October 24, 2007

Bronco Volleyball Begins WCC Second Half Against Gonzaga and Portland

Oct. 24, 2007

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - It's round two for the Santa Clara volleyball team, which travels north this week to face Gonzaga and Portland for the second time in West Coast Conference play. Thursday night's contest against the Bulldogs officially marks the second half of league action. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m., at the Martin Centre in Spokane, Wash. Then, on Saturday, Oct. 28, the Broncos and the Pilots battle at 1 p.m. in the Chiles Center in Portland, Ore.

Last Week for the Broncos
The Broncos posted two convincing wins last weekend against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount to move into first place in the conference standings. The Broncos are now 6-1 in West Coast Conference play and 14-9 on the season. Thursday's match against the Waves was aired on ESPNU and the Broncos served up a 3-1 triumph. Leading the match was freshman Krista Kelley. The outside hitter tallied 27 kills and 21 digs. Junior Brittany Lowe registered her 10th double-double of the season with 23 kills and 15 digs, and Lauryn Dowd dished out a match-high three service aces.

In Saturday's match against the Lions, Lowe recorded a match-high 17 kills and Kelley chipped in with 14 kills. Setter Crystal Matich led the match with a .667 hitting percentage (6-0-9) and dished out 50 assists.

Lowe continues to lead the Broncos in kills with 396; however, Kelley owns a team-best kills per game average of 3.96. Matich remains in first place with a .344 hitting percentage (93-26-195) and has dished out 1,025 assists this season. She and Lowe are also tied for second on the team in service aces. Sophomore Dowd is the team leader in aces with 26 thus far and is second on the team in total blocks with 46 (four solo, 42 assists). Opposite hitter Lindsy Evans is first on the team in total blocks with 14 solo and 34 assists, and libero Caroline Walters averages a team-best 4.65 digs per game.

Kelley Receives First Weekly Honor
Freshman Kelley earned her first West Coast Conference Player of the Week honor Monday. The outside hitter led the Broncos to a 14-9 overall record and first place standing in the WCC with a 6-1 mark.

Against Pepperdine, Kelley became the first Bronco this season to join the 20-20 club with 27 kills and 21 digs. Both were personal bests and match-highs. On Saturday, the Sandy, Utah, native tallied 14 kills and played an integral role in the back row and at the net as the Broncos swept the Lions, 3-0.

Kelley led the team this week with 41 kills (5.86 per game) and compiled a .319 hitting percentage (41-11-94). She also led the team, averaging 4.00 digs per game.

Less Than 50 To Go For Walters
After a terrific weekend, libero Walters is less than 50 digs away from setting a new program record. The Los Gatos, Calif., native needs 42 more digs in order to pass the current school record of 1,860 set by Lia Young (1990-93). With seven matches left to complete the feat, Walters would have to collect at least six digs in each of those contests.

Walters began the season with 1,456 career digs, which were just 405 behind the current school record. 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 1,819 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
Freshman Kelley broke into the single season record books this week. The outside hitter averages a team-best 3.96 kills per game, which places her 10th on the list. In other single season categories, Matich moved up one spot to ninth place in single season assists average. She now owns the No. 5, No. 8 and No. 9 spots in that category. She also holds onto the No. 7 spot this week in hitting percentage. 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 4.65 digs per game.

On the all-time career lists, Lowe keeps both seventh place rankings this week in kill and dig average. Walters continues to be in first place in all-time dig average (4.65) and is closing in the No. 1 spot in career digs. Meanwhile, Matich ranks third in all-time hitting percentage right behind teammate Anna Cmaylo. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native remains in the No. 3 spot in assist average and moved to fourth place this week in career assists. She is also tied with Shauna Jonas (1989-92) with 115 career aces. Lowe is also closing in on the all-time service aces list. She needs just two more to tie Ynez Carrasco (1997-00) for 10th place.

Santa Clara In The WCC
The Broncos entered last week's matches tied for first place in the conference standing with the Waves and Toreros. Now that Santa Clara has served up 3-1 victories over both teams in nationally televised matches, SCU enters the second half of WCC play in first place with a 6-1 mark. The Broncos are also ranked first in aces, second in assists and kills, and third in digs.

Individually, Dowd enters the overall statistical leaders list in hitting percentage at No. 15. She also ranks sixth in aces per game. Kelley also joins the conference leaders this week at No. 5 in kills per game. Lowe moves up to No. 6 in that same category, while Evans drops one spot to No. 10. Setter Matich reclaims the top spot in assists per game and Walters drops one spot to No. 3 in digs per game. In points, Lowe is seventh overall and Kelley is ninth in the WCC.

In WCC matches only, Santa Clara leads the group in kills, assists and aces, and is second in opponent hitting percentage. The Broncos rank third in hitting percentage and fourth in digs. Individually, Dowd checks in at No. 4 in hitting percentage, while Evans is in ninth place. In kills, Lowe is third overall and Kelley is seventh. Matich leads the WCC in assists, while Evans and Dowd are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in aces per game. Matich joins the duo at the No. 7 spot. In digs per game, Walters claims the No. 5 spot this week, while Lowe is ranked 10th.

Broncos on the National Stage
Santa Clara made several jumps in this week's national rankings. As a team, the Broncos are ranked 18th overall in assists and kills per game. SCU is ranked No. 91 in hitting percentage and No. 94 in aces per game. The broncos also check in at No. 105 in match win-loss percentage, No. 114 in digs per game and No. 219 in blocks per game.

Individually, Matich owns the highest SCU ranking of No. 15 in assists per game and Walters checks in at No. 107 in digs per game.

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.

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 Gonzaga
The Bulldogs, who are 3-4 in WCC play and 15-8 overall, enter the week as leaders in blocks and digs in conference matches only. Last weekend, after coming off of a win at San Francisco with an attack led by senior Becky Jones and sophomore Michelle Boevers, Gonzaga lost at San Diego in five games, but were again led by Jones, who had 16 kills.

Overall, Gonzaga has limited their opponents to a conference best .174 hitting percentage. The Bulldogs are also second in blocks. Briawna Mueller checks in at No. 3 in blocks for Gonzaga and No. 7 in hitting percentage. In WCC contests only, she leads the league in blocks.

Santa Clara leads the overall series 34-6. The Broncos and Zags last met on Sept. 29, when SCU blanked Gonzaga 3-0 (30-22, 30-23, 30-25).

Scouting Portland
The Pilots begin the week with a 0-7 conference record and a 7-14 overall record. This past weekend Portland dropped two games on the road against then-No. 16 San Diego and San Francisco.

This season's attack has been led by junior Ashley Grayson, who had 13 kills against USF. She ranks ninth in hitting percentage. Jessica Clemens is second in the conference in service aces, averaging 0.39 per game.

Santa Clara leads the overall series 36-7. The teams last met on Sept. 27 at the Leavey Center, when SCU recorded a 3-1 (30-19, 30-20, 29-31, 30-21) victory over the Pilots.

On Deck
The Broncos return to the Leavey Center on Nov. 1 for their final home games of the season. That Thursday, Santa Clara battles San Francisco at 7 p.m., and then on Saturday, hosts No. 12 San Diego at 1 p.m.