April 25, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Having advanced to 12 straight NCAA Tournaments, the Santa Clara women's soccer team is looking to make the number 13 lucky once again. The quest to reach a fifth College Cup in six seasons begins August 31, when Cal Poly visits Buck Shaw Stadium, the first of a 20-match schedule head coach Jerry Smith announced today.
The Broncos' schedule features 11 opponents that participated in last year's NCAA Tournament, including three of the four 2000 College Cup participants. Additionally, the schedule opens with seven of the first eight matches against teams that participated in last year's postseason, highlighted by a September 14 showdown with 2000 semifinalist Notre Dame, a team that has knocked Santa Clara out of the postseason in each of the last two years. Add an October 18 match against NCAA finalist UCLA and a November 2 contest with semifinalist Portland, and once again, the nine-game home schedule at Buck Shaw Stadium becomes one of the strongest in the nation.
"We try to put together the most demanding schedule that we can, and I think we outdid ourselves this year," Smith said. "These teams will challenge us and help us discover our weaknesses during the regular season, giving us a chance to work on and improve those points before NCAAs. A great example of that occurred last year was when we played Notre Dame in September. They beat us every which way that they could. When we faced them again in the quarterfinals, we clearly outplayed them. Although we didn't win the game, the lessons we learned early helped us to be a better team in the playoffs, and that's what we hope to get out of our schedule again this season."
In addition to Portland, the Broncos will host San Francisco and San Diego as part of the West Coast Conference schedule, but just before league begins, Santa Clara will host the sixth annual adidas Classic. This year's invitational includes Southern Methodist, San Diego State and Stanford. The Broncos will also bring in Bay Area rival California, Cal Poly and Colorado College to round out the home calendar.
"I think what everyone will see when they come out to the Classic are four top programs that are committed to women's soccer and that will field very good teams," Smith added. "There will be some good drama for the tournament. I don't think there will be any one-sided matches."
On the road, the team will remain close while visiting San Jose State and Stanford, but will travel to Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine in league play. Early in the season, the Broncos participate in two tournaments, the Nike/Wake Forest Invitational, that includes matches against host Wake Forest as well as Florida State, and the Stanford Classic, where the Broncos will compete against Dayton and Dartmouth.
Last season marked the first time in nine years the Broncos did not finish as one of the top two teams in the WCC, placing fifth in league play. Despite the strengthening of the conference's play over the last several years, Santa Clara will be very focused on winning the WCC title.
"I think our team will be very determined in league play this year," Smith said. "Having lost some of our conference games last year, and not performing as well in some of those games, the only thing I'll have to do is post the final 2000 standings in the locker room and let them look. It won't sit well with the group.
"You just can't drop a game in this conference and win it," he continued. "Every conference game is critical. Even our game vs. San Francisco last year... in winning the game, we struggled. And USF had a below .500 record. Our players learned a very valuable lesson: conference games are a battle."
The Broncos return six starters from last year's team that finished the season with a 16-7-1 overall record and 4-3 mark in the WCC. Leading the way will be two National Player of the Year candidates, senior All-American Danielle Slaton and junior Aly Wagner, the U.S. Soccer Youth Athlete of the Year. Also returning is the league's second leading goal scorer, sophomore Kristi Candau, and WCC Freshman of the Year Veronica Zepeda.
Santa Clara Women's Soccer 2001 Schedule
Day Date Opponent Location Local Time
Friday Aug. 31 Cal Poly Santa Clara 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 2 San Jose State San Jose, Calif. 7 p.m.
Nike/Wake Forest Invitational
Friday Sept. 7 Wake Forest Winston-Salem, N.C. 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 9 Florida State Winston-Salem, N.C. Noon
Friday Sept. 14 Notre Dame Santa Clara 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 16 California Santa Clara 1 p.m.
Friday Sept. 21 Dayton Stanford, Calif. 5 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 23 Dartmouth Stanford, Calif. 11 a.m.
Santa Clara adidas Classic
Friday Sept. 28 Stanford vs. SDSU Santa Clara 5 p.m.
Southern Methodist Santa Clara 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 30 Stanford vs. SMU Santa Clara 11 a.m.
San Diego State Santa Clara 1 p.m.
Friday Oct. 5 Stanford Stanford, Calif. 7:30 p.m.
Friday Oct. 12 San Francisco* Santa Clara 5:30 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 14 Gonzaga* Spokane, Wash. 1 p.m.
Thursday Oct. 18 UCLA Santa Clara 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 21 Saint Mary's* Moraga, Calif. Noon
Friday Oct. 26 Loyola Marymount* Los Angeles, Calif. 3 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 28 Pepperdine* Malibu, Calif. 1 p.m.
Friday Nov. 2 Portland* Santa Clara 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Nov. 4 San Diego* Santa Clara 1 p.m.
Saturday Nov. 10 Colorado College Santa Clara 7:30 p.m.
* West Coast Conference match
Home matches in bold
Home matches played at Buck Shaw Stadium