Bronco Volleyball's Weekend Schedule
Sat., Aug. 25
SIUE vs. Santa Clara, Noon CT/10 a.m. PT
Montana State vs. Santa Clara, 5 p.m. CT/3 p.m. PT
Sun., Aug. 26
Western Illinois vs. Santa Clara, 11 a.m. CT/9 a.m. PT
Mon., Aug. 27
Santa Clara at St. Louis, 7:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. PT
Starting a new season with a totally new look, the Santa Clara volleyball team will play its first four weekends on the road, starting off in the Saint Louis metro area this weekend. It will open the season on Sat., Aug. 25 at host SIU Edwardsville in the morning and then play Montana State later in the afternoon. On Sun., Aug. 26 the Broncos will play Western Illinois. Santa Clara will close out the weekend with a match at St. Louis on Mon., Aug. 27.
SantaClaraBroncos.com sat down to talk to Bronco head coach Jon Wallace about what the team has been working on, what they are most looking forward to on and off the court this weekend and what he is looking to accomplish in the first weekend.
SCU: First, talk a little bit about the preseason.
JW: We have been practicing since Aug. 8. The team is excited to play someone with another name on their jersey!
SCU: What are two positives that stand out from preseason practice thus far?
JW: First, the team's commitment to how we are training and what we are asking them to do is the best it's been in years. This group is working hard and excited about their daily learning opportunities that come their way. They are committed and ready to learn.
The coaching staff, with the addition of Matt Lyles, Aaron Mansfield and Emily Burke, have laid out practice in such a way that we have been able to have a specific focus to every drill we do. The team is responding very well.
Matt has really brought a consistency to our practices in both the planning and standard of play. He has brought the team a long way in regards to ball control and knowledge of the game.
Aaron's perspective from the men's game has really assisted us in playing a faster, more dynamic brand of volleyball. Aaron's new set of eyes has opened up many things for us and he has been able to teach some of the women big things on our team by making them better in a short period of time.
Emily has been working with the setters and been a great addition for me in determining the pulse of the team.
For me professionally, I feel like things are getting done and players are getting better. I sense the team is way more focused on a high level of volleyball, including making daily improvements.
With those two things combined, we feel like the team is improving daily. It's refreshing.
SCU: What do you want to accomplish in the opening weekend in St. Louis?
JW: Opening weekend is all about finding a comfort level on the court, working out any potential problems we have in our serve-receive and working out minor issues that we might have offensively and defensively. Heading into this weekend, we are scrimmaging a lot more to give them more game-like situations. We really are looking forward to getting started on Saturday!
SCU: What will make it a successful weekend?
JW: Walking away with a better understanding of how we want to play Bronco volleyball.
SCU: Besides the four matches, what else will you do in St. Louis? It's like a homecoming for Katy Schatzman with her grandfather, Marvin J. Schatzman, in the St. Louis University Hall of Fame since 1995 as a former basketball and baseball player. She will have a number of family members in the stands, including her parents.
JW: Isn't that great about her grandfather? We are going to the Arch in St. Louis. We are going site-seeing as well. It's a beautiful city. Katy's extended family is from St. Louis and they will be hosting a St. Louis-style BBQ on Sunday evening. We did it with All-American Becky Potter's family in South Carolina in 2003 and it was really fun and amazing to experience low country cooking (big pots of corn, shrimp, etc.). It was fantastic experience. This trip will be memorable in regards to the sites we will see and the trip off the court visiting with the Schatzman family.
The team is really excited to play against another opponent to measure where they are. All of our preseason matches are extremely important not only in terms of win-loss, but also to be ready for conference play. It will be the deepest competition in years. I am excited to see how the West Coast Conference does in preseason play. This is the year the WCC will be upsetting teams and making its mark nationally.
SCU: Random question time. Did you watch a lot of the Olympics? Did your team?
JW: A lot of the discussion with the team was about the Olympics and what they were watching, what they liked, when they were disappointed, and so on. Ali Rambis and Alyssa Anderson went to London for the Olympics. They went to a number of events.
For me personally, it was great to see local Bay Area hero Keri Walsh Jennings and my personal hero Misty May-Treanor win their third gold medal. Keri's sister played here in 2003 (Kelli Walsh).
I remember watching Misty play in 8th grade in Newport on the beach. I knew then she would be a star. Misty May and April Ross both played for Dan Glenn, a very good friend of mine at Newport Harbor High School. My mom and dad also went to school there. It must have been a special moment for Dan to see two of his players play each other for the gold medal – you can't lose there.