Santa Clara left the Boise State Invitational empty handed, ending the weekend with a disappointing record of 0-3. Despite the losses, the Broncos are off to one of the best starts in program history in over a decade after their 9-0 start.
They have knocked off some of the top teams in the nation, such as #7 Universityof Southern California and #21 Louisville and were ranked as high as #17 in ACVA preseason rankings.
This tough preseason competition will surely help them once league play begins.
“A tough but successful preseason has set our team up with confidence going into the rest of the season,” said freshman libero Taylor Laugero. “We have seen our potential and what we can accomplish as a group.”
The Broncos have established a winning formula and recognize the importance maintaining good habits. This consistency will determine their success going forward.
“As we move into conference play this week, it will be crucial for us to stay true to our routine and style of volleyball,” said senior libero/defensive specialist Mary Shepherd. “What matters is that we prepare the same way for each match, stick to the style of play that we practice every day and continue to get better and work hard to accomplish our goals.”
So, what happened in Boise that wrecked the Broncos winning streak? A number of factors seemed to cause issues for the team.
Their preseason schedule featured long stretches on the road and that can take a toll on the mind and body of an athlete. A few Broncos suffered from illness and injury, including 2015 All-WCC and AVCA All-Pacific North Region setter Kirsten Mead who sustained an ankle injury during practice.
“It is definitely hard to temporarily lose a player to an injury, especially in the position as important as a setter,” said senior outside hitter Nikki Hess. “But the biggest challenge we faced on the road was how to react after the first loss of our season.”
The Broncos had little time to recuperate after their grueling five set loss to Arizona State, as just three hours later they faced to Boise State. Throughout the weekend they struggled to regain their momentum and ended the tournament with a loss to UC Davis.
With league play beginning this week, the team finds themselves playing two tough matches in enemy territory. First up is #13 Brigham Young University on September 22nd.
The team will then fly to southern California to play #7 University of San Diego on Sep. 24th.
“We feel more than ready for league,” Hess said. “Coming off a great preseason we have nothing but confidence going into this week. We have a tough schedule starting out at BYU, however, we’ve been on the road facing tough competition for the last month so it’s nothing new to us.”