Dec. 20, 2000
A Season Remembered For the second straight year, the Broncos' season was ended short of a national championship by Notre Dame, when Santa Clara lost to the top-ranked Fighting Irish in overtime over the Thanksgiving holiday. SCU finishes 16-7-1, having advanced to an eighth-straight quarterfinal. Additionally, the Broncos' final ranking at No. 7 marks the 12th straight year the program has been ranked in the top 10.
NCAA Tournament Santa Clara was extended an invitation to a 12th straight NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid this year. After an injury-plagued regular season, Santa Clara was at full strength for the first round, defeating Cal Poly 3-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium on Nov. 8. That first-round match was the first for SCU since 1997, as the team received byes each of the last two years. Santa Clara then shutout eighth-seeded California in the second round 2-0 on Nov. 11, before pulling off another upset in the third round, topping eighth-ranked Brigham Young 2-1 in overtime on Nov. 18. The Broncos failed to reach their fifth straight College Cup appearance with a 2-1 overtime loss to top-ranked Notre Dame on Nov. 24.
During the regular season, the Broncos faced 12 of the 47 other teams selected by the NCAA for this year's bracket, and went 7-4-1, outscoring the opposition 23-18. Additionally, Santa Clara was one of 14 teams from the West Coast and one of four Bay Area squads selected to the draw.
In the Rankings Santa Clara vaulted from 24th to seventh in the NSCAA/adidas Poll's final edition after advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals. After the Oct. 29 loss to Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara fell out of the rankings for the first time in years but returned one week later for the last poll of the regular season. The Broncos began the season ranked second, but losses to Washington and Notre Dame dropped SCU 17 spots where the team stayed for two straight weeks before climbing to as high as 11th. The No. 22 ranking marked the first time since 1987 that the Broncos have been out of the top 10. In other polls, Santa Clara finished ninth by SoccerBuzz Magazine. Two polls did not include postseason results in their final rankings, tying SCU with Duke for 18th by Soccer Times, while Soccer America's final poll omitted the Broncos. Santa Clara went 8-4-1 vs. ranked opponents this season.
Slaton Honored as All-American Junior defender Danielle Slaton was honored as an NSCAA/adidas All-American, despite missing nine games while competing with the U.S. Olympic Team. She finished the season with one goal, starting 14 of 15 contests. The only match she didn't start was against Wake Forest, when her plan was still arriving from Sydney, Australia. Slaton made it to the game by halftime. Sophomore Aly Wagner was honored with Slaton as a preseason All-American by Soccer Buzz.
16-7-1, 4-3-0 Records Making a Mark Santa Clara has posted 16 wins this season, it's lowest in five years, when the 1995 squad posted 16. Additionally, the Broncos suffered seven losses, something the program hasn't seen since 1988, and more than the last three years combined. The Broncos' three league losses were a first for Santa Clara in the West Coast Conference. In the nine-year history of the WCC, Santa Clara had only posted two losses in a season twice, last in 1996.
The Broncos at Buck Shaw Stadium Santa Clara has posted a 124-18-7 record at the 6,800-seat Buck Shaw Stadium over the last 12 seasons, including an 11-0-0 record in 1999. Over the last six seasons, the Broncos are 74-7-7 (.881) at Buck Shaw.
Head Coach Jerry Smith After 14 seasons as head coach, Jerry Smith (CS Hayward '86) has compiled an overall record of 219-58-15 (.577) and has coached Santa Clara to 12 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The winningest coach in the program's history, Smith is fifth on the all-time NCAA coaching victory list. The Broncos have been ranked among the nation's Top 25 every season during Smith's coaching tenure and have finished among the Top 10 in each of the last 12 campaigns. In 1990, Santa Clara finished the season ranked first nationally. Additionally, he has coached 13 All-Americans, 11 U.S. National Team Players, eight Academic All-Americans and five WCC Freshmen of the Year, including this year's selection Veronica Zepeda. He coached 1999 National Player of the Year Mandy Clemens and has been awarded WCC Coach of the Year honors five times.
Aldama, Horvath Drafted by WUSA Seniors Heather Aldama and Megan Horvath were two of 11 Broncos drafted by WUSA team's in the first-ever draft, conducted Dec. 10-11 in Boca Raton, Fla. Including one founding member and two allocated selections, Santa Clara now has 14 former players spread over each of the eight WUSA rosters. More information on the WUSA can be found on the league's official website at www.wusaleague.com.