Dec. 7, 2005
Santa Clara, Calif. - On a team full of offensive stars who can collect kills from all areas of the court, it is not often that the setter is recognized by the media for her contributions to the team. However, sophomore playmaker Crystal Matich made people take notice of her after stellar performances this past weekend in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. After averaging 16.88 assists per game and guiding the No. 11 Broncos to a .341 hitting percentage in wins over Sacramento State and then-No. 5 Stanford, Collegiate Volleyball Update has named the 5-11 setter as its National Player of the Week. In addition, she also totaled 14 digs, 10 kills and four blocks in the opening stages of the postseason.
"Crystal had a great weekend in leading our team to two victories over Sacramento State and Stanford University. How we regard her success is a) wins and b) team hitting percentage," said head coach Jon Wallace. "I contribute our high hitting percentage to Crystal's decision making and set location. She had a real nice weekend for us."
Against the Hornets last Friday night, the Broncos collectively hit .301 and had five players with over 10 kills on the night, with freshman outside hitter Brittany Lowe and sophomore middle blocker Annalisa Muratore leading the way with 17 kills each. Matich distributed 69 assists in the 23-30, 30-23, 30-20, and 30-23 triumph while chipping in five digs, four kills and two blocks. On the following night, the dual between the two South Bay rivals quickly favored Santa Clara, as they came out on top of Stanford in four tight games, 23-30, 30-19, 30-27, and 31-29. SCU once again had five players with 10 or more kills, this time lead by Kim McGiven's 19 kills. Matich handed out 66 assists and as a result of her crafty decision-making, the squad recorded a .393 clip in the winning effort. The Forestville, Calif. native also added nine digs, six kills, and two blocks in the Broncos' first victory over the Cardinal in 20 tries. The win also propelled Santa Clara into the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
Santa Clara owns an overall record of 25-4 heading into Friday afternoon's Round of 16 showdown with Pepperdine University (19-11) on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. The winner of that contest will face either fourth-seeded Arizona or Ohio in the Elite Eight on the following night. That match will be broadcasted live by ESPNU at 8 p.m.