Sept. 4, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Through the first five matches of the 2006 season, the sixth-ranked Santa Clara volleyball team has hit an amazing .360, and that is due much in part to the superior play of junior setter Crystal Matich. After posting her second consecutive solid weekend by averaging 14.17 assists a game in 3-0 sweeps over Valparaiso and No. 21 Notre Dame, Matich was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week.
This marks the second straight week that a Bronco has been named WCC Player of the Week, as middle blocker Anna Cmaylo captured the honor after the team's 3-0 mark in capturing the Fresno State Invitational title last weekend.
"Crystal's been amazing for us so far this season, well ahead of pace of where she was last year," said head coach Jon Wallace. "Our hitting percentage has been great, and while a lot of it has to do with our passing and our attackers being good, Crystal has been running a really balanced and aggressive offense as well as being an attacker herself. I'm really happy for her to get this honor, as she really took control of both matches this past weekend."
So far in 2006, Matich, an AVCA All-America Third Team honoree, has dished out 13.87 assists a game, as well as notching 1.33 kills and 0.73 blocks a game, showcasing her as an all-around threat for the Broncos. In opening weekend action, Matich was also named the MVP of the Fresno State Invitational for her efforts.
"She's athletic enough to just dump the ball down [on the attack], which is a huge asset for us," Wallace said of Matich's all-around capabilities. "Teams are beginning to put blockers on her, which then opens things up for her teammates. Her jump-serve is also working extremely well and scoring points for us, so her whole game is really coming around."
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Matich's career at Santa Clara.
No. 6 Santa Clara will travel to Texas this week to take part in the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. The Broncos will face the No. 8 Longhorns Thursday at 4:30 p.m. PT, before closing out tournament action Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. PT against the No. 13 Missouri Tigers.