Nov. 2, 2004
Santa Clara will aim at league leader San Diego this weekend in an attempt to improve their standing in the conference rankings. The 20th-ranked Broncos will take on No. 21 San Diego on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the Leavey Center. The Toreros are undefeated in WCC action--two games ahead of SCU--and are 16-4 overall. Santa Clara is a perfect 8-0 on its home court and will look to extend that mark against USD.
Building a Wall
Santa Clara is currently ranked second in the nation in blocks per game, boasting a 3.52 average. Freshman Annalisa Muratore leads the team with a 1.86 mark, which ranks tops in the nation. Fellow newcomer Anna Cmaylo is next with a 1.22 average. Junior Cassie Perret is right behind her, averaging 1.19 blocks per game.
In Other National Stats
Santa Clara is currently ranked third in the nation in blocks per game (3.46) and 26th in assists per game (15.01). Individually, freshman Annalisa Muratore is also ranked 20th nationally in hitting percentage, boasting a .391 clip.
Fab Freshman Class
Santa Clara 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, setter Crystal Matich and Libero Caroline Walters are starters, while Anna Cmaylo splits time at middle blocker.
Live Video Streaming Available on the Internet
Santa Clara and CollegeSports.com are combining to expand live coverage of Bronco sports this season with the addition of live streaming video feeds of most of the school's home athletic events. A part of College Sports Pass, a subscription-based service provided by RealNetworks, the live video feeds will be available on Santa Clara's official athletic website at SantaClaraBroncos.com, as well as collegesports.com and real.com. The school will also continue to provide live statistical coverage of at least six sports through the popular Gametracker feature. Santa Clara remains on the cutting edge of technology, as it provides Bronco fans with some of the most comprehensive live web coverage of any school in the country for the past several years. By logging on, fans can now watch the games and view real-time statistics direct from the official scoring computer, all right from the convenience of a home computer.
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, which has been strong preparation for when the West Coast Conference season began 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. 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.
In the Rankings
Despite two victories, Santa Clara moved one spot down to No. 20 in this week's USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll, as selected by the AVCA. The Broncos opened the 2004 season ranked 22nd. Seven of Santa Clara's opponents are also ranked. The Broncos have already faced No. 3 UCLA, 11th-ranked Hawaii and No. 12 California. Also on the schedule are non-conference opponent No. 11 Stanford and WCC rivals Saint Mary's and San Diego. Santa Clara entered Volleyball Magazine's poll five weeks ago and is No. 18 as of last week's listing.
In the WCC Statistics
Santa Clara leads the West Coast Conference in two categories: blocks (3.46 pg) and opponent hitting percentage (.160). The Broncos are second in kills (16.27 pg), assists (15.01 pg) and hitting percentage (.245), while ranking fifth in service aces (1.32 pg) and sixth in digs (16.30 pg). Individually, Annalisa Muratore leads the league in hitting percentage (.391) and blocks (1.86 pg), and is seventh in kills (3.46 pg). Additionally, Caroline Walters is third in digs (4.82 pg) and Anna Cmaylo is fifth in blocks (1.22 pg). Santa Clara has the most balance in its offense in conference listings, as Kim McGiven is 10th in the WCC with a 3.20 kills per game mark, and Toni Muratore is right behind her at 3.19, making the Broncos one of only two league schools with three players ranked in the top 15 in this category.
Middle blocker Annalisa Muratore is the first freshman to be named WCC Player of the Week since her sister, junior outside hitter Toni Muratore, earned the honor on October 15, 2001. As a tandem on the court, the Muratores have combined for 488 kills, 39 percent of Bronco totals. Defensively, the pair have tallied 192 blocks, or 41 percent of SCU's production.
A Look Ahead: Broncos Close Out Home Schedule
Santa Clara remains at the Leavey Center to close out the home regular season. The Broncos will host Saint Mary's and San Francisco. Prior to the match against the Dons on Saturday night, Santa Clara will honor senior Christina Vick. A former player, Vick has been working in the volleyball office since an injury forced her to end her playing career two years ago.
Match Tickets on Sale
Individual match tickets for Santa Clara University's nationally-recognized volleyball team are on sale through the Department of Athletics' official website SantaClaraBroncos.com, and the ticket office at 408-554-4660, between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In conjunction with its exclusive Internet partner, College Sports Online, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase family plans, individual matches or an all-sports pass via the website. Single matches are priced at $7 for adult reserved, $5 for adult general admission, $3 for youths and seniors and $2 for SCU students as well Bronco Kidz members. Single match team passes are also available for $30.