Volleyball Begins Huge WCC Road Trip
Nov. 12, 2002
This Week: Huge Road Matches at Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount
The Broncos will head back out on the road next weekend, traveling to No. 9 Pepperdine on Friday night and to Loyola Marymount Saturday evening. Santa Clara is currently in second place in the West Coast Conference, just one half game behind Pepperdine but two and a half games ahead of San Diego who is in third place. Since Jon Wallace took over the program in 1999 the Broncos have gone 3-3 on their trips to Malibu and Los Angeles, with the three wins all coming against LMU and the three losses all coming to Pepperdine. Two of the three losses did come in five games while the lone other loss came in four games.
Santa Clara vs. No. 9 Pepperdine
Santa Clara and Pepperdine have met 41 previous times entering this weekend's matchup with the Broncos trailing in the all-time series by a 28-13 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. Earlier this season Pepperdine handed Santa Clara just their third loss of the season, taking the match by 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.
Scouting the Waves
Pepperdine enters the week with an 18-6 overall record, a perfect 10-0 mark in the West Coast Conference and the nation's No. 9 national ranking. The Waves are currently on a nine-match winning streak that includes wins over then No. 14 Santa Clara and No. 5 UC Santa Barbara. Katie Wilkins leads the offensive attack for Pepperdine with her 4.75 kills per game average while her 2.49 digs per game average ranks fourth. Christina Hinds leads the Wave defense with her 3.56 digs per game but Paola Rodriguez is right on her heals for the team lead with her digs per game average of 3.55. Rodriguez has directed the Waves to a .285 team hitting percentage with her 12.45 assists per game average.
Santa Clara vs. Loyola Marymount
Santa Clara and LMU have met 43 previous times entering Saturday night's match in Los Angeles, with the Broncos trailing in the all-time series by a 25-18 margin. Recently the Broncos have posted a 7-2 mark against the Lions since 1998 including a current six-match win streak that dates back to the 1999 season. In the Leavey Center earlier this season the Broncos defeated the Lions by a 3-1 score while last year the Broncos swept both meetings with LMU. The last time that Santa Clara lost to Loyola Marymount was on Oct. 23, 1999, when the Lions handed the Broncos a 3-1 loss.
Scouting the Lions
Loyola Marymount enters the week with a 14-9 overall record and a 5-5 mark in the WCC. They are currently in fourth place, two games ahead of Saint Mary's and two games behind third place San Diego. The Lions are currently on a two-match losing streak and have dropped six of their last nine. Their three wins during that time span have come against San Francisco, Saint Mary's and Gonzaga. Kristen Gallup leads the Lion offense with her 4.56 kills per game average while her 2.87 digs per game average is also tops on the team.
NCAA Selection Show Approaches
As the season draws to an end the focus shifts to postseason play. With the winner of the West Coast Conference receiving an automatic big to the tourney, all other conference teams must wait to see if they receive an at-large bid to the tournament. With their current record and ranking, the Broncos are in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament regardless if they can claim a share of the WCC title. This year the field of 64 will be announced on the ESPNEWS network Sunday, December 1st at approximately 6 p.m.
Broncos Honor Seniors
Seniors Amy Grabill, Chrissy Hirsch and Cindy Hirsch were all honored prior to the start of the Broncos' match with Gonzaga on November 9. The three seniors were all met by their parents, escorted out onto the court where they watched a highlight montage and listened to a list of their accomplishments while on the Mission Campus.
Next Week: Home Match with Cal, Back on Road against San Francisco
The Broncos will return to the Leavey Center next Tuesday evening for their final regular season home match of the year as they play host to Bay Area Rival, California. The Golden Bears will enter the Leavey Center hungry for a win as they are on the bubble for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Following that match the Broncos will return to the road for their final WCC match of the year at San Francisco. The Broncos have beaten the Dons in each of their last 25 meetings which is an all-time record in the WCC. Their 25th straight win over USF came earlier this year in the Leavey Center when the Broncos swept the Dons on October 25.
Last Week: Broncos Sweep Portland and Gonzaga
Santa Clara had to guard against a let down after being ranked 11th by the AVCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, the program's highest-ever ranking. Add to that two teams near the bottom of the WCC standings, and there possibly could have been a catastrophe. But, the Broncos came out and swept the Pilots in three-straight Friday night, including a 30-14 score in game two, and followed that up with a convincing 3-0 win over Gonzaga Saturday night on Senior night. The wins pushed the Broncos' record to 22-3 overall and 10-1 in league play.
Many Broncos At or Near Top of WCC Stats
Becky Potter continues to have a tremendous year for the Broncos, posting a 5.24 kills per game average in all contests and a 5.81 kills per game in conference matches only, both of which lead the West Coast Conference. Kelli Sousa also leads the conference in overall assists per game with her 14.60 average and in conference only matches with her 14.78 per game average. Becky Biniek ranks fifth in the conference for hitting percentage with her .346 percentage in WCC only matches and seventh in all matches with her .324 percentage. Potter is fourth in overall hitting percentage at .335 but sixth in WCC only matches with her .338 percentage. Chrissy and Cindy Hirsch are currently sixth and tenth, respectively, in overall digs per game with their 3.40 and 3.06 per game averages. In conference matches only Chrissy is sixth while Cindy is eighth with their 3.38 and 3.24 digs per game averages. In WCC matches only Potter is 10th in the league with her 3.14 digs per game, while her 1.25 blocks per game ranks fourth conference play.
Head Coach Jon Wallace
Santa Clara volleyball has moved into the national spotlight under fourth-year head coach Jon Wallace. One of the top young coaches in the country, Wallace earned West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors in only his second season on the mission campus, taking his 2000 squad to the top of the league standings and into the national spotlight. His career mark currently stands at 89-29 (.754). His winning percentage is currently the highest-ever in Bronco Volleyball history, while his .830 (44-9) winning percentage in league play ranks second in WCC history, trailing only Nina Mathies of Pepperdine who has a .839 win percentage in her 18 years in the league. On Oct. 7, 2000, Wallace earned his 35th career win against USF, becoming the fastest coach in WCC history to reach that plateau. In 1999, Wallace led his team to its best record in six seasons and its first trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Santa Clara, he spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Pepperdine. A three-year starting setter at UC Santa Barbara, Wallace directed the Gauchos to the NCAA Tournament title match in 1988.