Dec. 14, 2005
San Antonio, Texas - Cassie Perret has done it again. The 6-1 opposite continues to make history for the Santa Clara women's volleyball program when the American Volleyball Coaches Association named her a First Team All-American today. She becomes the first Bronco in school history to be named on the First Team. However, good news was not just limited to Perret, as sophomores Anna Cmaylo and Crystal Matich also found out that they earned Third Team All-American honors.
"Wow. I am really honored and excited," exclaimed Perret upon hearing the news. "First Team is not something I imagined and I feel so honored to be among the top 12 picked."]
Perret is producing career numbers in almost every statistical category in her final year on the Mission Campus. After hitting 1.87 her first three years at Santa Clara, she is putting the ball down at a .370 rate while averaging 3.22 kills, 2.20 digs, 0.82 blocks and 0.29 aces per game. Playing on the right side for the first time in her collegiate career this season, the Menlo Park, Calif. native has made a seamless transition on her way to capturing numerous awards. In the four pre-season tournaments Santa Clara participated in prior to the WCC schedule, Perret 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, Perret not only collected her second consecutive All-WCC First Team honor, but she was also tabbed as the WCC Player of the Year. In addition, she earned a spot on the All-Pacific Region Team.
"[This honor] just shows the strength of our team and our coaches because getting to the national semi-finals couldn't have been done without outstanding play from everyone. They are the reason why I am getting this award," said Perret.
Added Wallace: "I'm really happy for Cassie that she was named Santa Clara's first First Team All-American. It is such a great honor for her and she's worked so hard for four years. She's put in numerous hours in and this season she's really picked up her play to an All-American level. I'd also like to say that while Cassie won the award, it's really an award for the whole team. I know that the team will definitely share that award with her."
Cmaylo has a been a real force out of the middle for Santa Clara this season, posting team-highs in total blocks (117) and blocks per game (1.17) and sits third on the team in both kills per game (3.26) and hitting percentage (.361). The 6-4 quick hitter 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 and earned a place on the 12-member All-Pacific Region Team.
"I'm really excited, obviously. To have such national recognition like this, people will start looking at Santa Clara as a legitimate national power," stated Cmaylo after learning she was tabbed one of the elite players in the country. "It's not just me though. It's because of Crystal and because of our passing and it's because of our team that Cassie, Crystal and myself can get awards like these."
"I think one of the stars of our future is Anna Cmaylo," declared Wallace. "Her becoming an All-American as a sophomore is so great for our program. Hopefully it will inspire her to become better the next two years."
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 .288 clip and have put down 16.84 kills per game. As the director of the offense, Matich is distributing 13.98 assists per game, in addition to contributing 0.94 kills and 0.56 blocks, and 0.42 aces per game. The sophomore setter earned all-tournament recognition at the Bronco Invitational and was tabbed as an All-WCC and All-Pacific Region 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. In addition, Matich was named to the all-tournament team at the Palo Alto Regional after leading Santa Clara past No. 19 Pepperdine and No. 4 Arizona last weekend to reach San Antonio, the site of this year's national semi-finals.
"I owe this award to my teammates and all the hard work they put into the season," said Matich following the AVCA's All-American announcement. "I've done my part to help out the team and they have always been there for me. They are the reason why I was named Third Team All-American."
"Crystal becoming an All-American is not a shock to me. When we recruited her, it was something we felt she could become and she's been through the toughest year of her life in terms of dealing with me and understanding what the team needs from her. She's done everything we've asked of her and more and it's great to see her awarded for her great play."
The Broncos have now earned a total of five All-American honors, with middle blocker Becky Potter earning a spot on the Second Team in 2002 and a place on the Third Team in 2003. No. 11 Santa Clara will take on No. 1 Nebraska in the national semi-finals on Thursday, December 15 at the Alamodome. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and will be aired live by ESPNU. The winner of that contest will advance to Saturday's championship final against either No. 3 Washington or No. 17 Tennessee.