Nov. 26, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - For the ninth straight year, and the 11th time in program history, the Santa Clara volleyball team has earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament, it was announced today. Following a 2006 season which saw them go 20-7, the Broncos, placed in the Austin Regional bracket, will not stray far from home for the first two rounds as they head to the Stanford campus to take on the Missouri Tigers in an opening round match Friday, Dec. 1.
Friday's first-round match against Missouri is set to begin a 4:30 p.m. at Maples Pavilion, with the winner advancing to Saturday's second-round match at Maples, set for a 7 p.m. start, to face the winner of Friday night's Stanford-Sacramento State first-round contest.
Santa Clara opens the postseason at Stanford for the second year in a row, and is 5-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament matches at Maples Pavilion. This mark includes a perfect 4-0 run last year as the Broncos defeated Sacramento State and the then-defending national champion Cardinal in the first two rounds, before downing Pepperdine and Arizona in regional action on the way to becoming the first West Coast Conference team to ever reach the NCAA Final Four.
The first-round match between the Broncos and Tigers will also be a rematch of the Sept. 8 contest at the Time Warner Texas Invitational in Austin, Texas, which saw SCU claim a 3-1 (24-30, 30-18, 30-20, 30-24) victory behind the double-double efforts of outside hitters Kim McGiven (21 kills-14 digs) and Brittany Lowe (17 kills-14 digs).
Missouri (17-12, 11-9 Big 12) comes out to the West Coast after finishing sixth in the highly-competitive Big 12 Conference. The Tigers, who spent time early in the season ranked in the AVCA Top 25 poll, hold wins over such 2006 ranked teams as Notre Dame and Texas under their belts, and are led by the attack of Nicole Wilson (.329 pct., 3.43 kills a game) and Jessica Vander Kooi (4.11 kills per game) as well as the back row play of libero Tatum Ailes (4.85 digs per game).
The winner of Saturday night's second-round contest will travel to Austin, Texas, to participate in the regional semifinal action.