Sept. 6, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After a stellar four-year volleyball career at Santa Clara University, including being a crucial part of the team's magical run to the Final Four and becoming the program's only first-team All-American, 2006 alumnae Cassie Perret was named the 2006 Female Amateur Athlete of the Year by the San Jose Sports Authority on Wednesday afternoon.
Perret will be one of the award-winners honored at the 2006 Induction Ceremony and Dinner at the HP Pavilion, along with the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame's 2006 Class of Inductees, which was announced earlier this year and is comprised of former Santa Clara football and San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Bill McPherson, college coach and administrator Walt McPherson, Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz, and former San Jose Lasers star Jennifer Azzi.
"When [Santa Clara head coach] Jon Wallace called me with the news, I assumed it would be about coming to scrimmage against the team," Perret said. "This honor comes as a very pleasant surprise. The 2005 season was one of best periods of my life, so it's wonderful to be recognized."
Over her four years at Santa Clara, Perret, a native of Menlo Park, established herself as one of the school's best volleyball players of all time. At the end of her career, Perret's name was etched in the top five of the SCU career record book in the categories of total kills (1,331 - 4th), total attempts (3.452 - 5th), block assists (304 - 4th), and total blocks (333 - 4th).
She was also a three-time All-WCC performer, being named honorable mention as a sophomore in 2003 before earning First Team status in her junior and senior years.
As a senior in 2005, Perret turned in a career year, which included starting all 32 of the team's matches and posting career-high totals of 370 kills (3.22 per game), a .368 hitting percentage and 33 service aces (0.29 per game), as well as 249 digs (2.17 per game) and 92 total blocks (0.80 per game). She also was named Santa Clara's first-ever AVCA National Player of the Week on Sept. 12, 2005, earned the West Coast Conference Player of the Year award, and became the first SCU volleyball player to be named to the AVCA All-America First Team.
"The 2005 season was surreal. It was everything that we had worked for and dreamed about all these years, and it was just so rewarding, especially as a senior," Perret commented on the history-making 2005 season. "Everyone wants to end their final season with a bang, and I'm so proud and grateful to my teammates for helping make my final year an unbelievable one. I owe everything to them and to my coaches."
Wallace, who oversaw Perret's growth as a college player over her four years, credits the former outside hitter as one of the major reasons that the team was able to make its Final Four run in 2005.
"I give a lot of credit to this University for producing the types of people they do, and from bringing Cassie in as a freshman to her senior year she has grown and matured enormously," said Wallace. "She had an amazing year last season, and it was a big reason why we made it to the Final Four. For her to be recognized, especially in this community, which she was born and raised in, is awesome and I am so happy for her."
"Over the past four years I've really been challenged by Jon and the coaching staff, both on and off the court," Perret reflected. "Even though they were tough at the time, the experiences and skills I've acquired through their challenges have made me into a much more mature and outgoing person; I can't thank them enough for setting the bar high and bringing out the best in me."
Perret will be honored alongside Male Amateur Athlete of the Year Kinji Green, a defensive tackle for the San Jose State football team, Male and Female High School Athletes of the Year Jeremy Lin (boys' basketball) of Palo Alto and Jeneba Tarmoh (girls' track and field) of Mt. Pleasant, and Special Olympian of the year Stephanie Ching.