Sept. 14, 2004
Santa Clara will continue its seven-match road trip this week, with participation in a second straight tournament. The Broncos travel to Forth Worth, Texas, and will see action at the TCU adidas Invitational. SCU will open on Friday against Appalachian State (6-2) and then play Arkansas-Little Rock (4-4) and the host Horned Frogs (4-2) on Saturday.
Building a Wall
Santa Clara is currently ranked seventh in the nation in blocks per game, boasting a 3.50 average. Freshman Annalisa Muratore leads the team with a 1.48 mark, while fellow newcomer Anna Cmaylo is right behind her with a 1.38 average. Junior Cassie Perret is third on the team, averaging 1.17 blocks per game.
Santa Clara's schedule once again invites the nation's best, as the Broncos' slate includes matches against four teams that finished last season ranked in the top 10 nationally by the AVCA. Santa Clara held its own against national powers Hawaii and UCLA last week, which will be strong preparation for when the West Coast Conference season begins October 1. The quest for the 2004 league crown will be challenging, as six of the eight conference schools advanced to the postseason last year, displaying the national strength of the WCC. Santa Clara will close the conference season with three road games, including visits to the Los Angeles league schools. 18th-ranked Pepperdine was a Sweet 16 team in 2003 and Loyola Marymount is currently ranked 20th. The regular season finale will take place at perennial power Stanford November 23. Santa Clara will then break for Thanksgiving and await the NCAA Selection Show.
Fab Freshman Class
Santa Clara has recruited the ninth-best class in the country, according to PrepVolleyball.com in its annual rankings released in May. Nebraska received the website's top nod, followed by Florida, USC, Ohio State and Washington in the top five. Michigan, Wisconsin and Hawaii were listed ahead of the Broncos, while Kansas rounded out the top 10. West Coast Conference opponents Pepperdine and San Diego were ranked Nos. 24 and 25, respectively.
Four newcomers have made an immediate impact on the program. Middle blocker Annalisa Muratore and Libero Caroline Walters are starters, while Anna Cmaylo sees significant action in the middle, and Crystal Matich splits time at setter.
In the Rankings
Santa Clara slid only two spots in this week's USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll, as selected by the AVCA. The Broncos opened the 2004 season ranked 22nd and received 271 points in the listing. Seven of Santa Clara's opponents are also ranked. The Broncos have already faced No. 3 UCLA and 11th-ranked Hawaii. Also on the schedule are non-conference opponents No. 13 California and No. 14 Stanford, as well as league foes Pepperdine (18th), Loyola Marymount (20th) and San Diego (23rd).
CSTV to Televise Pepperdine Match
College Sports Television, the first 24-hour college sports television network, will televise the Broncos' Sunday, October 24 match against Pepperdine at the Leavey Center. First serve for the live broadcast is set for 3 p.m. The CSTV Sunday Night Spikes telecasts, featuring teams from 12 different conferences, will showcase some of the top players in pursuit of a national title. Carter Blackburn will handle play-by-play on CSTV Sunday Night Spikes, while Heather Cox and Krista Blunk will rotate analyst duties. The match will provide some drama, as Pepperdine has not lost a WCC match since the 2000 WCC finale against Santa Clara.
College Sports TV, the fastest-growing independent cable network, is available to more than 20 million homes nationally on cable and satellite. The network is available on Comcast, Time Warner and Adelphia cable systems, among others, and is also available on DirecTV (channel 610). For information on CSTV availability in particular markets, consumers can log on to www.collegesports.com/getcstv or call their cable or satellite operator.
A Look Ahead: Broncos Remain on the Road
Santa Clara returns to the Bay Area next week and will close a seven-match road trip at nearby San Jose State. The Friday match will be the second installment of this year's Rivalry Series, as the men's soccer teams will square off this weekend. The winner of head-to-head matchups in each sport receives three points for each win. Results are tallied each spring at the conclusion of all competitions. The Series was created in the fall of 2002, with Santa Clara coming away with victories the past two seasons.