Santa Clara's sand team will play its final two matches this week with a 3:30 pm match on Tues., April 15 at Stanford and a 4 pm match at Cal on Fri., April 18. In its second year, Santa Clara is 6-7 this season. Stanford is 3-8 and Cal is 3-5.
The Broncos defeated USF 3-2 on April 9 before traveling down to Hermosa Beach, Calif. last weekend to play in a two-day tournament.
SCU: The team picked up a really nice win on Wednesday vs. USF, coming away with a 3-2 victory.
JW: Our match vs. USF was one of the most exciting sand events that we have been a part of in our two year history. It came down to the team of Katy Schatzman and Lacey Maas winning 2-1 with a 15-13 victory in the third set. It was a great day. It was exciting because it came down to the last match of the day, the last set of the day and a 15-13 drama was really exciting for everyone.
SCU: Then this past weekend the team played three of the top programs on the West coast in Hermosa Beach - what a great atmosphere to be playing in the sand next with the Pacific Ocean right there. Santa Clara played No. 1 Southern California, No. 6 UCLA and LMU, which is also terrific. And then in a pairs tournament on Sunday. What did the team take away from this type of competition?
JW: Last weekend was very motivating for our team. To see some of the best teams play has driven us to continue to work to be better. We start four freshmen on four different teams. Playing in that event with the best teams in the nation has really opened their eyes. I believe it will be a motivating factor going forward.
SCU: Tuesday you play Stanford and then you close out the sand season with Cal on Friday. What are your goals for these two matches?
JW: These two matches are going to be very close. We played Stanford earlier this season and won 3-2. Coming off the weekend, our girls are hungry for a victory and very motivated to play Stanford.
SCU: You haven't played Cal yet this season. What do you know about their team?
JW: We have seen them a few times this year at tournaments, but we haven't played them. Cal has really good athletes and they have gotten better each week they have played the sand season.
SCU: This is your second season of sand volleyball. Is your second year what you wanted it to be?
JW: Our second year is going really well. It takes some time to get accustomed to the sand game. And our girls have improved probably more than anybody we played last year. I feel like we are beating teams that we lost to last year. We are closing the gap on the team's that were pretty far ahead of us a year ago. Our athletes are better and have gained valuable experience. We are much improved.
SCU: Knowing you have two more matches this week, what are you looking forward to next spring with sand volleyball?
JW: We are really looking forward to four freshmen returning and being much better. We have an incoming freshman in Kirsten Mead that is one of the top sand players in her age group. We hope to return Taylor Milton for a senior year of sand volleyball to bolster our experience.
SCU: When will you start training for the indoor season?
JW: We start six weeks of training for our non-traditional season on Mon., April 21. This season we will focus on developing our skills with intrasquad scrimmages.