After playing multiple matches each week the last five weeks, including four in 24 hours, Santa Clara has just one this week and it's a big one as the Broncos host No. 18 Pepperdine at 1 pm on Sat., Sept. 29 at the Leavey Center.
Bronco head coach Jon Wallace used the time off to approach practice a bit differently on Monday and Tuesday. "We got away from practicing starting line ups and rotation work to just having the girls play and compete," said Wallace. "We knew it would be a long week of preparation. We made Monday and Tuesday very productive but fun and competitive practices. They really enjoyed the break from the A side, B side action and just enjoyed playing volleyball."
Wallace gave the team Wednesday off to help the team catch up on school work and also give them an emotional break. The team was back at it Thursday and will be on Friday as well. "We will use the last two days of the week to sharpen our skills and to practice our execution," added Wallace.
The Broncos, 11-5 and 1-1 in the WCC, continue to be led by junior Megan Anders. Anders is hitting .356 with 2.74 kpg. Junior Haley Cameron is second on the team in hitting at .289, scoring 2.06 kpg. Taylor Milton leads the team with 2.92 kpg. Katy Schatzman collects a team-high 4.00 dpg. Alyssa Anderson scores 6.29 apg and Chelsea Heier adds 5.02 apg.
"Megan is having a great season. We are excited about her spirit and leadership on the court," said Wallace. "Haley Cameron and Chelsea Heier get better and better each week."
Wallace said the team seems very excited to play another ranked opponent at home this weekend, after falling 3-1 to then-No. 18 San Diego last Saturday. "We hope we get good fan support again. The team enjoyed playing at home last weekend and are excited to play another ranked opponent."
Pepperdine has one of the best setters in the league and they also have one of the best middles in the league in Samantha Cash. "They have beaten ranked opponents this year. They are a very solid team," said Wallace.
Wallace felt like the break this week came at the best time because it's the second week of school and having a mid-week day off is probably pretty refreshing mentally and emotionally for the team. "Our team is in a good spot right now," said Wallace. "We feel like we can compete with any team we take the court against and we are excited for good competition."
Wallace has said many times this season he feels the West Coast Conference is as strong as it's ever been this year. "Our conference is really strong this year. We have set ourselves up to potentially get four or five teams in the NCAA tournament. The league is so strong and I can go down the list of teams and talk about each one and their strengths. There aren't a lot of weaknesses on any one team."