Bronco Spikers Picked Among League Leaders

Bronco Spikers Picked Among League Leaders

Aug. 1, 2005

SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The Santa Clara University volleyball team was selected among the favorites to contend for the 2005 West Coast Conference women's volleyball regular season title, as selected by the conference coaches.

Pepperdine and San Diego are listed as the favorites to win the league title. Both programs tallied 57 overall points, with San Diego receiving four first place votes, while Pepperdine received three first place nods. Santa Clara was selected third with 52 overall points and also received one first place vote. Loyola Marymount was tabbed fourth with 37 overall points, followed by San Francisco (30), Saint Mary's (29), Portland (16) and Gonzaga (10).

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Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount, selected third and fourth in this year's preseason poll, both look for return trips to the NCAA Tournament. The Broncos, led by 2004 WCC Freshman of the Year Annalisa Muratore, finished the 2004 season with an 18-9 overall record and earned their ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Led by Jon Wallace, who has won over 70 percent of his games as the Broncos' head coach, Santa Clara opens the season August 30 at Sacramento State. Santa Clara opens its impressive home schedule the weekend of Sept. 8 against Fresno State, Arizona and UC Santa Barbara in the Bronco Invitational.

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San Diego enjoyed its best season in school history in 2004, posting a 24-5 overall record, including a perfect 14-0 mark in WCC play, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen. The Toreros, who joined Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine as the only schools in WCC history to finish a season with an unblemished league record, garnered a No. 12 national ranking in the final USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll released by the AVCA.

Pepperdine battled injuries and a rigorous schedule in 2004, a season which ended with a 10-15 record and fifth-place finish in the West Coast Conference (WCC). The team missed the post-season for the first time since the 1997 campaign. However, with a strong nucleus of returners, led by All-WCC first team member Sophia Milo, and the No. 10 recruiting class in the country according to Volleyball Magazine, the Waves look to challenge for the WCC title and get back to the postseason in 2005.

San Francisco, Saint Mary's, Portland and Gonzaga round out this year's poll. The Dons, who earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 2003, return 10 letterwinners, including six starters as they look for a return trip to the postseason in 2005. Saint Mary's is coming off a school-record 25 wins, an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance, a school record second place West Coast Conference finish and finished the season ranked No. 13 in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll. Portland and Gonzaga, picked seventh and eighth, return numerous key performers and look to climb the WCC standings in 2005.

Women's Volleyball 2005 Preseason Poll
1. San Diego - 57 (4)
Pepperdine - 57 (3)
3. Santa Clara - 52
4. Loyola Marymount - 37
5. San Francisco - 30
6. Saint Mary's - 29
7. Portland - 16
8. Gonzaga - 10
(First place votes)

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