Santa Clara will travel to Portland and Gonzaga this weekend to open its 2010 WCC volleyball road schedule. It will play at Portland on Thurs., Oct. 7 at 7 pm and then at Gonzaga on Sat., Oct. 9 at Noon.
Santa Clara returns home for three straight matches starting Thurs., Oct. 14 when it hosts No. 25 Saint Mary's at 7 pm, No. 23 San Diego at 1 pm on Sat., Oct. 16 and finally USF at 6 pm on Fri., Oct. 22.
Santa Clara is 9-6 and 0-2 in the league after dropping opening weekend match-ups to LMU (3-0) and Pepperdine (3-1) last weekend. Santa Clara is hitting .220 as a team with 13.29 kpg, 12.56 apg and 15.90 dpg. Santa Clara leads the league in digs with 15.90 dpg and is No. 3 in the league in opponent's hitting percentage at .191.
"We have a lot of pride and expectations with this program and we weren't real happy with our performance after the first weekend of conference," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "We have had a number of good practices this week and we believe we have worked some things out. We still have a long ways to go, but we have worked some things out and are headed in the right direction. We are excited to play this Thursday at Portland and continue to work hard on and off the court."
Individually, the Broncos are led by Dana Knudsen, who is No. 3 in the league in hitting at .342. Kaleigh Durket is No. 4 in the league and leads the team with 3.56 kpg. Emily Burke is No. 3 in the league with 10.75 apg and Bridget O'Hara is No. 2 in the WCC with 4.65 dpg (both also lead the team). Tanya Schmidt scored 1.97 kpg and is hitting .309. Kayla Lommori collects 3.35 kpg. Lexi Williamson is second on the team in digs with 2.86 dpg.
Portland enters the weekend at 7-11 and 0-2 in WCC play after falling 3-0 in both matches at Saint Mary's and then-No. 24 San Diego last weekend. The Pilots opened the season with a 3-1 win over Pac-10 opponent Oregon State. Ariel Usher leads the Pilots with 3.03 kpg and Danielle Dupar scoops up 5.60 dpg.
Gonzaga is 2-16 and 0-2 in WCC play after falling to the same two teams 3-0 last weekend. Gonzaga's two victories are a 3-0 win vs. San Jose State and a 3-2 win over CSU Bakersfield. Kaprina Goodwin scores 2.07 kpg and Caitlin Cozad has 2.02 kpg. Allyson Powell leads the team with 4.12 dpg and Deni Van de Mortel leads the team with 8.58 apg.
"Last weekend was tough for us. Going into Thursday night's match we found out Katherine Douglas will not be able to play for a while as she continues to try to get healthy. That was a blow for us so we are worked hard this week to get our rhythm with that and where we are going to go," said Wallace. "Going into any weekend it's really about the direction we are headed and how we are going to perform. Last year we lost at Portland and so this week is even more motivating to us to proof we can play well. We want to avenge that loss from last year."
In practice this week they worked to give themselves more options on the court with Megan Anders growing everyday. "Megan is doing some good things on the court and Alexandra Palmer is getting more comfortable with being out on the court," said Wallace.
The team also had a couple team-only meetings with the two captains, Emily Burke and Bridget O'Hara, over the weekend to talk about the direction they were headed. "When you go through adversity, the strength of the captains needs to come through," said Wallace. "They have both taken this on their shoulders to make sure this happens. Emily and Bridget are learning a lot about themselves and what it takes to be a good leader. They have earned their 'Cs' (captain) this week and I think we are stronger for it. We have come through this week really well."