Nov. 21, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara volleyball team was rewarded for their hard work in the yearly All-West Coast Conference awards, taking home three of the four top honors it was announced Wednesday. Senior setter Crystal Matich became the fourth Bronco to be named WCC Player of the Year, while outside hitter Krista Kelley garnered Co-WCC Freshman of the Year honors along with Megan York of Saint Mary's. Broncos head coach Jon Wallace was chosen as Coach of the Year by his peers. It is the third time Wallace has received the honor.
"We are really happy for both Crystal and Krista," said Wallace. "She was definitely the leader on the court for us and made our team go all year long. She is the reason we has such a successful conference season. Krista is very deserving of this honor. She dominated in all of our big matches we played this year and she is truly making herself known on a national basis."
Matich and Kelley were also named to the All-WCC First Team along with junior outside hitter Brittany Lowe. Senior libero Caroline Walters and sophomore Lindsy Evans also received honorable mention accolades.
Matich was a key player in Santa Clara's offense and led the Broncos and the WCC in assists, averaging 13.24 per game. She also paced the Broncos with a .330 hitting percentage (125-37-267) and tallied 32 service aces. Matich also finished the regular season fourth on the squad in total blocks with 49 (eight solo, 41 assists) and 2.24 digs per game. In conference matches only, Matich averaged a league best 13.71 assists per game and posted 15 aces, 66 kills and 24 total blocks.
Wallace received his third Coach of the Year honor this season after leading the Broncos from a 9-5 conference finish in 2006 to an 11-3 WCC record this season and SCU's 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. Santa Clara sat on top of the standings since the first match of league play against then-No. 16 San Diego on Oct. 4. His efforts guided the Broncos to their fifth conference title since 1977 and third since Wallace took over as head coach. The team led the conference in kills, assists and aces
Kelley has produced a phenomenal rookie campaign and has been an integral force at the net for the Broncos in conference play. She finished the conference season ranked third overall in kills and fourth in points. In WCC contests, she averaged 4.73 kills per game and 2.41 digs per game, along with posted 25 total blocks (11 solo, 14 assists) and 14 service aces. Overall, she led the Broncos with 4.47 kills per game. Kelley became the first Bronco this season to receive WCC Player of the Week honors after leading SCU to a 2-0 weekend against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount to officially claim sole possession of first place in the league (Oct. 18-20). Against the Waves, she registered 27 kills and 21 digs. Then in their WCC finale, Krista led the Broncos with 32 kills against the Waves.
Lowe has led Santa Clara in kills all season long and has compiled a season total of 432 thus far. She is fourth on the team with a .227 hitting percentage (432-180-1108) and second in digs and service aces. In the conference, she ranked fifth in kills and sixth in points. She compiled 14 double-doubles this season and had seven contests where she posted 20 or more kills. In conference matches only, Lowe averages a team-best 4.86 kills per game and is second in digs with 2.98 per game.
Evans has been another consistent force at the net for the Broncos as she tied for first on the team in total blocks with 67 and leads the team with 17 solo blocks. She is also third on the squad with 326 kills and 34 service aces. She finished ranked ninth in service aces and 10th in points. In WCC contests only, Evans owns a .261 hitting percentage (149-62-333), which is good for fourth place on the team) and is first with 22 aces. Evans produced a tremendous performance against Portland on Sept. 27 when she tallied 21 kills, five service aces and four total blocks.
Walters has been the captain of the Broncos back row from day one and had made school and conference history this season as she shattered the 14-year-old all-time digs record on Nov. 3 against San Diego. The former record of 1,860 was set by Lia Young, who played for Santa Clara from 1990-93. Walters' current tally is at 1,919 digs going into postseason play. She has registered double-digit digs in all but four games this season with a season high of 25 against Pepperdine on Nov. 17. Walters ranks first on the all-time digs and dig average lists.
The Broncos find out their NCAA First Round opponent on Sunday, Nov. 25 as the 2007 tournament field will be announced live at 5 p.m. PT on ESPNU.