Santa Clara continues life on the road as the Broncos travel to Provo, Utah to play at new West Coast Conference member BYU for a 6 pm match on Thurs., Oct. 6 and then to Bay Area rival USF on Sat., Oct. 8 at Noon. The BYU match, played in Smith Field House, will be shown on BYU TV.
Santa Clara is playing BYU for just the second time in school history. The Broncos were defeated by the Cougars in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament 3-0. The Broncos, the WCC champions, were 21-11 that season and 13-1 in the WCC.
Santa Clara is playing USF for the 67th time on Saturday. Santa Clara holds a 57-9 record vs. the Dons, but has only won three of the last eight meetings, including splitting the series last season.
Santa Clara is 7-7 and 2-1 in WCC. Santa Clara has played 13 of its first 16 matches, including this weekend at BYU and USF, on the road. They have traveled to four states as well including Texas, Utah (twice), Washington (twice) and Oregon.
The Broncos host No. 20 Pepperdine at 6 pm on Thurs., Oct. 13 to begin a streak of four home matches out of the next five. Santa Clara will travel to Saint Mary's Oct. 15, then return home for three straight (Oct. 20, LMU, Oct. 22, USF and Oct. 29, BYU).
After a 3-6 start the Broncos find themselves back at .500 for the first time since Sept. 3rd. Santa Clara has won four of five matches with the only loss coming in a five set, near-upset of then-ranked No. 16 San Diego. Santa Clara won its first two WCC matches on the road this year last weekend, defeating Portland 3-1 on Sept. 29 and Gonzaga 3-1 on Oct. 1.
Katherine Douglas and Kaleigh Durket lead the Broncos attack with 3.34 kpg and 2.73 kpg, respectively. Douglas' 3.34 kpg are fourth-best in the WCC. Dana Knudsen (.320) and Tanya Schmidt (.296) lead the team in attack percentage – Knudsen is fourth in the league. Alexandra Palmer has contributed 339 assists (6.16 apg) while Alyssa Anderson is right behind her with 312 (5.57 apg). Anderson is also the team's strongest server, with 0.21 sapg. Libero Bridget O'Hara is first with 3.86 dpg, placing her sixth in the league. Schmidt (0.66 bpg) and Knudsen (0.62 bpg) lead the team in blocks.
In WCC stats, Santa Clara is leads the league in kills with 14.25 kpg (798 total). Santa Clara is second in assists with 13.41 apg (751 total).
Three Broncos are moving up the school's career charts. Schmidt is hitting .320 during her four-year Bronco career. That number would be good for No. 3 all-time if the season ended today. She is No. 10 in blocks assists with 204. Knudsen is No. 11 with 196 block assists. O'Hara's 3.86 dpg average in her career would be good for No. 3 all-time if the season ended today.
Brigham Young is 13-4 and 2-1 in WCC. After dropping the season's first two matches, the Cougars went 13-1 before falling in straight sets to San Diego. BYU is off to its best start since 2006, and with half a season to go it seems likely the Cougars will achieve at least one more victory to tie the total number of wins from last season.
BYU is third in the conference in hitting percentage at .236 while Santa Clara is fourth hitting .225. BYU holds the second best opponents hitting percentage at .143.
BYU has dominated opponents at the net on defense with a league-best 3.17 bpg, nearly twice the 1.60 bpg that last place Santa Clara averages. BYU is fourth with 15 dpg (870 total).
BYU's Jennifer Hamson is third in hitting percentage at .321. Hamson leads the league in kills with 4.17 kpg (242 total) and is fourth with 0.38 sapg. Heather Hannemann is fourth with 10.31 apg (598 total). Nicole Warner and Hamson lead the league in blocks with 1.67 bpg (97 total) and 1.14 bpg (66 total), respectively. Teammate Kathryn Lecheminant is fourth with 1.12 bpg (65 total). Kendalyn Hartsock is second with 4.45 digs/s (258 total).
Prior to the weekend, USF is 11-6 and 3-1 in the league, including a 3-0 win over then-No. 16 San Diego on Sept. 22. After losing their first three matches to Hawaii, Arizona and Wichita State, the Dons have rebounded to go 11-3 since Sept. 2nd while proving they are a threat in the WCC. USF is coming off a 3-2 defeat at Portland, which snapped their season-long five match winning streak. Freshman opposite hitter Vendula Strakova recorded a match-high 20 kills on .268 hitting, while freshman middle blocker Valentina Zaloznik added 10 kills and four blocks (two solo). Junior outside hitter Alycia Cox chipped in nine kills and 12 digs.
San Francisco is second in the WCC in hitting percentage at .243. They have held opponents to a .162 hitting percentage, good for third in the league. They put pressure on their opponents while serving, having averaged 1.45 sapg, second in the league. In WCC individual stats, USF's Malina Terrell is sixth with a .308 hitting percentage, Vendula Strakova is seventh with a .298 hitting percentage, and Valentina Zaloznik is ninth with a .288 hitting percentage. Strakova is third with 3.51 kpg (165 total). Joan Caloiaro is sixth with 10.10 apg (616 total). Jocelyn Levig is seventh with 0.35 sapg while Zaloznik is ninth with 0.31 sapg. Zaloznik is sixth in blocks with 1.08 bpg (67 total). Rebecca Kopilovitch is third with 4.22 dpg (245 total).
Strakova leads the team with 3.51 kpg, is second in attack percentage and fourth in digs with 1.68 dpg. Valentina Zaloznik leads the team in blocks and is second in kills and service aces and third in attack percentage. Terrell leads the Dons in hitting percentage and is third with 0.52 sapg. Caloiaro averages a team-best 10.10 apg, is second with 2.66 dpg. Kopilovitch leads the team in dpg.