By Grace Vickers, Volunteer Assistant
Coming off of a strong 2012 season, in which the Santa Clara volleyball team earned the school's 14th NCAA Tournament bid, the Broncos will have to work just as hard in the 2013 season, as their schedule has only increased in difficulty.
"This is the best and deepest conference schedule that we have ever had in the 22 years that I have been coaching in the West Coast Conference," said Jon Wallace, as he heads into his 13th year as the Broncos head coach.
University of the Pacific has been added to the conference, rounding it out at 10 teams and creating a grueling 18-match conference season. "It's great to have another Bay Area team join [the WCC]," said Wallace. "They have a long, great history and tradition of volleyball, as well as a good venue to play in."
However, before the Broncos embark on their West Coast Conference journey, they will participate in three tournaments, the Fresno State tournament, the Hawaii tournament and the Cal Berkeley tournament.
Wallace said he is looking forward to starting off the year playing three NCAA tournament participants at the Fresno State tournament on August 30 and 31. SCU will be facing Fresno State, Cal State Northridge, and Rice University at this tournament.
"The Hawaii tournament will be a tough, but fun challenge for our team," said Wallace. "We will be playing three teams that made the NCAA tournament last year," added Wallace.
Santa Clara University will be playing Hawaii, UCLA and New Mexico State on September 5-7. Wallace is especially excited about this tournament. "The experience of playing in Hawaii with their great fans is an experience we want to give our players."
In addition, incoming freshman Taylor Dayton is from Hawaii. "I am sure she will really enjoy returning home and playing in front of her home fans," added Wallace.
The Broncos' final tournament will be close to home, as they will play at the Cal Berkeley tournament on September 12-14. "We have been trying to play Cal for three or four years now, so we are excited to participate in their tournament this year."
Wallace is also looking forward to the September 14 game vs. Cal Poly, which will be hosted by Santa Clara University. The 2005 NCAA Final Four team will be recognized in for the spectacular season they had eight years ago with a reunion night. "It will be a fun match, as we will be coaching against ex-SCU great Caroline Walters, an assistant at Cal Poly."
The Broncos will start their WCC schedule on September 19 at Pepperdine and continue their southern California stint at Loyola Marymount on the 20th. The first home WCC match of the year is slated for September 26 vs. San Francisco, and it is followed by two more home matches on October 3 and 5 vs. Portland and Gonzaga respectively. The Broncos will host nine out of 18 WCC matches with their final home stand on November 21 and 23 where they will once again take on Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
"Coming off of last year, where six teams from the WCC participated in the NCAA tournament, I believe that this year we should have six or more teams get in," said Wallace.