June 21, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara volleyball team will once again face off against a tough and challenging schedule in 2007, seeking to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament for a program-record 10th year in a row. The Broncos, coming off of a 20-8 record in 2006, will undertake a 2007 slate that sees them do battle in such places as swamps and the tropics against foes that include nine teams that reached the postseason a year ago.
The entire 2007 schedule, including opponents, dates, and times, can be viewed here.
SCU opens the year with nine matches on the road, encompassing weekend tournaments at Boise State, Florida, and Hawaii in the season's first three weekends. The Broncos begin the new season with double-duty on August 24 from Boise, Idaho, taking on the Roadrunners of the University of Texas-San Antonio at 9:30 a.m. PT before battling the CS Fullerton Titans at 3 p.m. PT.
"This upcoming season's schedule will again be a challenging task for us, and we look forward to facing other Top-25 schools year in and year out," said head coach Jon Wallace. "Facing such teams as Hawaii and Florida on their home courts will only further prepare our girls for the conference season and NCAA Tournament."
Santa Clara will look to its senior trio of two-time All-American middle blocker Anna Cmaylo, 2005 All-American setter Crystal Matich, and three-time All-WCC libero Caroline Walters to lead a fresh group of Broncos into the fire. Cmaylo not only led the West Coast Conference and was eighth-best in the nation with a .405 hitting percentage in 2006, but also set an SCU single-season record with the mark. She also added 3.89 kills and 1.12 blocks a game en route to being named an AVCA All-America honorable mention.
Matich, despite missing the first nine matches of the conference season in 2006 due to a foot injury, still managed to pass out 13.32 assists a game, while Walters continued her march towards the all-time Santa Clara digs mark with 427 in 2006, giving her 1,456 career digs leaving her only 404 away from Lia Young's (1990-93) career mark of 1,860.
Along with the seniors, junior Brittany Lowe (2.87 kills, 2.80 digs per game) as well as sophomore and 2006 WCC All-Freshman Team setter/opposite hitter Lindsy Evans (1.58 kills, 5.34 assists per game in split time as a setter and attacker in '06) provide returning support in 2007.
The Broncos will have to also offset the losses of three of their starters from a year ago. The team's top attacker, Kim McGiven, a three-time All-WCC First Team selection, graduates after leading the team with 4.28 kills a game in 2006, while the departures of middle blockers Megan Pura, who graduated in June, and Annalisa Muratore, who left the team midway through last season, leave the second starting middle spot open.
Santa Clara will come home to the Leavey Center for the first time in 2007 Thursday night, Sept. 13 as the team hosts UC Davis for a 7 p.m. match. The match against the Aggies begins an eight-match homestand for Santa Clara, and precedes the Santa Clara Tournament, which runs from Sept. 14-16 and will feature a trio of 2006 postseason teams in California, UC Santa Barbara, and Notre Dame, as well as the host Broncos.
The Broncos will then host San Jose State (Sept. 21) and UNLV (Sept. 23) before beginning WCC play at home for the opening weekend. SCU will host Portland at 7 p.m. on Sept. 27 in their WCC opener, before closing the weekend with the Gonzaga Bulldogs at 1 p.m. on Sept. 29.
The WCC looks to be one of the nation's strongest conference once more in 2007, coming off of a 2006 season which saw three teams (Santa Clara, San Diego, and Pepperdine) reach the postseason. Santa Clara will aim to capture its fifth conference title in 2007, but will face stiff competition from defending champion San Diego, as well as Pepperdine.
"We know exactly what our conference is capable of in terms of talent and success," Wallace said. "Every year is a battle for the conference title and this year should be no different. We feel that our demanding non-conference schedule should prepare us well for our WCC opponents, and as long as we play solid, tough volleyball, we should be successful."