April 3, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University's Women's volleyball team prepares for the start of their spring season with their first match against cross-town rival San Jose State on April 18 at 5 p.m. in the Leavey Center. The Broncos hope to avenge their first round loss to the Spartans in last November's NCAA Championship.
The Broncos have two more home matches on the spring schedule, including the Tigers of Pacific, who travel to Santa Clara for a 5 p.m. match on April 26, and the defending National Champions Stanford, who are scheduled for May 9 at 5 p.m. Both of those matches are also at the Leavey Center. The team will travel to Berkeley on May 4 for an all day tournament with games against California, Stanford and Saint Mary's.
Despite the addition of the new libero position by the NCAA, a designated back-row player who cannot serve, attack or set inside the attack line, the Broncos will not utilize the position this spring in order to give more players the opportunity to see action in the back row.
Although the Broncos are always looking for a win, this years spring season is more focused on individual improvement. Fourth-year head coach Jon Wallace said he plans on spending 45 minutes a day watching videotape critiquing technique and then setting clear goals for improvement.
Wallace commented, "We're not necessarily playing to have fun, but to improve."
The Broncos have been preparing for the spring season with intense winter training, thanks to the help of new assistant coach Katy Eldridge. Eldridge has brought her professional training expertise to the squad, combining weight lifting with cross training, as well as speed, agility and plyometric work.
"The training is focused on performance and injury prevention, which we hope will lead to top shape for peak performance once the season begins in August," Eldridge said.
The Broncos devoted at least two hours of each day of practice in the winter quarter to their training in hopes of improvement. In addition to the team training, players had two hours of individual training with the coaches to work on individual skills.
"It is very time consuming and often times exhausting, but it is so worth it once you start to see the benefits," junior defensive specialist Chrissy Hirsch said.
Additionally, junior outside hitter Amy Grabill, who played with the 2000 WCC championship team, returns to the squad after spending the fall quarter studying in Italy. Wallace said she will contribute to the team on and off the court with her leadership qualities and ball-control skills.