No. 14 Volleyball Hosts Huge WCC Matches
Oct. 15, 2002
This Week: Top Three WCC Teams Play in Leavey Center
No. 14 Santa Clara will host the two teams trailing them in the West Coast Conference standings this weekend in the Leavey Center. The Broncos will host third place Loyola Marymount Friday night at 7 p.m. Saturday night's showdown with No. 12 Pepperdine pits the top two teams in the conference against one another, with the Waves currently 1/2 game behind Santa Clara in the league standings. Santa Clara, LMU and Pepperdine are the three winningest programs in WCC history with 513 victories in conference play, 133 all-conference performers and 14 league titles between the three schools in the 16-year history of WCC volleyball.
Santa Clara vs. Loyola Marymount
Santa Clara and LMU have met 42 previous times entering Friday night's match with the Broncos trailing in the all-time series by a 25-17 margin. Recently the Broncos have posted a 6-2 mark against the Lions since 1998 including a current five-match win streak that dates back to the 1999 season. Last year the Broncos swept both meetings with LMU including the Nov. 10 match in the Leavey Center. The last time that Santa Clara lost to Loyola Marymount on the Mission Campus was on Oct. 23, 1999, when the Lions handed the Broncos a 3-1 loss.
Scouting the Lions
Loyola Marymount enters Friday's match with a 11-5 overall record and a 2-1 mark in the WCC. They are currently on a two-match losing streak, but those two matches came to No. 7 UC Santa Barbara and No. 12 Pepperdine last week. Kristin Gallup leads the Lions offensively with her 4.68 kills per game average, and is second on the team in digs per game with her 2.86 average. Jacene Dimson leads the team in digs per game with her 3.06 average, while Nicole Ridley and Megan Wooton share time at setter, averaging 7.97 and 5.19 assists per game, respectively, to lead the team. The Lions are averaging 1.5 kills per game more than their opponents and are hitting at a .261 clip while limiting their opponents to a .177 hitting percentage. They are averaging 2.64 blocks per game and 14.97 digs per game as a team.
Santa Clara vs. No. 12 Pepperdine
Santa Clara and Pepperdine have met 40 previous times entering this weekend's matchup with the Broncos trailing in the all-time series by a 27-13 margin. Last year the Waves swept the season series between the two schools, winning by a 3-1 score in Malibu, and a 3-0 score in the Leavey Center. The last time that the Broncos beat the Waves was on Nov. 17, 2000, when Santa Clara posted a 3-2 victory to claim the WCC title for the third time in school history which vaulted them into the No. 14 spot on the AVCA poll, establishing a new program high for national ranking which has only been equalled by this year's squad.
Scouting the Waves
Pepperdine enters the week with the No. 12 national ranking, a 10-6 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the WCC. They will face San Francisco on Friday evening before playing the Broncos Saturday night at 7 p.m. Five of their six losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the top-10, with the lone exception coming on September 14 at Notre Dame by a 3-2 score. Katie Wilkins leads the Pepperdine attack, averaging 4.16 kills per game while Christina Hinds leads the Waves' defense with her 3.59 digs per game average. Paola Rodriguez is averaging 11.42 assists per game, helping Pepperdine to a .258 hitting percentage while their opponents are only hitting at a .194 clip.
Next Week: At Home Against San Francisco
The Broncos will continue WCC play next weekend with one match in the Leavey Center against the University of San Francisco on Friday night, October 25th at 7 p.m. That match will be the only action that the Broncos see during the week as they play their travel partner for the first time in 2002. San Francisco is currently 4-16 overall and last in the West Coast Conference with their 0-4 record.
Last Week: Broncos Open WCC Road Season with Pair of Wins
The Broncos opened up their WCC road season last weekend with a pair of wins at Gonzaga and at Portland. Santa Clara played well in its first two games against Gonzaga, but slipped a little in game three, forcing a game four in Spokane, Wash., Friday night. Despite playing a bit sloppy, the Broncos came away with a 3-1 win over Gonzaga to move their WCC record to 3-0. Following an early morning flight, the Broncos made quick work of the Portland Pilots Saturday night, winning the match in three-straight to move to 15-2 overall and 4-0 in league play.
Potter Sets New Santa Clara Three-Game Kill Record Against Portland
Santa Clara University junior middle blocker Becky Potter continued her assualt on the Santa Clara record book when she posted a new three-game kill record with her 27 against Portland Saturday night. The new record was set on 47 attempts with only four errors for a .489 hitting percentage that was posted along with 13 digs and seven blocks in the 3-0 win. At her current kills per game pace Potter would post 535 kills which would rank third all-time in Santa Clara history while her 5.22 per game average would rank her first all-time. She currently has 1,007 kills which ranks seventh all-time in Bronco history while her 4.06 kills per game career average ranks her second in the SCU record books.
Sousa Leads Nation in Assists Per Game
Junior setter Kelli Sousa ranks first in the nation with her 14.71 assists per game average heading into this week's play. She has tallied 868 assists to date this year, giving her 2,759 for her career which ranks fourth all-time in Santa Clara history. Her current career average of 12.71 assists per game ranks second all-time, trailing only Rox Pelayo who set the career mark at 14.01 when she played from 1997-2000. Sousa was Pelayo's backup as a freshman in 2000.
All 17 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 377 digs on the season, including their 47 this past weekend in the Pacific Northwest. The duo is currently averaging 6.28 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 3.30 digs per game average. Cindy has had an equally big impact for the Broncos, currently ranking second on the team with her 2.98 digs per game average, and is also first on the team in service aces with 15.
In the Rankings
The Santa Clara Broncos remained constant in the AVCA/Coaches Poll following their victories over Gonzaga and Portland. 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.