Nov. 6, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The West Coast Conference champion Santa Clara University men's and women's soccer teams each found out their draw in the NCAA Tournament Monday afternoon. The women earned one of the tournament's four top seeds and will begin postseason play Friday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium as they host the USC Women of Troy at 4:00 p.m. PT, while the men's side begins their run for a national title at home on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m. PT against the winner of this weekend's Creighton-Washington match.
The women's side (15-4-1) enters the 64-team women's tournament for the 18th year in a row after securing its ninth WCC title with last Saturday's 2-1 win at Saint Mary's. Santa Clara, which boasts an all-time home record of 29-2 in postseason play, will embark on the quest to reach the program's 11th College Cup and win its second national title by hosting the first two rounds of the tournament this weekend, beginning with a Friday doubleheader featuring Santa Clara-USC at 4 p.m. followed by Stanford-Nevada at 7:00 p.m. PT. The winning sides will then meet Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1:00 p.m. PT at Buck Shaw Stadium.
SCU is led by M.A.C. Hermann Award nominee Marian Dalmy, the WCC's leading scorer among defenders with six goals and 18 points in 2006, as well as junior forward Meagan Snell, whose 11 goals and 25 points lead the squad. A solid backline of Dalmy, Dani Potts, Hillary Schwarzbach, and Lauren Zealear, along with arguably the nation's best goalkeeping tandem in Meagan McCray and Julie Ryder, has posted 11 shutouts and a collective goals-against average of 0.64 entering postseason play.
Last season, the women defeated Fresno State, Saint Louis and Boston College to reach the quarterfinals before falling to Penn State 2-1 on the road.
As a No. 1 seed in the women's draw, the Broncos, who hold the nation's longest current streak of reaching the quarterfinal round (11 years), have the opportunity to play at home in each of the first four rounds leading up to the Women's College Cup, which takes place Dec. 1 & 3 in Cary, N.C.
The SCU men, on the heels of their first WCC title since 2003 and in search of their sixth trip to the College Cup and second national title, were awarded the No. 10 seed in the 48-team men's tournament, and earned a first round bye. Santa Clara will await the winner of this weekend's Creighton-Washington match which takes place in Seattle, and host the advancing team on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m. PT at Buck Shaw Stadium. The men's team will be making their 17th NCAA Tournament appearance.
Santa Clara boasts a varied attack in which 13 different players have contributed a goal, led by senior Keith DeVey's six goals. DeVey and freshman midfielder Amaechi Igwe share the team lead with 13 points, as well, as Igwe has netted five goals to go with three assists. In net, goalkeeper Joseph Buttitta leads the WCC with eight shutouts and a 0.78 goals-against average, ably assisted by the strong defense of Matt Hatzke, Matt Marquess, and Jamil Roberts.
In 2005, the Bronco men defeated Ohio State 1-0 in the first round of the tournament at Buck Shaw Stadium before falling on penalty kicks on the road against California.
The men's College Cup will take place December 1 & 3 in St. Louis, Mo.
Women's head coach Jerry Smith: "First of all, I want to congratulate all of our players, particularly our captains Marian Dalmy, Tiffany Roberts, Brittany Klein and Jordan Anegli. I think that we deserved a No. 1 seed. I am glad that we were rewarded for playing a very difficult schedule with a number of ranked opponents. We worked hard for this top seed and I am excited that we will be playing at home."
Junior captain, Jordan Angeli: "I am very happy for the team. We have worked all year to for this and now we have to start preparing for Friday. When I was a freshman, we made the Final Four, so we know how difficult it is. Every game will be tough so we have to be ready to play on Friday."
Junior Brittany Klein: "We are really looking forward to the game on Friday. It will be fun to play a powerhouse from Southern California like USC. Every player on our team has played a huge role in our success and we will need them all if we want to succeed in the tournament."
Men's head coach Cameron Rast: "We are very pleased to get the No. 10 seed and get that bye in the first round. This team has made tremendous progress this season with a lot of new players so I am very proud of the effort that they have made. We have played well at the end of the season and we are excited about getting started next week."
Senior Erik Ustruck: "We have had a good run so far and we have played a strong schedule this year so I think that will help us in the tournament. The tournament comes down to experience and the ability to win hard-fought games. Every game will be close so we have to focus on playing well and getting a win next week."
Junior Peter Lowry: "Early on in the year, we learned a lot of good lessons that helped us a lot down the stretch. The team has been playing well recently and I think that we are ready to make a good run in the tournament. Playing a lot of very competitive conference games has helped us prepare for the playoffs."