Oct. 14, 2009
Santa Clara FINALLY returns home this weekend to host Portland and Gonzaga in volleyball action at the Leavey Center. The Gonzaga match will be DIG PINK so Bronco fans are encouraged to wear PINK as part of the Breast Cancer Awareness month. The first 200 Bronco students in the door for the Gonzaga match on Saturday will receive a PINK RUFF RIDERS t-shirt.
Santa Clara, 10-8 and 0-3 in the WCC, plays Portland, 5-13 and 1-2 in the WCC, on Thurs., Oct. 15 at 7 pm. Gonzaga is next on the home schedule with the Bulldogs, 6-10 and 2-1 in the WCC, coming to the Leavey Center for a 1 pm match on Sat., Oct. 17.
Bronco head coach Jon Wallace believes the two straight home matches couldn't have come at a better time. "We need to play at home to feel more comfortable and start getting our confidence back. After losing at USD on Saturday our girls wanted play on Sunday. Now we get to play Thursday at home and I think they are pretty pumped up about it."
Saturday's Gonzaga match features DIG PINK for the third straight year with the team raising almost $13,000 in the first two years. High school and college teams nationally will be promoting breast health education in the community as well as raising funds to help eradicate Breast Cancer. "We look forward to the DIG PINK event every year," said Wallace. "Our program has been affected by this and touched by people within our program. We find out so many people are affected by breast cancer and donations are coming from the families and friends of our players who have been affected by it. Our number is going up every year and it's nice to see that. Hopefully we will get a good student following to create a greater awareness throughout our student body here at Santa Clara University."
Please see the special website setup for the event! If you can't make the match to donate in person, then you can donate online at: https://www.side-out.org/application/teams/team_page/1207
Santa Clara played its first 16 of 18 matches on the road, including its first three WCC matches. It is coming off a 3-1 loss at USD last Saturday, after pushing Saint Mary's to five games before falling 3-2 in Moraga last Thursday.
"As coaches we know this team is going to be good, and we know that we have to get them back on track. It's going to be a longer process than we thought," said Wallace.
Wallace said the team isn't limping home after losing its first three WCC matches, but again, they are excited to return home to the Leavey Center. "Having to correct things in the middle of conference is always tough. USF had a big crowd for our match and it was a special night for them," said Wallace. "The next match at Saint Mary's we lose in five and that's probably why I think they are the best team in the conference. We battled, played real strong and had a chance to win that match. At San Diego, which is always a tough place to play as the pre-season pick to win the title, we lose in 4. I think our team is getting better and hopefully we'll string some wins together, get some confidence back and win the rest."
While the Broncos are looking for better execution on the court, Wallace knows the team has quality character student-athletes. "Unfortunately, we are probably not finding very many bright spots with our level of execution on the court. But, we are finding many bright spots with our character, our fight and our determination to be great and uphold our Santa Clara volleyball tradition. We are definitely not where we want to be as far as execution goes right now, but we like the commitment to get better everyday and that this team is sticking together and playing hard."
Santa Clara continues to be led by freshman-redshirt Dana Knudsen, who is hitting .356 with 2.39 kpg and .88 bpg. Senior Lindsy Davigeadono is knocking down .88 bpg; and she adds 2.48 kpg, hitting .243. Setter junior Emily Burke collects 7.81 apg with .20 apg and 2.02 dpg. Sophomore Tanya Schmidt is hitting .328 with 1.65 kpg and leads the team with .98 bpg. Freshman Katherine Douglas leads the team with 160 kills and is second with 160 digs. Sophomore Libby Morrison has a team-high 174 dpg, gathering 3.05 dpg.
Wallace believes his team has the talent to win and it will take something little to get back on that path. "It's just going to click and the girls are working hard enough to create that click to happen this year at some point in time. We do have to get better at passing, setting, and attacking, but the girls are working hard for that. Once they get that feeling going and can get some kind of ground swell going of their confidence and emotion, then we'll be able to put a product on that court that has the feeling that they can win every night."