Men's Soccer Celebrates Season at Year-End Banquet
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's soccer team held its annual awards banquet Sunday afternoon at Dave & Buster's in Milpitas, Calif. The Broncos gathered to celebrate another successful season and to say thanks to its outgoing seniors.
Colorado Rapids defender Jeff Stewart was on hand for the ceremony, collecting his Defensive MVP award for the second year in a row. Stewart was drafted in the first round of the MLS Draft following a year in which he was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year and Co-Defender of the Year. The Rapids were in town to play the San Jose Earthquakes.
Anthony Chimienti was honored as the Offensive MVP, also for the second year in a row. Chimienti led the Bronco offensive attack in each of the last three seasons and tallied a total of 62 points in his career on 25 goals and 12 assists.
The team's Most Inspirational award went to Keith Burden, who alongside Stewart, anchored the Bronco defense for the last four years. Burden appeared in 82 matches during his Santa Clara career, starting 79 of those contests. He tallied nine goals, seven of which were game-winners, to go along with five assists during his stellar career.
The Rookie of the Year and Most Improved awards went to a pair of freshmen. Ryan Cochrane took home the Rookie of the Year award following a season in which he earned All-WCC honors and started in all 21 of the Broncos' games in his first year on the Mission Campus. Zach Knight was honored as the Most Improved player as the freshman worked his way into a starting role midway through the season and tallied five points on one goal and three assists.
Head coach Mitch Murray also recognized the outgoing seniors for their contributions to the program. In addition to Burden, Chimienti and Stewart, the Broncos will also be without Justin Canel, Tony Cota and Rusty Johnson next season. Cota and Canel proved to be vital aspects of the successful seasons at Santa Clara over the last few seasons, with Johnson being one of the top netminders in the nation.
As a sophomore in 1999, Johnson led the Broncos to the College Cup where they finished the season as the National Runners-Up. During his tenure at Santa Clara, Johnson has placed himself in the upper echelon of all-time Bronco players. He currently ranks second all-time in shutouts with 23.5 and fourth in saves with 164 and in goals-against average with a 0.79 mark. Johnson was also honored by the NCAA when he was selected as a recipient of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. He was one of only two men's soccer players in the nation to be selected for the honor.
The Broncos finished the season with a 12-9-0 record and a 5-1-0 record in the WCC. The Broncos captured the WCC Championship in 2001 and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they eventually lost to Stanford who made it to the College Cup.