Santa Clara Finishes Fourth in Final AVCA Poll
Dec. 25, 2005
Santa Clara, Calif. - A year ago, the Santa Clara women's volleyball team had gotten together to set goals for the upcoming season and the squad had decided to win the West Coast Conference title. Twelve months later, not only did the Broncos accomplish their goal of becoming league champions, but they also rewrote program history along the way, including a trip to the national semi-finals, the farthest they have gone in the NCAA Tournament. And for its efforts, Santa Clara was rewarded with a final ranking of No. 4 in the AVCA Top 25 Poll, its highest finish ever and the first time it had been placed in the Top 10 at the conclusion of the season. Ahead of Santa Clara was Washington at No. 1, the national champions, Nebraska at No. 2, the national championship finalists, and Florida at No. 3, the Southeastern Conference champions.
Led by three All-Americans, the Broncos defeated three ranked opponents on their way to San Antonio, Texas, the site of this year's national semi-finals. Then-No. 19 Pepperdine, then-No. 5 Stanford, and then-No. 4 Arizona were among Santa Clara's victims in the three-week NCAA Tournament. In addition, the victory over the Cardinal was a historical milestone, as it was the first time in school history that SCU had defeated its South Bay rival in 20 tries.
Senior Cassie Perret became Santa Clara's first First Team All-American and the 2005 WCC Player of the Year was a major reason why SCU was so successful this season. Sophomores Anna Cmaylo and Crystal Matich also earned national accolades for the Mission Campus, as the duo was named Third Team All-Americans. Head coach Jon Wallace guided the Broncos during their record-breaking season and to an overall mark of 27-5, tying the 2000 squad for the best record during a single season. As a result of his superb coaching abilities, Wallace was named both the Pacific Region Coach of the Year and the WCC Coach of the Year.
Although Santa Clara graduates Lexie Bothman, Rachel Greenburg, Kristin Luxton and Perret, five starters return along with the libero. In addition, a strong recruiting class will enter the Mission Campus in the Fall of 2006, setting the foundation for a formidable team for years to come.