The Santa Clara volleyball team, who has won three of its last five matches, will play at Pepperdine on Thurs., Oct. 28 at 7 pm and then at LMU on Sat., Oct. 30 at 1 pm. Santa Clara returns home next weekend to host its last two matches of the year, a 7 pm contest vs. Gonzaga on Thurs., Nov. 4 and then a 1 pm match vs. Portland on Sat., Nov. 6.
Santa Clara is 12-9 overall and 3-4 in the WCC. Pepperdine is 14-7 overall and 5-2 in the league. LMU is 12-10 and 4-3 in the WCC. Heading into the weekend, Pepperdine is in third place, LMU in fourth and Santa Clara in fifth.
The Broncos will be looking for revenge vs. both as they fell 3-0 to LMU and 3-1 to Pepperdine in the first league matches of the year. "We are attacking the second half as if it's the start of the season with more knowledge and improvement. We are attacking our next phase of our season aggressively like we will win every match," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "We work hard every day to improve. We aren't going to say we need to beat Pepperdine to show improvement, but it's how we want to play. I know we are excited to go down to Pepperdine and LMU and compete well."
Winning three of the last five matches hasn't been lost on Wallace. "Our expectations were high this year and we took a pretty big blow by losing Katherine Douglas right before we played LMU and Pepperdine to start league play; and we were kind of scramble mode that weekend. Since then we have improved every day and have been motivated to improve and play harder."
Wallace said the key has been defense the past two weeks in practice. "We have been working a lot on our defense, our positioning and our serve receive. We are working to be more aggressive defensively. After watching film on Pepperdine and LMU, on Tuesday and Wednesday we are going to work specifically on things that similar to their game. We are going to practice working against them defensively. We want to be tougher in service receive and continue to work on our passing game to help us run our offense."
Wallace hopes to get the ball more often to Tanya Schmidt, Kaleigh Durket and Dana Knudsen who he said "are playing excellent volleyball right now." Wallace also likes the play of Megan Anders. "Megan has a bright future ahead of her. She tries really hard in practice every day. She need to develop and it'll take some time because she was out with injuries. Right now she is doing a great job of blocking and that helps a lot. She is big enough that people have to respect her enough and block her because she is 6' 5."