Aug. 3, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Coming off its fourth West Coast Conference title and a Final Four appearance in 2005, the Santa Clara University women's volleyball team was unanimously selected to repeat as WCC champs in 2006 in the conference's preseason coaches poll. The Broncos earned all eight first place votes and 64 points overall to outdistance second-ranked Pepperdine by nine points.
Led by 2005 Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year, Jon Wallace, the Broncos posted a 27-5 record last year and reached the NCAA Final Four for the first time in school history. Three Broncos earned All-American honors, including returning stars Anna Cmaylo and Crystal Matich. Also returning for Wallace's squad are All-WCC performers Kim McGiven and Brittany Lowe along with senior Megan Pura and libero Caroline Walters. The team also won its first 11 WCC contests on the way to a 12-2 conference mark in 2005, capturing the league title for the first time since 2000.
"I'm extremely honored and a little surprised that we are the unanimous choice to win the West Coast Conference this season," said Wallace. "I believe that with all of the talented teams in the WCC this season, it will be one of the toughest and closest races to win the title in the last 10 years. Our conference should be one of the strongest in the nation, and I'm looking forward to the WCC teams performing well during the preseason."
SCU will play its usual slate of 14 matches against its WCC opponents beginning the weekend of September 28-30 against Saint Mary's and San Francisco. On October 5-7, the Broncos then host the Loyola Marymount Lions and Pepperdine Waves to open their conference home slate. After a 2005 season which saw a conference-record six WCC teams reach the NCAA Tournament, the 2006 WCC season should be one of the most competitive in years.
Women's Volleyball 2006 Preseason Poll
1. Santa Clara - 64 (8)
2. Pepperdine - 55
3. San Diego - 45
4. Saint Mary¹s - 36
5. Loyola Marymount - 35
6. San Francisco - 27
7. Gonzaga - 17
8. Portland - 9
(First place votes)