Sept. 2, 2003
This Week: Wildcat Invitational Hosted by the University of Arizona
The 20th-ranked Santa Clara University volleyball squad will travel to Tucson, Arizona for the Wildcat Invitational this week. The Broncos will play four matches in the tournament, beginning with No. 10 Arizona on Thursday evening. Saturday's schedule features matches against Rhode Island and San Diego State before the tournament finale on Saturday against Miami.
Santa Clara vs. Arizona
Santa Clara and Arizona have met only four times in the two program's history. The Wildcats hold the all-time series advantage over the Broncos with their 4-0 record. The last time these two teams met was in 2000 when the Wildcats defeated Santa Clara by a 3-0 score in the Starwoods Plaza Classic in Tucson. The first meeting between the schools came in 1982 when Arizona posted a 2-0 victory at the Fullerton Invitational. Arizona enters the tournament with the nation's No. 10 ranking and a 2-1 record. The Wildcats have posted wins over Eastern Washington and No. 5 Pepperdine after dropping their season opener to Notre Dame.
Santa Clara vs. Rhode Island
Santa Clara and Rhode Island have met only once, that match was played in 1996 at the Wahine Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Broncos took the match by a 3-2 score in 1996. The Rams enter the Wildcat Invitational with a 1-3 record, having defeated Southeast Missouri State after dropping matches to Penn State, Maine and Colorado.
Santa Clara vs. San Diego State
Santa Clara and San Diego State have met only twice in the history of the two programs. The Aztecs took the first meeting between the school in 1985 by a 2-0 score at the Fullerton Invitational. The second meeting was in 1991, this time with the Broncos coming out on top by a 3-0 score on October 4 in Santa Clara. SDSU enters the Wildcat Invitational with a 2-1 overall record having posted wins over UC Riverside and Hofstra. Their lone loss this season came against Rice.
Santa Clara vs. Miami
Saturday morning's match with Miami will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Hurricanes enter the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record, having defeated Manhattan, Kent State and Indiana.
Through the first two matches of the season, the Broncos have had three players register double-doubles in both matches. Becky Potter has recorded matches with 19 kills and 18 digs against Pacific to go along with her 18 kill, 14 dig performance against San Jose State. Jac Heler contributed 12 kills and 17 digs against UOP and another 12 kills and 13 digs against the Spartans. Cassie Perret had 11 kills and 10 digs against the Tigers, and posted 11 kills and a tean-high 15 digs in the 3-1 win over SJSU.
After the first two matches of the year, senior Becky Potter has moved from fifth place all-time, to third place all-time in career kills at Santa Clara. Her 37 kills thus far in 2003 give her1,310 for her career. She trails only Lia Young (1,496) and Ynez Carrasco (1,748) for the all-time mark. Additionally, in digs Potter has 773 for her career, leaving her only227 shy of the 1,000 dig plateau. When she reaches the milestone she will become only the sixth player in program history to accomplish such a feat.
Setting the Tone
Kelli Sousa has become one of the best setters in the nation. As a junior she led the country in assists per game. She has picked up in 2003 right where she left off in 2002. Thus far this season Sousa is averaging 15.62 assists per game, nearly 1.3 assists more than she averaged as a junior. In the team's first two matches, Sousa was able to spread the ball around enough that five players ended each match with double-digit kills. With 125 assists this season, she now has 3,626 for her career, the fourth highest total in program history. She trails third place Julie Jamile by only 249 assists. Kris Kosnoski posted 4,421 in her career while Roz Pelayo recorded 5,732 assists in her four year span.
Back with a Vengeance
Redshirt sophomore Toni Muratore has made a successful comeback from a season-ending injury that was suffered prior to the start of the 2002 season. In her first two matches back, Muratore is averaging 4.25 kills per game to go along with a team-bst .438 hitting percentage. She set two career-highs in the Broncos' 3-1 win at San Jose State with her 22 kills and nine digs.
Junior transfer Jac Heler has made a big impression on the Mission Campus in her first two games, averaging 3.00 kills per game and 3.75 digs per game. She is currently third on the team in kills per game and second in digs per game. Her .263 hitting percentage is among the team leaders while her nine block assists are second on the team.
In the Rankings
SCU began the season with its highest-ever preseason national ranking, coming out of the blocks at No. 14 n the AVCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll. Currently the Broncos are ranked No. 20 after falling at the University of the Pacific in the season opener. Pacific is currently the top team receiving votes of those not in the top-25.
Santa Clara will face one of the toughest schedules in the nation during the 2003 season, squaring off with eight opponents who were ranked in the preseason top-25, including four matches against teams that were ranked in the top-5, and six matches against teams ranked in the top-10. This weekend will be the first time this season that the Broncos will face an opponent ranked in the top-25. Santa Clara will take on No. 10 Arizona in the nightcap of the first day of the Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Ariz.
Head Coach Jon Wallace
Jon Wallace enters his fifth season at the helm of the Santa Clara program. During his four years on the Mission Campus, Wallace has guided the Broncos to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and two season records that rank among the top three in school history. His .734 win overall win percentage and his .821 mark in WCC play give him the best winning percentage in school history with each being more than 100 points better than the next closest coach. During his tenure the Broncos have had 20 all-WCC selections, six all-WCC academic selections, two AVCA All-Pacific Region players, one WCC Player of the Year, one WCC Defender of the Year, one WCC Freshman of the Year and one AVCA All-American. Wallace himself was named the WCC Coach of the Year in 2000 when he led the Broncos to the WCC title.
Up Next: U.S. Bank/Arby's Invitational
Santa Clara will continue its season-opening 12-match road trip with three matches against ranked opponents in the U.S. Bank/Arby's Invitational hosted by Nebraska in Lincoln. SCU will take on No. 5 Nebraska on Friday evening at 5 p.m. Saturday's match against No. 12 Georgia Tech will take place at a time still to be determined because of the Nebraska-Penn State football game that day in Lincoln. Sunday's final game of the tournament for the Broncos will be played at 10 a.m. against No. 25 Michigan State.