Dec. 7, 2005
Santa Clara, Calif. - The awards just keep on coming for senior Cassie Perret, as the opposite hitter learned today that she was named to AVCA Division I All-Region team. Perret and sophomore Anna Cmaylo represented Santa Clara on the 12-member Pacific Region squad, although sophomore Crystal Matich was tabbed as an honorable mention. This is first regional honor for both Perret and Cmaylo. All three players are eligible for All-American honors, to be announced prior to the Final Four, held December 15-17 in San Antonio, Texas. In addition, it was announced that head coach Jon Wallace was named the Tachikara/AVCA Pacific Region Coach of the Year after leading his squad into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history.
In what is turning out to be her best season to date on the Mission Campus, Perret is producing career numbers in almost every statistical category in 2005, averaging 3.29 kills, 2.14 digs, 0.84 blocks, and 0.29 aces per game, while hitting at a .374 clip. Playing on the right side for the first time in her collegiate career this year, Perret has picked up numerous honors for her outstanding play on the court. In the four pre-season tournaments Santa Clara participated in prior to the WCC schedule, the Menlo Park, Calif. native was just one of two Broncos to be named to every all-tournament team and she was tabbed as the MVP of the Bronco Invitational in mid-September. On September 12 and October 17, Perret was honored as the West Coast Conference Player of the Week and also was voted as the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week on September 12, the first player in school history to win such national acclaim. At the end of the conference season, the 6-1 hitter not only collected her second consecutive All-WCC First Team honor, but she was also tabbed as the WCC Player of the Year.
"I was really surprised when I found out," stated Perret upon learning that she was selected to the All-Region team. "Even though it is an individual honor, it is a testament to how strong the team is. I couldn't have performed as well this season if the team didn't do well."
Added Wallace: "Cassie, being a three-year starter coming into this year, has had the biggest change for us than any player in the program. She went from a .200-.250 hitter to a .300-.400 hitter, which is really hard to do in one year's time. She really dedicated herself in the off-season and really changed her game. I'm glad she's being recognized for her hard work."
Cmaylo has a been a real force out of the middle for Santa Clara this season, posting team-highs in total blocks (111) and blocks per game (1.21) and sits fourth on the team in both kills per game (3.28) and hitting percentage (.352). The 6-4 middle blocker was named the MVP of the Brown Tournament in late September and was also selected to the all-tournament teams at the Holiday Inn-Sunset Classic, the Bronco Invitational, the Hampton Inn-Utah Classic, and the Brown Invitational. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Napa, Calif. native earned a spot on the All-WCC First Team.
"I believe Anna Cmaylo's best volleyball is yet to come," declared Wallace. "She is a threat and probably one of the best slide hitters in the nation. It allows us to use her at any given time. We feel we will have success with her no matter who is blocking on the left side."
Santa Clara is currently having one of the most offensively productive seasons in school history and Matich is one of the big reasons why. The Broncos are hitting at an amazing .291 clip and have put down 16.93 kills per game. As the director of the offense, Matich is distributing 14.09 assists per game, in addition to contributing 0.95 kills and 0.56 blocks, and 0.44 aces per game. The sophomore setter earned all-tournament recognition at the Bronco Invitational and was tabbed as an All-WCC Honorable Mention. Recently, the Forestville, Calif. native was honored as Collegiate Volleyball Update's National Player of the Week after leading Santa Clara to victories over Sacramento State and then-No. 5 Stanford in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
With four returning starters and their libero from 2004, Santa Clara has had one of its most triumphant seasons in school history and Wallace has been the mastermind behind all the success. As the head coach of the Broncos, he has guided them to a West Coast Conference Championship and an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen after upsetting fifth-seeded Stanford last Saturday. Wallace also coached the Broncos to a ranking of No. 10 within the AVCA Top 25 Poll earlier this year, the highest ranking ever for SCU. With four victories over ranked teams this year, Santa Clara is currently 25-4 and is just two wins shy of tying the school record for wins in a season (27), set by the 2000 squad.
"I am extremely honored and I think the coaches in the Pacific Region are some of the best coaches in the country. To be named the Pacific Region Coach of the Year among all the great coaches is amazing to me," said Wallace. "I'm very happy and excited. I give credit to this team and them being so focused on accomplishing their goals and wanting to win. As a coaching staff, we're just along for the ride."
Santa Clara continues its journey in the postseason this Friday afternoon, facing off against WCC rival Pepperdine (19-11) in the Round of 16. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. at Maples Pavilion, on the campus of Stanford University. 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.