July 23, 2009

Volleyball 2009 Season Preview

July 23, 2009

The Santa Clara volleyball team will begin the 2009 season on the road; something it will need to get used during the fall. The Broncos will play 20 of their 29 regular season matches in road venues. Santa Clara will take on four teams who finished in the top 25 of last season's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) end of the year poll. Hawaii (7) and UCLA (8) finished last season ranked in the top-10. Utah (16) and San Diego (19) also finished in the top-25. The Broncos finished last season ranked 25th nationally and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after a first round upset of No. 13 Kansas State.

"I like our preseason schedule. We open up with a very tough road trip that should challenge this young squad," said head coach Jon Wallace.

The Broncos will open the season against UCLA at the Hawaii Invitational on Aug. 28. Santa Clara will face Hawaii on Aug. 29, and finish up against Western Michigan who made it to the Sweet 16 last season. The Broncos will travel to the Sacramento State Tournament, which begins Sept. 4. Santa Clara will take on UC Riverside, CSU Bakersfield and Sacramento State.

The Broncos will then host their first match of the season as part of the SCU Invitational on Sept. 10 against Arizona at 7 p.m. Santa Clara will also battle Utah on Sept. 12 before embarking on a season-long 10 game road trip. Both are perennial top 25 teams nationally. Arizona and Utah will play each other at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the Leavey Center.

They will head down to play UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 16, and then will compete in the Cal Poly Tournament on Sept. 18-19. The Broncos travel across the country to the University of Pennsylvania Invitational from Sept. 25-26, where they will take on Albany, Penn, and Saint Francis (Pa).

"I believe going into conference we will be really tested and we will be able to find a good line up that we feel can compete to win the WCC," said Wallace.

The WCC had five teams make the NCAA Tournament in 2008, and the Broncos will open up WCC play on the road the next Friday and take on San Francisco at 7 p.m. on Oct. 2. After traveling to Saint Mary's and San Diego on Oct. 8 and 10, respectively, they will host their first conference match of the season. The Broncos take on Portland on Oct. 15, with first serve set for 7 p.m. Santa Clara will conclude the home stand against Gonzaga on Oct. 17. Santa Clara closes the first half of league play on the road at Loyola Marymount (Oct. 22) and Pepperdine (Oct. 24).

Santa Clara will finish up the season with five games at home and two games on the road. The Broncos will host San Francisco on Oct. 30, San Diego on Nov. 5 and Saint Mary's on Nov. 7. Two weeks later the Broncos will finish up the season against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.

The Broncos will tune in to the NCAA Selection show on Nov. 29 as they look for their 12th straight postseason bid. The NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds will take place on Dec. 3-5, and the finally Final Four will take place in Tampa, Fla. on Dec. 17-19.