Santa Clara sand travels up I-280 North a few miles to play at Stanford on March 29 and 30. The Broncos will face host-Stanford, No. 3 Hawaii and No. 6 UCLA on Saturday. The teams will play the Stanford Pairs Tournament on Sunday. This week Bronco head coach Jon Wallace (JW) talked about the team's goals in practice this week, what they are looking to accomplish this weekend and how rain could be a factor.
SCU: Two of the teams are ranked in the top six. What do you know about their teams? Stanford was also ranked in the preseason poll.
JW: We don't know much about our competition for this weekend. The season is early and unlike the indoor game where coaches are exchanging video. We do know UCLA, UH and Stanford's personnel and they have some amazing talent that we will have to deal with. Our girls are excited to compete. They have been working hard and have looked great during workouts this week.
SCU: This is a big tournament for your team. They are coming back early from spring break to play. What will you do in practice this week to get ready?
JW: Our goal for practice this week is to get all of our teams as many repetitions in as we can. They need to reconnect with their teammate, reconnect the communication and competitive bond they all had before finals and break. I am very pleased with how everyone has returned and the excitement they have for this weekend.
SCU: Does sand play in the rain? With rain projected for this weekend does it make any difference to you?
JW: Rain may alter the event - it will depend on the severity. We have purposely been practicing in the wind and weather we have been having and I believe our girls have learned a lot from having to play in it.
SCU: You have played well in your three matches this season. Comments on play? What are some of the improvements you have seen from last year?
JW: We are playing well and with a ton of confidence. It is great to see and fun to watch. We have improved a great deal from last year. We have had a complete change in our mentality, which is a direct correlation of this group's commitment to being successful for their indoor season.
We have also had a good influx of talent. Every team, 1-6, we are playing freshman. Nicole Hess, Sabrina Clayton, Gigi Cresto, Taylor Dayton, Madison Dutra and Chloe Lott are all freshmen and are playing throughout all of our teams.
SCU: What are your goals this weekend?
JW: Our goals for this weekend are to find a way to win three matches. We must compete as a group of two as well as a group of 10. We must play Santa Clara volleyball in every match. We must compete and play with grit.
SCU: Will you use the same line-up as you have been using or with three matches in a day, will you change your line-up some?
JW: We may change our line-up a little bit throughout the tournament. We have seen some girls really stepping up their games and competing for playing time. We will put the best team or best two players together to try to win these matches.