Dec. 9, 2005
By Damian Calhoun
The Orange County Register
The level of success Santa Clara volleyball player Brittany Lowe has reached this season should come as no surprise.
Isaac Owens, her high school coach at Esperanza, can attest to that.
Lowe was a two-time Register all-county selection for the Aztecs and led the program to the 2003 CIF-SS DivisionI-AA title.
"She is a self-motivated kid," Owens said. "She is never satisfied with being good, she wants to be great."
Lowe certainly seems to be on her way.
As a freshman outside hitter for Santa Clara, she has won three West Coast Conference player of the week awards, a player of the month honor in October and was voted the conference's freshman of the year.
She has been a major contributor to Santa Clara's season of firsts: the 11th-ranked Broncos have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time. They face WCC rival Pepperdine today at 4:30 p.m. at the Stanford Regional.
"What sets her apart is she really loves to play volleyball, she's always thinking volleyball and she always has a smile on her face," Santa Clara coach Jon Wallace said. "She attacks the game. ... She's aggressive."
Lowe's aggressive play has been evident all year.
"It was hard adjusting," Lowe said. "There is a different level of commitment in college volleyball than high school. Everything is so much faster and precise.
"The biggest adjustment was being mentally tougher, it is a different world."
It took Lowe all of one month to adjust to the college game. She was in the starting lineup in the season opener against Sacramento State on Aug.30.
"I can't take all of the credit," Lowe said. "Everything went well.
"I was nervous (before the Sacramento State match). But when the referee blew the whistle for the first serve, I was OK."
Playing at Esperanza, one of the top programs in the state, Lowe has had plenty of experience playing in big matches against top competition. Her first collegiate opportunity came Oct.2 when No.15 Santa Clara traveled to Pepperdine. In front of a national television audience, Lowe lived up to the billing.
"She took over the match," Wallace said. "She was jumping higher and hitting harder."
Lowe had 24 kills, connecting at a .553 percentage. She also had 13 digs to lead the Broncos to victory.
"Not many players have the whole package," Wallace said. "Lowe does everything well, she passes, hits, serves and plays defense ... her sense of the game is incredible."
Aside from hitting, Lowe prides herself on doing the little things to help Santa Clara win.
"My coaches have always told me that hitting will always be there," Lowe said. "I pride myself on my defense, I don't want anything hitting the floor."