Santa Clara Volleyball Achieves Program's Highest Ever Ranking

Oct. 28, 2002

The Santa Clara University volleyball squad moved up two spots in the AVCA/USA Today Top-25 poll Monday morning, jumping ahead of UCLA and North Carolina to take over the No. 12 spot on the poll, giving the program its highest-ever ranking.

The Broncos, currently 17-3 overall and 6-1 in the West Coast Conference, have been ranked in the top-25 throughout the season, beginning with the preseason ranking of No. 24. They steadily climbed the charts and have not moved down in the rankings, partly due to the fact that all three of Santa Clara's losses this season have come to teams currently ranked in the top-10.

"I think it is great to be recognized by the coaches from around the country," said fourth-year head coach Jon Wallace. "To have a ranking as high as No. 12 is a credit to the tradition that we are starting to build here at Santa Clara University. Our goal is to be among the top-10 programs in the country on a perennial basis and I think this is an indication that we are on our way."

What might be the most remarkable aspect of the Broncos' climb to the top-12 is the absence of two starters from their rotation. Middle Blocker Toni Muratore, who was an All-West Coast Conference performer as a freshman in 2001, was lost during the preseason when she suffered a fractured ankle, forcing her to redshirt the season. Freshman outside hitter Kim McGiven, who won a starting spot in the preseason, was lost just eight matches into the season after suffering a dislocated patella in the Broncos' 3-2 win over Michigan in the Nebraska Tournament.

"I think because of the injuries we had to ask some of our younger players to step up before they were really ready," said Wallace. "Players like Cassie Perret, Alyssa Lantz and Megan Johnston have been doing a great job for us as considering they are two freshmen and one sophomore. I think that it also goes to show that we are recruiting the top student-athletes who can step in and be a part of the team that will take this program to that elite national level."

Wallace and his squad continue their tough schedule this week with a non-conference home match Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against Sacramento State before returning to WCC action on the road this weekend at Saint Mary's and at San Diego.

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