Santa Clara will play at Stanford on Thurs., April 14 as the Bronco volleyball team continues to play its spring volleyball schedule. Santa Clara will play two sets vs. Pacific and Saint Mary's beginning at 6:30 pm (order hasn't been set) and then finish the evening with Stanford at 8:30 pm. The matches will be two sets each to 25.
"On Thursday we are looking for more consistency out of our play," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "And we've defined two things from watching film and last week's experience that we would like to clean up and have better results in those areas."
Wallace looks at this week's play at Stanford as another stepping-stone in continuing to build on their work this spring. Last weekend Wallace was pleased with the way the team played at UOP – playing four teams throughout the day. "Our team really focused and concentrated on the things we've been working on in practice. We were considerably better than last fall on defense and what we want to do offensively. We played three different line-ups because we are just trying to see what will be best for this group. And we are playing everybody equal amounts right now to give everybody a good opportunity and let everyone learn the system we are trying to play in."
Looking to return to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, Wallace and his coaching staff understand how essential improving is this spring heading into next fall. "This spring is very important for the team and coaches. Practices are longer, and they are more demanding. We just need to improve. And we are. We are doing some pretty nice things and becoming pretty solid."
Wallace said the main purpose of spring matches vs. outside competition is to get everyone on the same page no matter where they are playing on the court. He said they are also working out different people at different positions to give players rest at the same time. "We share time between our three middles and our three left sides – to help cut down on their playing time a little bit so they don't get too fatigued.
Wallace was pleased with the play of Alexandra Palmer and also libero Bridget O'Hara. "Alexandra did a nice job as our only setter due to injury and Bridget has made some nice improvements from last season."
When Wallace was asked to rate the team's overall performance vs. record, he was quick to down play the record. "We didn't really care about our record this weekend – it was more about implementing our system in real action in regards to what we are doing in our training. We had two or three segments where we played like we wanted - everything jelled, everything worked well, everyone responded to the things that needed to be responded to correctly and that's a real bright spot. It's kind of like a basketball game – we didn't play a perfect 40 minutes, but had five minutes segments here and there where it clicked for us.
"We are definitely starting to see the game better and reacting to what we see much better. Now we just need the discipline to do it more often. Also the confidence to play quickly but not in a hurry - to steal a quote from John Wooden," said Wallace.