Sept. 13, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - This Thursday night, the No. 8 Santa Clara University volleyball team returns to the scene of probably the greatest moments in program history. The Broncos will journey 30 minutes up the road to Maples Pavilion, where they upset defending national champion Stanford in last year's NCAA Tournament second round then won the Regional Final against Arizona to reach the Final Four, to take part in the Stanford Invitational this weekend.
SCU (7-1) will open up tournament action with the highly-anticipated, emotionally-charged rematch against the seventh-ranked Cardinal (6-1) Thursday at 7 p.m. Bronco fans will also be able to follow the match live on Gametracker. Last season's victory in the second round was Santa Clara's first win over Stanford in 20 tries, and propelled them on the way to the first Final Four berth in program history.
Tournament action will continue for SCU as they pull double-duty Saturday, opening the day with a 12 p.m. contest against the UC Irvine Anteaters (2-6) before closing things out against the Georgetown Hoyas (5-4) at 7 p.m.
Santa Clara, currently ranked eighth in the nation, is coming off of an emotional and historic win this past Tuesday night, roaring back from an 0-2 deficit to defeat the San Jose State Spartans 3-2 (28-30, 28-30, 30-27, 30-19, 15-6), securing head coach Jon Wallace's 163rd career win, which vaults him to the top of the SCU all-time career victories list, surpassing Mary Ellen Murchison (1978-88).
Middle blocker Anna Cmaylo put down a career-high 26 kills against the Spartans at a .571 clip, and leads the West Coast Conference with a .535 hitting percentage. Outside hitters Kim McGiven and Brittany Lowe both notched double-doubles against the Spartans, while middle blocker Annalisa Muratore had 13 kills and a season-high seven blocks and setter Crystal Matich finished three digs shy of a triple-double, ending the night with 10 kills, 67 assists, and seven digs.
The No. 7 Cardinal will enter Thursday night's clash with the Broncos riding a five-match winning streak which has seen them sweep each of those opponents. Over the weekend, Stanford reeled off sweeps of Northwestern, Fairfield, and ninth-ranked Hawai'i at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Challenge. Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo, and outside hitters Cynthia Barboza, and Kristin Richards were all named to the All-Tournament team for their performances. Akinradewo leads the Cardinal attack with 4.14 kills and 1.71 blocks a game while also hitting .451, while Barboza puts down 4.09 kills and makes 3.05 digs a game.
The Anteaters finished second last weekend at the LMU Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic, defeating Nevada and SMU for their first victories of the season. Middle blocker Kristin Kelly and libero Devon Sutherland were named to the All-Tournament team as a result. Lauren Kellerman leads UC Irvine with 3.71 kills a game, and on the defensive end, Kelley's 1.43 blocks a game and Sutherland's 4.67 digs a game pace the Anteaters. The Broncos hold a 6-1 edge in the all-time series over UC Irvine, including a 3-1 win at last season's Santa Clara Invitational.
The Hoyas will make the trip out to the Bay Area this weekend following after an undefeated weekend which saw them down Campbell and Howard by 3-0 scores before capping it off with a 3-1 victory over Coastal Carolina. Georgetown is led by BIG EAST Player of the Week Jessica Buffem's 4.27 kills a game, Annie Connor's 1.06 blocks per game, and the defense of Katie Nulty, with 4.06 digs per game. Saturday's meeting between the Hoyas and Broncos will be the first ever.
Following this weekend's action, the Broncos will remain in the Bay Area for their 2006 home opener Tuesday night, Sept. 19 against the Sacramento State Hornets at 7 p.m. before heading to the North Bay to begin