 19 kills and 12 digs. Saturday night's match with Saint Mary's saw the Broncos pull out a 3-1 win over the Gaels with Potter posting a career-high 30 kills to go along with 19 digs in the match. Kelli Sousa had another tremendous weekend, recording 122 assists over the weekend, improving her season average to 14.73.
Potter Named WCC Player of the Month for September
Santa Clara University junior middle blocker Becky Potter was named the West Coast Conference women's volleyball Player of the Month last week after leading the 15th-ranked Broncos to an 11-2 record to open the season. During the month of September, Potter posted 4.67 kills per game while hitting at a .322 clip for the month. She also registered 2.64 digs per game with just under one block per contest. She was named WCC Player of the Week twice and earned four all-tournament selections including the Tournament MVP honors at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament hosted by Northern Arizona and at the Marriott Sunset Showcase hosted by UC Irvine.
Sousa Leads Nation in Assists Per Game
Junior setter Kelli Sousa is tops among NCAA Division I setters this season in assists per game with her 14.73 per game average. Lindsey Hunter fromMissouri is second in the nation with her 14.31 assists per game average. Thus far this season Sousa has posted 766 assists in 52 games. At this current pace she would register 1,532 assists in the regular season which would rank third in the Santa Clara all-time record book for single-season assists, while her average would set a new single-season mark. The all-time assists record at Santa Clara was set in 1991 by Kris Kosnoski who posted 1,760 assists in 37 matches.
All 15 of Santa Clara's opponents have been plagued by some double-vision in 2002 as senior co-captains Chrissy and Cindy Hirsch have had huge impacts on the team's defensive success. The twins have combined for 330 digs on the season, including their 49 over the weekend against San Diego and Saint Mary's. The duo is currently averaging 6.23 digs per game between them. Chrissy Hirsch has been the only Bronco to see time in the newly adopted Libero position and has made the most of her time on the court with her 3.38 digs per game average. Cindy has had an equally big impact for the Broncos, currently ranking second on the team with her 2.85 digs per game and in service aces with 12.
Perret Records Career-Best .609 Hitting Percentage in Win over San Diego
Freshman Cassie Perret registered a .609 hitting percentage in the Broncos' 3-0 win over San Diego Friday night in the Leavey Center. She registered 14 kills with no errors on 23 attempts in the victory. The mark surpasses her previous career-high of .464 which was set on September 20th in the Broncos' 3-0 win over Maryland.
In the Rankings
The Santa Clara Broncos moved up one spot in the AVCA/Coaches Poll following their victories over San Diego and Saint Mary's. The No. 14 national ranking matches the program's highest-ever ranking by the AVCA, which was first attained during the 2000 season in which the Broncos finished the year 27-5. The Broncos are also currently ranked No. 13 by Volleyball Magazine, which is their highest-ever ranking in volleyball by any national poll.