Nov. 8, 2001
Santa Clara brings in 10th-ranked Pepperdine (17-3, 10-0) and Loyola Marymount (13-8, 6-4) to close out the home conference season next week. The Broncos need to win both matches as they battle to defend to their 2000 WCC title. The first 400 fans attending the Pepperdine match will receive giveaways from Asics. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the Broncos will honor its two seniors, outside hitters Jami Bari and Merrin Thompson, prior to the start of the LMU contest. Additionally, fans that bring a canned food item will receive admission on Saturday night for only $2.
Santa Clara ranks 17th in the country in digs, averaging 18.05 per game, 19th in assists (15.04) and 23rd in kills (16.56). Individually, sophomore setter Kelli Sousa ranks 11th in the NCAA in assists, with a 13.55 per-game average.
Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's matches this weekend against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount can be followed online with a live statistical tracker at the department's official athletic website, www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. By logging on, fans can receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official scoring computer. The feature was introduced this season and can be enjoyed for the team's remaining three home contests.
In the WCC Statistics
Santa Clara leads the conference in digs (18.05 per game) while ranking second in kills (16.56) and assists (15.04). Individually, Kelli Sousa is second in assists (13.55) while Jami Bari is second in digs (3.54). Merrin Thompson is right behind Bari in third (3.39). Toni Muratore is ranked fourth in kills (3.96) while Becky Potter is fifth (3.91 pg). Bari is also ranked eighth in service aces (0.33 pg). Counting only league matches, Santa Clara is first in service aces (2.14), behind Bari's league-leading .48 average. Megan Johnston and Chrissy Hirsch are listed right behind Bari, with .44 and .43 respective marks.
Last Time Out: Broncos Sweep Northwest Visit
Santa Clara swept Portland in WCC action Friday night at the Chiles Centre. Game scores were 30-16, 30-22, 30-26. The Bronco duo of Toni Muratore and Becky Potter carried the Broncos. Muratore had 11 kills on 14 attempts with no errors giving her a percentage of .786. Potter had 18 kills and 1 error on 33 attempts giving her a .515 percentage. Potter also had three aces and six digs on the night.
Santa Clara swept Gonzaga the following night at the Martin Centre. Game scores were 30-26, 30-23, 30-23. The teams played a balanced opening game with Gonzaga registering 16 kills and Santa Clara finishing with 15. Potter had five kills in the opener. She turned it up even more in game two as the Broncos took a quick 20-13 lead with Potter hammering down five more kills. Gonzaga hit only .047 in the game two defeat. In the final game, Santa Clara played a variety of players as it rolled to an early 19-9 lead. Jessie Mechem stepped up for SCU in the final frame with three kills as the Broncos downed Gonzaga for the 14th straight time. Gonzaga did outplay Santa Clara in the defensive battle at the net as GU finished with 20 blocks compared to only seven for Santa Clara.
In the Rankings
The Broncos moved up one spot and are ranked 19th in this week's USA Today/AVCA poll. The Broncos began the season ranked 22nd, marking the first-ever preseason listing for the program. This week's poll also marks the Broncos' 25th 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 is 2-5 against ranked opposition, with wins against 13th-ranked UC Santa Barbara and 15th-ranked Pacific.
The Broncos debuted at No. 16 in last week's Volleyball Magazine poll and are currently 19th.
Up Next: Close of WCC Play at USF
Santa Clara will take its last regular season road trip next weekend in a van ride up to the City. The Broncos will close out the West Coast Conference season against the Dons on Saturday, November 17.
Head Coach Jon Wallace
After leading his team to the program's best season record (27-5), highest national ranking (No. 14) and the second round of the NCAA Tournament, second-year head coach Jon Wallace (UC Santa Barbara '89) was named the WCC's 2000 Coach of the Year. Now in his third season, he has a career mark of 63-23 (.733). On Oct. 7, 2000, Wallace earned his 35th career win against USF, becoming the fastest coach in WCC history to reach that plateau. In 1999, Wallace led his team to its best record in six seasons and its first trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Santa Clara, he spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Pepperdine. A three-year starting setter at UC Santa Barbara, Wallace directed the Gauchos to the NCAA Tournament title match in 1988.
Broncos Picked Third in WCC Preseason Poll
For the second straight year, Santa Clara was picked to finish third in the 2001 WCC race according a preseason poll of the league's coaches. Despite winning the 2000 league 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 first place, was voted as the favorite to win the WCC crown for the third straight season.
Bronco Bios: Jami Bari
As a Senior in 2001: a co-captain... earned SCU Invitational MVP and WCC Player of the Week honors for strong play Sept. 8-9... that week included three double-doubles and a career-high 20 kills in the Broncos' victory over UC Santa Barbara... is third on the team with a 2.97 kills per game mark and leads the team in digs with a 3.54 per-game average.. both marks are also in the top seven in the WCC... additionally, her .33 service aces per game average is seventh best in the league... has registered 10 double-doubles, including four against ranked opposition... posted more than 10 kills in the team's first nine matches of the season and has 12 overall... posted a career-high 20 kills against Creighton... has also posted double-digit performances in digs in 16 of the team's 22 matches... saw limited action two weeks ago and did not play last weekend after straining an abdominal muscle...
Bronco Bios: Merrin Thompson
As a Senior in 2001: Is one of three players that has seen action in every game this season... is ranked fourth in the league in digs with a 3.39 per-game mark... has posted double digits in digs in 17 of the team's 24 matches... posted a career 23 in that category against North Carolina... began the season as a defensive specialist, but moved to an outside hitter in October...