October 16, 2007

Bronco Volleyball Battles Pepperdine On ESPNU Thursday

Oct. 16, 2007

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    SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara volleyball team dives further into West Coast Conference play as it host Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount this week. The Broncos and Waves will battle it out on national television, as the match will be aired on ESPNU at 8 p.m., PT on Thursday, Oct. 18. Then, on Saturday, Oct. 20, SCU will face LMU at 1 p.m. Both matches will be held at the Leavey Center.

    SCU Hosts Dig For The Cure Fundraiser Saturday
    The Santa Clara women's volleyball team will be one of many collegiate volleyball programs to participate in this year's "Dig for the Cure" program to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The Broncos have selected their home match against Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Oct. 20, to host the nationwide event.

    "This is a great event for college students to participate in," said head volleyball coach Jon Wallace. "It opens up their world and gives them a new perspective on life. They are also given the opportunity to help others with the sport that they love so much."

    Fans can sponsor the Broncos by pledging money per dig recorded in the match that Saturday afternoon, or can make a flat donation. The money raised by the Santa Clara volleyball program goes directly to the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Fans can access more information about the event and how to sponsor their Broncos by visiting the volleyball homepage on SantaClaraBroncos.com.

    "Breast cancer has become a major issue in our live today," said redshirt freshman Kim Courtney. "It is very important for young women to be supportive of this cause and I believe that hosting an event like `Dig for the Cure' will help being awareness to our campus and community. Hopefully this event will help make a difference in many lives."

    Last Week for the Broncos
    Santa Clara split another week's contests dropping a hard-fought 3-0 loss to Sacramento State on Tuesday and then blanking conference rival Saint Mary's on Friday. Despite the loss to the Hornet, several Broncos delivered career performances at the Hornets Nest. Outside hitter Courtney posted her second double-double of the season with a career-high 14 kills and a personal best 12 digs. Junior Taylor O'Brien also tallied a career-best eight kills. Senior setter Crystal Matich posted a match-high six total blocks, which also happens to tie her personal-best.

    On Friday, SCU returned to league play and dominated in its match against long-time rival Saint Mary's College. In that contest, Matich posted a match-high .571 hitting percentage (4-0-7), while tying the match-high two service aces. Juniors Lauryn Dowd and Nichole Clark also recorded spectacular performances on the court for Santa Clara.

    Junior Brittany Lowe continues to lead the Broncos in kills, service aces and points this season. The outside hitter averages 3.71 kills per game, and has tallied 23 aces and 294 points. Another standout on this year's squad is Matich, who has done an impressive job controlling SCU's offense. She averages a team-best 12.83 assists per game and leads the squad with a .350 hitting percentage (85-23-177). Matich is also tied for first on the team with 23 aces. Meanwhile, libero Caroline Walters has collected 336 digs thus far, and sophomore Lindsy Evans leads Santa Clara with 43 total blocks (13 solo, 30 assists). Dowd is not too far behind the opposite hitter, with 41 total blocks (three solo, 38 assists).

    Follow The Broncos Online
    Every Santa Clara home game and most road games are covered live on the Internet via www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. All home games will also feature a live video broadcast as well.

    Closing In On Program History
    It seems as though it was only yesterday that senior libero Walters was a mere 405 digs away from setting a new program record for career digs. Eight weeks later, only 69 digs stand in the way of Walters and Bronco volleyball history.

    Walters began the season with 1,456 career digs, which were just 405 behind the current school record of 1,860 set by Lia Young (1990-93). Nine matches remain in Santa Clara's regular season calendar for Walters to set the record. As long as the leader of the back row registers eight kills in each of the remaining contests, the record will belong to the Los Gatos native. Walters has recorded double-digit digs in all but two matches this season and posted a season-high of 23 against Notre Dame on Sept. 16.

    Over the course of her three seasons at Santa Clara, Walters has compiled a career total of 1,792 digs and earned two All-WCC honors. Be sure to continue to check www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for updates as Walters closes in on making school history.

    Broncos In The Record Books
    There hasn't been too much moving around in the SCU volleyball record books this week. Setter Matich continues to own the largest foothold in the records as she is ranked in six categories. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native remains in the No. 3 spot in career hitting percentage (.333) and career assists average (11.70). Matich has dished out 3,860 assists in her three and a half seasons on the court for the Broncos, while is just 15 assists shy of fourth on the all-time list. In her last career leaders list, Matich remains in ninth place overall in all-time service aces with 113.

    Junior Lowe holds steady at the No. 7 spot on the all-time kills per game list, averaging 3.29 per game. Last week, she entered the career-digs average list at No. 7 and holds onto that ranking this week as well with 2.93 digs per game. Senior Walters is in first place in all-time dig average (4.67), and is closing in on the No. 1 spot in career digs.

    In the single season list, Matich checks in at No. 7 in hitting percentage for 2007 (.350) and round out the top 10 in assists average, dishing out 12.83 per game. In digs average for a single season, Walters owns the No. 1, 2, 4 and No. 5 spots on the list. This year, she claims second place as she averages 4.73 digs per game.

    Santa Clara In The WCC
    Three weeks of league play have elapsed and the Broncos are tied for first in the conference with a 4-1 WCC mark. San Diego and Thursday's opponent, Pepperdine, also own a similar league record. In all games, Santa Clara is ranked third in assists and service aces and fourth in kills and digs.

    Individually, Lowe and Evans hold onto their No. 7 and No. 9 respective kills rankings from last week. Matich and Walters also hold onto their second place rankings from last week in assists and digs, respectively.

    In conference matches only, the Broncos are first in the WCC in assists and service aces, and third in hitting percentage and kills. Santa Clara also has seven players ranked in all statistical categories. Junior Dowd claims fourth place this week with a .360 hitting percentage, while Evans is ranked sixth in the same list. In kills per game, Lowe checks in at No. 4 and Evans and freshman Krista Kelley are ranked 11th and 12th, respectively. In assists, Matich take the No. 3 spot, while Clark rounds out the top 10 in blocks per game. In service aces, Evans leads the WCC, while Dowd takes a fourth place ranking, and in digs per game, Walters is ranked second while Lowe averages 3.00 digs per game for 12th place.

    Five Broncos In Triple Digit Kills
    After solid efforts against both Sacramento State and Saint Mary's, junior Dowd joined four of her fellow Broncos in triple digit kills this week. Junior Lowe holds onto the first place on the squad for the second week with 256 kills. Sophomore Evans follows with 236 kills. Freshman Kelley is third on the team with 153 kills, and although she's missed the past two weeks to a hand injury, sophomore Nina Sevastopoulos continues to hold onto fourth place with 111 kills. However, Dowd is close behind her with 106 kills thus far. The group has compiled 862 kills, which is just about one and a half times Santa Clara's total for the season. Next to possibly join this group is senior Matich. The setter has tallied 85 kills.

    Bronco Blogging
    All year long, Bronco fans can receive an inside look at the volleyball team by checking in with Walters' blog on SantaClaraBroncos.com.

    Walters will be posting a new entry each week to let fans know what is going on with the team and its players both on and off the field.

    To read Walter's blog along with other Bronco sports blogs, click on the link on the right side of the SantaClaraBroncos.com homepage.

    Scouting Pepperdine
    The Waves enter the week with a 12-5 overall record and a 4-1 mark in conference play. Last weekend, Pepperdine split its matches, falling 3-0 to then-No. 17 San Diego and edging San Francisco, 3-2. Both matches were played at home. Against the Toreros, outside hitter Julie Rubenstein tallied a match-high 17 kills and collected 13 digs for the match's only double-double. Against the Dons, four players posted double-digit kills. Rubenstein once again led the Waves with a match-high 24 kills and 20 digs.

    This season, middle blocker Lecca Roberts owns a team-best .385 hitting percentage (178-43-351) and is second on the team in kills and total blocks. Rubenstein leads the team in kills, averaging 4.44 per game, while outside hitter Rachel Lumsden has handed out 29 aces thus far, and is third on the squad with 176 kills.

    In the WCC, Pepperdine is first with a .285 team hitting percentage and is second in assists, kills and aces. Individually, Roberts is second overall in hitting percentage, while Rubenstein is third in kills. Setter Kiah Fiers leads the conference in assists, dishing out 13.00 per game, and Lumsden is first in aces.

    Last season, Santa Clara and Pepperdine split their matches. In their last meeting, the Waves served up a 3-0 (30-25, 32-30, 30-28) sweep on Nov. 2. In their previous meeting, the Broncos posted their own three-game sweep (30-26, 30-25, 30-25) against the then-No. 23 Waves. Pepperdine owns a 32-19 all-time series record over Santa Clara; however the Broncos have not lost to the Waves at home since 2003.

    Scouting Loyola Marymount
    The Lions have a 10-8 overall record, are 2-3 in WCC play and will face the Gaels of Saint Mary's before traveling to the Leavey Center for Saturday's match. Last weekend, LMU also went 1-1 in its matches. The Lions posted a 3-1 victory over the Dons of USF before falling 3-1 to the Toreros. Against San Francisco, opposite hitter Heather Hughes registered a match-high 18 kills, while outside hitter Emily Day tallied 14 kills. Leading the match with nine total blocks was middle blocker Erin Downey, who also added eight kills. Against USD, Day and Hughes both recorded 17 kills, while outside hitter Christianna Reneau chipped in with 16.

    Hughes is the team leader in kills, averaging 5.75 per game. Day is second on the team with 3.69 kills per game and leads the team in service aces (27) and total blocks (49).

    In the WCC, the Lions are second in digs and third in hitting percentage and kills. Individually, Hughes leads the conference in kills and points, while Day is third in service aces and setter Renee Horton is third in assists.

    In 2006, the Broncos went 1-1 against the Lions. In their last meeting, SCU rallied back from trailing 2-0 to edge LMU 3-2 (26-30, 30-32, 30-25, 30-23, 16-14). Prior to that Nov. 4 meeting, the Broncos fell 3-0 (30-20, 30-25, 30-25) to the Lions at the Leavey Center. Loyola Marymount owns a 28-24 overall series record.

    On Deck
    The Broncos take to the road next week as they travel north to play the Bulldogs and Pilots. Santa Clara will face Gonzaga on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m., and then battles Portland on Saturday Oct. 27 at 1 p.m.