Nov. 22, 2005
San Bruno, Calif. - In what is turning out to be her best season on the Mission Campus, Cassie Perret was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, joining Kris Kosnoski (1993) and Ynez Carrasco (2000) as the only players in Santa Clara history to win the award. Perret wasn't the only Bronco to pick-up some postseason hardware, as outside hitter Brittany Lowe was voted WCC Freshman of the Year, while Jon Wallace was honored as WCC Coach of the Year. San Diego's Jackie Bernardin prevented a SCU sweep, picking up Defensive Player of the Year for the third consecutive year.
A total of five players earned All-WCC honors, as Perret, Lowe, outside hitter Kim McGiven, and middle blocker Anna Cmaylo were placed on the All-WCC First Team, while setter Crystal Matich earned All-WCC Honorable Mention. In addition, Lowe was named to the All-WCC Freshman team.
Perret distinguished herself during conference play as one of the most versatile hitters on the team, garnering kills from all areas of the court. The 6-1 opposite averaged 3.34 kills, 2.12 digs, and .85 blocks per game, while hitting .373, one of the best attacking percentages in the country. In 2003, Perret earned All-WCC Honorable Mention and last season, she was placed on the All-WCC First Team. Earlier in the year, Perret was named the AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week (9/12) after her stunning performance at the Bronco Invitational, where she averaged 4.70 points, 4.10 kills, 2.10 digs, and 1.20 blocks per game while hitting at a stellar .415 clip during the three-day event. Perret guided her team to victories over No. 6 Arizona and then-No. 18 UC Santa Barbara. In addition, she picked up two WCC Player of the Week (9/12 and 10/17) honors to round out a great senior campaign.
"I was really surprised and really happy after I found out I won the award. It's a great way to cap off my senior season, heading into the postseason," said Perret.
Added Wallace: "Cassie Perret has had a very consistent year. She's probably made the biggest strides out of anybody in the WCC, going from her junior year to her senior year. She does a lot for us. She hits, she passes, she blocks... her all-around game is a big reason why we've had a lot of success this year."
Lowe becomes the second consecutive Bronco to win WCC Freshman of the Year, after middle blocker Annalisa Muratore picked up the award in 2004, and third overall, joining former All-American Becky Potter (2000). The 6-0 outside hitter averaged 3.47 kills at a respectable .220 hitting percentage. Getting kills isn't the only strength in Lowe's repertoire - her great all-around game enabled her to tally a team-leading 12 double doubles in 2005 and she notched 3.13 digs, 0.41 blocks, and 0.33 aces per game. In addition, she was a key component to the Broncos' passing rotation and her poise under pressure made her a dependable player for her teammates to lean on during crunch time. Lowe earned three WCC Player of the Week honors (10/03, 10/24, & 10/31), the most of any player in the conference, and was named WCC Player of the Month (October).
"It was a goal of mine from the very first day of the season," declared Lowe. "We had a goal-setting meeting and everyone on the team had to write down three goals. One of mine was getting WCC Freshman of the Year. I was shocked and excited when I Jon told me."
"I'd say our team almost needed Brittany Lowe to get Freshman of the Year in order for our team to win conference," said Wallace. "We needed her to play at that caliber and she came in as a confident player. Her confidence and desire is a big reason why she won the award. She backed up her great play."
This season, Wallace guided his squad to the WCC title for the second time during his seven-year tenure and fourth in school history. With an overall record of 23-4, this is the fifth time where Wallace has put forth a 20-win season and his squad is only four wins shy of the school record for most wins in a year, set in 2000. Wallace was accompanied on the sidelines this year by assistant coaches Dustin Moore, Matt Lyles, and Will Yuen.
"In regards to winning Coach of the Year, I think I have to defer to my staff who worked really hard to make the players on the court perform at a high level. I look at it as a Staff Coach of the Year award," described Wallace. "I'm all for the players - they are the ones that make this team great and they are the ones that won conference. The coaches are just along for the ride."
McGiven and Cmaylo join their two teammates on the first team. For McGiven, it is her second consecutive All-WCC First Team honor. On the year, the 6-1 outside hitter averaged 4.15 kills per game, providing Santa Clara with a reliable weapon on the left side of the court. She also added 2.16 digs and .47 blocks per game. For Cmaylo, this is her first postseason honor and one that is well deserved. She leads the team both in blocks (105) and blocks per game (1.25) and her slide attack out of the middle has proven to be virtually unstoppable at times, as she posted 3.24 kills per game at a .367 clip. Matich earned Honorable Mention accolades after setting the team to a WCC-leading .287 hitting percentage and dishing out a league-leading 13.84 assists per game.
Santa Clara will now await its postseason fate this Sunday at 11:30 a.m., Pacific Standard Time, when the 2005 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament Selection Show will be televised live by ESPNews. The Broncos are expected to earn a berth into the postseason for the eighth consecutive year and hope to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history.
2005 ALL-WCC First Team
Jackie Bernardin, USD - SR - L - Bakersfield, CA
Mandy Bible, SMC - JR - S - Santa Barbara, CA
Anna Cmaylo, SCU - SO - MB - Napa, CA
Christie Dawson, USD - JR - MH - Apple Valley, CA
Heather Hughes, LMU - SO - S/OH - Fallbrook, CA
Christina Kirk, SMC - JR - MB - San Jose, CA
Brittany Lowe, SCU - FR - OH - Yorba Linda, CA
Kim McGiven, SCU - JR - OH - Encinitas, CA
Sophia Milo, PEP - JR - MB - Portland, OR
Cassie Perret, SCU - SR - OP - Menlo Park, CA
Lindsey Sherburne, USD - SR - S - Saratoga, CA
Missie Stidham, SMC - SO - OH - Fresno, CA
Gonzaga - Becky Jones
Loyola Marymount - Dina DeBernardi
Pepperdine - Melissa Mehlhorn, Lecca Roberts, Julie Rubenstein
Saint Mary's - Cassandra Kolkka, Kaui Salzman
San Francisco - Kristin Hasselberg, KeLicia Shorts
Santa Clara - Crystal Matich
2005 ALL-WCC Freshman Team
Brittany Barker, SMC - MB - Gilbert, AZ
Darcy Carroll, USF - S - Gilroy, CA
Cassi Chamberlain, PEP - RS - Lakewood, CA
Emily Day, LMU - OH - Torrance, CA
Jeanne Fairchild, USD - OH - Albuquerque, NM
Brittany Lowe, SCU - OH - Yorba Linda, CA
Julie Rubenstein, PEP - OH - Camarillo, CA