No. 22 Broncos Open Season at Sun Devil Challenge

No. 22 Broncos Open Season at Sun Devil Challenge

Aug. 28, 2001

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Season Opener
Santa Clara opens the season August 31 against South Carolina at the Phoenix Airport Hilton/Sun Devil Challenge in Tempe, Ariz. The Broncos will begin the home schedule with the Santa Clara Invitational, hosting Creighton, UC Santa Barbara and North Carolina on September 8 and 9.

Broncos Picked Third in WCC Preseason Poll
For the second straight year, Santa Clara was picked to finish third in the 2001 West Coast Conference race according a preseason poll of the league's coaches, the conference office announced August 1.

Despite winning the 2000 WCC title, the Broncos received 48 points to tie with San Diego in a tally of the conference's eight head coaches. Pepperdine, the team Santa Clara defeated in the league's final match last season to claim the conference title, was voted as the favorite to win the WCC crown in the preseason poll for the third straight season. The Waves received seven first-place votes and compiled 63 total points to take the top slot. Loyola Marymount was picked second while San Diego tied with the Broncos for third. San Francisco, Saint Mary's, Portland and Gonzaga rounded out the poll.

Live on the Internet
Next weekend's Santa Clara Invitational will mark the launching of a new feature on Fans can now follow each regular season home match with a live statistical tracker. By logging on, fans can receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official courtside scoring computer for the team's 14 home contests.

The Schedule
This year's schedule features 14 matches against teams that played in last year's NCAA Tournament, 10 of which are against seven squads that were ranked in the final 2000 AVCA/USA Today poll. Topping the list is a two-match trip to Hawaii before conference season begins. The Wahine advanced to last year's Final Four in the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked third. Other top-10 opponents include home contests vs. No. 8 Pacific on Oct. 16 and ninth-ranked UC Santa Barbara in tournament play on Sept. 8.

The Broncos will also travel to Minneapolis for a tournament hosted by 11th-ranked Minnesota. Santa Clara will then look for its first win ever against Stanford when the No. 19 Cardinal visits the mission campus on Oct. 2. Once the West Coast Conference season begins, Santa Clara will face both No. 18 Pepperdine and No. 25 Loyola Marymount twice.

"This schedule starts out challenging," the head coach Jon Wallace said, "and doesn't stop throughout the season. Arizona State's tournament field is right around our level of play so we'll be in matches that we can really fight for and win."

Season/Match Tickets On Sale
Season and individual match tickets for Santa Clara University's nationally recognized volleyball team are on sale through the Department of Athletics and Recreation's official website and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660.

In conjunction with its exclusive Internet partner, Student Advantage's FANSonly Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase season tickets, family plans, individual games or an all-sports pass via the official athletic website.

Season and individual match ticket packages are also available through the athletic ticket office, open between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Season ticket packages, which includes 14 home matches as well as the four-team Santa Clara Invitational, are available for the adult price of $50. Youth and senior season tickets are $30, while the five-person Family Plan is available for $75. Individual match tickets are priced at $5 for adults, $3 for youths and seniors and $2 for non-Ruff Riders SCU students. Members of Bronco Kidz are admitted into volleyball games free of charge. Single match team passes are available for $25. Groups of 25 or more are also eligible for a discount.

In the Rankings
Santa Clara begins the season ranked 22nd according to the USA Today/AVCA preseason poll. The preseason listing marks the first-ever for the program. The poll also marks the Broncos' 15th straight appearance in the rankings. Santa Clara's highest ranking came last November at No. 14. The only other season in which the Broncos were ranked nationally occurred in 1993 for seven consecutive weeks.

Santa Clara's schedule features eight ranked opponents over 11 matches, including the season opener against No. 23 South Carolina and two top-10 opponents in No. 5 Hawaii and No. 10 Stanford.

The Broncos were ranked 18th in Volleyball Magazine's final poll of the year but are not ranked entering this season.

Up Next: The Santa Clara Invitational
Renovations to the Leavey Center, the Broncos' home court, kept the squad on the road for the first 15 matches last season and moved their home contests to the Pat Malley Recreation & Fitness Center adjacent to Leavey. Now reopen for competition, the Broncos will begin the home schedule with the Santa Clara Invitational, hosting Creighton, UC Santa Barbara and North Carolina on Sept 8 and 9.

"We're excited to host a tournament again," head coach Jon Wallace said. "After getting a few matches underneath our belt, I really like our chances to beat UC Santa Barbara at home and we beat North Carolina last year on their home court so we'll be trying to stop them from returning the favor."

Freshman Faces
The Bronco Class of 2005 includes Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 players Toni Muratore and Jennifer Ryan as well as Megan Johnston and Christina Vick. Head coach Jon Wallace said all four will be asked to contribute a lot as soon as they arrive on campus, and their growth will allow the team to be a top program by their sophomore year.

Muratore is the tallest of the recruits at 6-2 and will play in the middle. A Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 honoree, Muratore was named the Central California Conference MVP last season after leading Atwater High School to a second straight playoff experience.

Like Muratore, Ryan was also a Fab 50 selection. From La Reina High School, 6-0 newcomer will see time at both middle blocker and outside hitter. She became the first player at La Reina to reach 1,000 career kills and finished with 1,249, earning All-State honors while being named the CIF MVP this past season. Her Sport Shack Club team won the National Championships in 1999 and finished as runners-up last season.

Johnston is a 5-9 outside hitter that can also play on the right side. Her Bullard High School team was the Valley Champions last season while her Fresno Club team placed fifth at the Junior Nationals the last two seasons.

The final 2001 recruit is Vick, another multi-positional player who will fit into the Bronco lineup as either a middle blocker or an outside hitter. She led San Clemente High School to four straight CIF appearances, including the finals as a senior. Academically, she is a member of her school's National Honor Society, is the vice president of her senior class and will graduate as valedictorian.

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