The Bronco volleyball team will travel to Southern California to play in their final preseason tournament this weekend in Fullerton, Calif. Santa Clara will open its West Coast Conference slate with Gonzaga on Thurs., Sept. 20 at 6 pm and then host No. 16 San Diego on Sat., Sept. 22 at 1 pm.
"We have a tough weekend in front of us, but the carrot for the team right now is that they will play at home next weekend with Gonzaga and San Diego. They are really looking forward to opening WCC play with three straight home matches," said Wallace. "We hope to have a good turnout. San Diego is ranked No. 16 this week and they are playing really well."
Santa Clara will play four matches in 27 hours at Cal State Fullerton. It will start with San Diego State at 11 am on Fri., Sept. 14. Oregon State will follow at 4 pm on Friday. On Sat., Sept. 15 Santa Clara will play Brown at 9:30 am and then host-Cal State Fullerton at 2:30 pm to finish the marathon run of play.
Wallace's goals this week are again to get better every single set. "This weekend will be very tough for us. We play some great opponents, but more challenging is playing four matches in 24 hours. We will be without Lacey Maas and Katy Schatzman this weekend (out due to injury). But, we have been prepared for this weekend since day one, training mentally, emotionally and physically. We have had triple day sessions. Two weeks ago we had three matches in 24 hours where all three went five sets and we won two of those, so we have proven we can play for a long time (at UC Davis)."
Santa Clara, 7-3, posted a 3-0 victory over Loyola Chicago in its last time out at the Stanford Invitational. The Broncos are getting to be five-set veterans, playing five five-set matches in its first nine matches this season, posting a 3-2 record.
"Our goal as a program is to continually get better every match we play. Our coaching staff coaches to constantly improve so I think in the event of us going to a fifth set we are in a good emotional and mental state. We understand what to do to put ourselves in position to win the fifth game," added Wallace.
Santa Clara is led by junior middle blocker Megan Anders, who is hitting .359 with 2.44 kpg this season, collecting 100 kills. Anders is leading the team with 0.88 bpg as well. Anders has been named to the All-Tournament each weekend this season, with the last nod being at the Stanford Invitational. In Palo Alto Anders hit .367 with 3.00 kpg and 0.82 bpg, picking up 33 kills in the three-match weekend.
Haley Cameron, another junior middle blocker, is hitting .294 this season with 2.17 kpg. She too played very well at the Stanford Invitational, hitting .455 with 11 kills (1 e, 22 att.) vs. Pacific. She hit .476 with 12 kills (2 e, 21 att.) vs. Loyola.
Wallace was very complimentary of both Anders and Cameron because of their incredible drive to improve. He said their competitiveness with each other is allowing them to carry a big load to improve. "Both Megan and Haley are having a fantastic year for us. It's no surprise because both work extremely hard during the week to improve. They are both very driven, motivated athletes with great skill sets," said Wallace.
Taylor Milton paces the team with 2.80 kpg and 2.59 dpg. Setters Alyssa Anderson and Chelsea Heier continue to run the 6-2 offense for Santa Clara. Anderson collects 6.46 apg and 2.02 dpg, also scoring a team-high 16 aces this season as the team's toughest server. Anderson helped the Broncos win set two vs. Pacific on Saturday morning by serving the final eight points. Heier scores 5.08 apg and 1.17 dpg. She also is nails from beyond the service line, collecting 14 aces.
"Alyssa has one of the best serves in the country," added Wallace. "Her confidence is through the roof when she's on the service line and it's fun to watch. Chelsea has a good serve too. It's great to se that both of our setters are leading our team in aces. They both do a lot for us and for them to serve really tough, it's a big bonus for us."
Quick Hits on the Weekend's Competition at Cal State Fullerton
No. 28 San Diego State is 6-2 this season with a 3-2 win over then-No. 17 Cal to its credit. It lost 3-1 last weekend at then-No. 9 Hawaii and 3-0 to then-No. 3 UCLA. It is 5-0 on its home court already this year, but 1-2 away from it. It is led by Andrea Hannasch, who is hitting .398 with 2.83 kpg. Santa Clara is 2-1 vs. the Aztecs all-time with No. 20 Santa Clara defeating SDSU 3-2 on Sept. 5, 2003 in the team's last meeting.
Oregon State is 7-2 this season, including a 3-2 win vs. then-No. 2 Penn State and a 3-2 win at DePaul last weekend in Chicago. They are led by Camille Saxton, who collects 4.03 kpg, but is hitting .209. Arica Nassar has 1.32 bpg, with 16 block solos already this season. Santa Clara is 3-4 vs. the Beavers all-time. The teams haven't played each other in 25 years when the Broncos defeated OSU 3-0 at Cal Poly on Sept. 15, 1987.
Brown is 3-2 this season and will play Providence on Wed., Sept. 12 prior to travelling to the West Coast. Brown dropped both of its matches last weekend at the Yale Invitational: 3-0 to Northwestern and 3-0 to Villanova. Sixteen of the 20 Brown players are from California. Santa Clara is 2-0 vs. Brown all-time. SCU last defeated the Bears Sept. 23, 2005, 3-0, when the Broncos were then ranked No. 20 nationally and went on to finish the season at No. 4, making it all the way to the Final Four.
Host Cal State Fullerton is 5-4 this season. This will be their second home match this year. The Titans are led by Julie Consani, who is hitting .257 this season. Kayla Neto is hitting .177 with a team-high 4.19 kpg and Bre Moreland is No. 2 on the team with 3.97 kpg. Santa Clara is 8-9 vs. Cal State Fullerton all-time. Santa Clara opened the season at No. 24 and defeated the Titans in the season-opener, 3-0, on Aug. 24, 2007.