Splitting with UOP and Saint Mary's before defeating Stanford 2-0 on April 14 in Palo Alto, Santa Clara will take the courts again this weekend in San Francisco to continue its Spring schedule of play. Santa Clara will play San Jose State, UC Davis, San Francisco State and Cal in the tournament hosted by USF.
Bronco head coach Jon Wallace likes what he saw two weeks ago at Stanford. "As coaches we liked that we showed great improvement from the first weekend at UOP and the women saw a lot of growth in themselves and the team – I think that's what we took away from that weekend. They were very positive about where they were going and that's good. In the last two weeks, we've been training to clean things up even more and I think that they've seen even more improvement.
"Going to USF this weekend, it doesn't matter who we're playing, it's really about us trying to get better and playing as hard as we can in every match," continued Wallace.
Santa Clara focused a lot on defense its first weekend at UOP. The second weekend at Stanford they started working more on the offensive side of their game. "We did talk about our defensive responsibilities the first tournament – that's should be continual growth throughout this Spring," added Wallace. "While we are working hard on the offensive end, at Stanford we did switch around so much that we haven't really settled in on any lineup, and still are working to get everybody in the gym in general terms. This week in practice we worked a lot on defense and offense, but also being able to handle situational plays a lot better. I really liked where we've come from there. We've straightened some things out and then our goal for our last weekend is to put everything together and play really well (vs. Cal Poly May 7).
Wallace is pleased to have Katherine Douglas back on the court after she was red-shirted last year due to injury. But he was quick to point out the outside hitters have made big strides working with Dustin Moore and Matt Lyles in the last few weeks. "I think that everybody's made such big strides, it's really hard to say who is playing the best," said Wallace. "Our middles have become a lot more efficient. The setting is a lot better. Everything's just a lot better."
With Alexandra Palmer and Villanova transfer Alyssa Anderson working as the setters, Santa Clara expects to run a 6-2 and a 5-1 this year. "Both women will have a match or game to themselves where they will run a 5-1 and we'll do all different lineups," said Wallace.
Overall Wallace is really pleased with the dedication the team has shown since the end of last season. "Everything is coming together really nice. We've had great effort and great commitment to improvement. If you were to say, how do you want your group to respond to last year's season, I think we're handling it right."
The practices are long and hard, but Wallace said the team has learned a lot and they appreciate that. "There's been a lot of attention to detail and they have appreciate us amping it up quite a bit this Spring."