Nov. 29, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara volleyball returns to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive season this week as it battles top-seeded Stanford in the first round. First serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Maples Pavilion on the campus of Stanford University.
Prior to the Broncos match, Sacramento State and Minnesota will play at 5:30 p.m. The two winners will then face each other in the second round on Saturday, Dec. 1.
Last Time Out For The Broncos
SCU finished the 2007 regular season with a hard-fought and intense five-game decision against Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif. The Broncos edged the Waves, 3-2, to take home their fifth West Coast Conference regular season crown. Santa Clara shared the honor with No. 16 San Diego, as both teams posted an 11-3 league record. Yet, because of their 2-0 sweep of the Toreros in the regular-season, the Broncos earned the automatic bid to the Big Dance.
Against the Waves, freshman Krista Kelley registered a season-high 32 kills and collected 10 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Junior Brittany Lowe added 27 kills to the Broncos' triumph and tallied 10 digs for her 14th double-double of the year. Nichole Clark and Lindsy Evans tied for the match-high seven total blocks, while Lauryn Dowd chipped in with six total blocks.
On The Season
Overall, seven Broncos brought the regular season to a close with triple-digit kills. Leading the way is outside hitter Lowe, who has recorded 432 kills. She is also second on the team with 36 service aces and 301 digs. Outside hitter Kelley is first on the squad with a 4.47 kills per game average.
Dowd and Evans continue to be tied for first on the team in total blocks. Both athletes have posted 67 total blocks, while Evans has registered a team-best 17 solo blocks. Dowd is also first on the team with 36 service aces. In the back row, senior libero Caroline Walters continues her digs tally with 463 thus far this season, and senior setter Crystal Matich has dished out a team-high 13.24 assists per game. Matich also leads the Broncos with a .330 hitting percentage (125-37-267).
Matich Receives WCC Player of the Year Honors
Senior setter Matich became the fourth Bronco to be named the West Coast Conference's Player of the Year.
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.
Kelley Receives WCC Co-Freshman of the Year Accolades
Freshman outside hitter Kelley became the fourth Bronco to be named the West Coast Conference's Freshman of the Year. She shares the honor with Megan York of Saint Mary's.
Wallace Named WCC Coach of the Year; Three More Broncos Receive All-Conference Honors
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. Ninth-year head coach Jon Wallace received his third WCC Coach of the Year accolade. Matich and Kelley were also named to the All-WCC First Team along with junior outside hitter Lowe. Senior libero Walters and sophomore Evans also received honorable mention accolades.
Broncos In the NCAA Tournament
SCU has reached postseason play for 10 straight seasons, nine of those under the tutelage of Wallace. The veteran players on this 2007 squad include several from the 2005 Final Four team (Matich, Lowe, Clark, Luxton, Walters, and O'Brien).
The Broncos have advanced to the second round on three occasions - 1999, 2000, 2005 - with the 2005 season being its most prolific as they made their way to the Final Four. SCU owns a 10-12 all-time postseason record.
In last year's tournament, Santa Clara faced Missouri in the First Round at Stanford and fell in a hard-fought 3-0 (35-33, 30-24, 30-26) sweep.
Santa Clara In The WCC
The Broncos brought the conference season to a close with an 11-3 record and their fifth WCC Championship crown. In conference matches only, Santa Clara ranked first in assists, kills and service aces, and third in hitting percentage,
Individually in WCC matches only, Dowd claimed the No. 8 spot in hitting percentage. Lowe led the WCC in kills, while Kelley checked in at No. 2 in the same category. Matich finished on top in the assists category, while four Broncos ended the year ranked in service aces per game. Evans held the top spot and Dowd was ranked third, Lowe was ranked eighth and Matich was ranked 10th.
In digs per game, Walters checked in at No. 6, while Lowe rounded out the top-15. In points, Lowe and Kelley claimed the Nos. 1-2 spots, respectively.
Broncos on the National Stage
The Broncos continued to be ranked as a team in all seven statistical categories, with their highest two rankings at No. 18 in assists per game and No. 20 in kills per game.
Individually, six student-athletes are ranked in the top-500 in four different categories. In aces per game, Dowd leads the group with a No. 221 ranking. In assists per game, Matich owns the highest individual Bronco ranking - No. 17. In digs per game, Walters checks in at No. 158, while in kills per game Kelley is ranked No. 61 and Lowe is ranked No. 91.
Stanford makes its 27th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance Friday night. The Cardinal has posted a 27-2 overall record this season, while going 16-2 in Pacific-10 action. Stanford earned its 11th Pac-10 Championship last Friday with a 3-2 edge of No. 7 California.
The Cardinal will have the luxury of playing on its home court in the postseason. Stanford has compiled an 11-1 record at Maples Pavilion this season, with its lone los coming in a five-game decision against then-No. 8 Washington.
Alix Klineman leads the Cardinal with a 4.12 kills average, while Foluke Akinradewo has proven to be the most consistent with a .493 hitting percentage. She also leads the squad in total blocks with 114 (18 solo, 96 assists). Meanwhile, Cynthia Marboza is first on the team with 30 aces.
All-Time vs. Stanford
The Cardinal holds a 20-1 all-time record over the Broncos. The two teams last met on Sept. 14, 2006 at Maples Pavilion, where Stanford posted a 3-0 (30-28, 30-14, 30-23) sweep.
SCU and Stanford are tied 1-1 in postseason play. The last time the two teams met in the NCAA Tournament was in 2005 during the Broncos Final Four run. Santa Clara defeated Stanford 3-1 in the second round at Maples Pavilion.
With a win Friday night, the Broncos would advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and face the winner of Sacramento State/Minnesota match.