Sept. 29, 2003
This Week: At Sacramento State Before League Openers in Pacific Northwest
The Santa Clara University volleyball team will play a midweek match against Sacramento State on Tuesday evening before heading to the Pacific Northwest for its West Coast Conference openers against Gonzaga on Friday and Portland on Saturday. All three matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. first serves.
No. 16 Santa Clara vs. Sacramento State
The Broncos and the Hornets have met 19 previoius times in the two schools' history with SCU holding a slim 10-9 advantage in the all-time series. Santa Clara defeated Sacramento State by a 3-1 score on October 29 of last year in the Leavey Center. In their last five meetings, the Broncos have posted a 3-2 record, including victories in the last three matches. The Hornets enter the match with a 9-6 overall record led by Sandra Bandimere's 3.62 kills per game and Lisa Beauchene's 10.93 assists and 3.16 digs per game. Sac State is currently on a four match win streak dating back to September 20.
No. 16 Santa Clara vs. Gonzaga
The Broncos and the Bulldogs have met 32 previous times entering Friday night's contest with SCU holding a commanding 26-6 advantage. Santa Clara has defeated the Bulldogs 16 straight time, a streak that dates back to the 1995 season. The last time that Gonzaga defeated the Broncos was on November 4, 1994. The Bulldogs enter the match with a 3-11 overall record, having last played on September 24. Three Gonzaga players are currently averaging over three kills per game, led by Natasha Kozen and her 3.30 average. Defensively, Heather Signor paces the team with her 3.37 digs per game.
No. 16 Santa Clara vs. Portland
The Broncos and the Pilots have met 35 previous times entering Saturday night's contest with SCU holding a commanding 28-7 advantage. Santa Clara has defeated the Pilots in 16 straight matches, a streak that dates back to the 1995 season. The last time that Portland defeated the Broncos was on November 5, 1994. The Pilots enter the week with a 10-3 overall record and will play twice before their meeting with SCU. They have a Tuesday night matchup with in-state rival, Oregon State, before taking on San Diego Friday night to open league play. Heather Denison is averaging over four kills per game to pace the Portland offense while Murphy McClenahan's 3.47 digs per game ranks first on the Pilot defense.
Last Weekend: Home Opener Against No. 2 Hawaii
Santa Clara played its first home match of the season on Sunday, taking on No. 2 Hawaii in front of 1,562 fans in the Leavey Center and a live national television audience on CSTV. The match went to Hawaii by a 3-0 score, but the Broncos played good volleyball and proved that they belong among the nation's elite. The national telecast was a first for the Broncos, who had appeared on local television before, but never national television. The game was played as part of the AVCA Sunday Night Spike package that is available on CSTV.
Looking for Number 100
With the Broncos' 3-0 win over previously unbeaten George Washington on September 19, Santa Clara head coach Jon Wallace picked up his 99th win, making him the second winningest coach in Santa Clara volleyball history. Wallace will have three chances this week at his 100th-win as the Broncos take on Sacramento State, Gonzaga and Portland.
The Broncos' home opener this season against No. 2 Hawaii was historic for the program in that it was the largest home attendance in SCU volleyball history. 1,562 fans attended the match and vaulted the Broncos to No. 14 in the country for average attendance. The previous record was set against Stanford when 1,261 attended the match in 1999.
Santa Clara has racked up many individual honors thus far in the 2003 season. Senior Becky Potter earned tournament MVP honors at both the Wildcat and Gamecock Invitationals while also earning all-tournament honors at the U.S. Bank/Arby's Classic hosted by Nebraska. Kelli Sousa has earned all-tournament honors at both the Wildcat and Gamecock Invitionals while Jac Heler earned all-tournament honors at the Wildcat Invite and Cassie Perret earned all-tournament honors at the Gamecock Invite. Additionally, Becky Potter was named the West Coast Conference player of the week on September 8.
Playing the Best
Santa Clara has faced and will continue to face one of the toughest schedules in the nation during the 2003 season. Through the first 13 matches, the Broncos have faced five ranked teams, and nine teams that appeared in the 2002 NCAA Touranemnt. Still to come are 10 matches against teams currently ranked in the top-25, including four against top-10 ranked squads.
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. 16 spending the previous week at No. 17. Additionally, the West Coast Conference has five teams ranked in the top-25 along with one other receiving votes.
Up Next: Cal and San Diego
Santa Clara returns to the Bay Area next week for two matches, the first being a road non-conference match at No. 9 California. Following that match, the Broncos will take on No. 19 San Diego on Saturday, October 11, in the Leavey Center. The match against San Diego will be the first home conference match of the season for Santa Clara and the second overall, both of which will have been against top-20 teams.