Aug. 23, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The sixth-ranked Santa Clara University women's soccer team kicked off the 2001 season at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, August 15. That day marked the first official day teams could start practicing and the Broncos opened in style with its seventh annual midnight run.
Head coach Jerry Smith's version of basketball's "Midnight Madness" involved a 12-minute run, the first of a battery of fitness tests the team endured during the first week of training.
"All summer long we've been looking forward to getting this season underway," Smith said, "but I worry too much about conducting a formal training session in the middle of the night. Our annual run is a great compromise to create some fun and excitement for the year."
The Broncos have been practicing twice daily since last week. After a two-day team retreat that began today, the Broncos will return to practice once daily. Practices are open to the public and are located at either Stanton or Bellomy practice fields. Times vary, so those interested in attending or wanting to confirm practice times and locations, days off or directions, are asked to call the Santa Clara Athletic Office at 408-554-4063.
With the loss of 10 letterwinners from last year's NCAA quarterfinal squad, the Broncos introduce 12 newcomers for the 2001 season. Although it is a priority every season, team chemistry has been a major focus of preseason training. With that in mind, the team left today for a two-day camping retreat at Sunset State Beach where the coaches will have team-building activities but also allow time for the girls to get to know each other away from soccer.
"Building team chemistry is high on my list every year," Smith said, "but it's more of a challenge when there's so many new players along with getting to know everybody's quirkiness so we are reemphasizing its importance. It'll be a longer process this year, but it will be good for us to enjoy some time together away from soccer."
With the large amount of newcomers, Smith added that he's less concerned with covering Xs and Os in the short time frame he has to prepare his team for its first match on August 31 and more with his team playing for each other and with each other.
"It will be interesting to see how we come together in our first game," junior midfielder Aly Wagner added. "We'll have plenty to learn from and review but it will still be fun to taste the potential of what we can become."
As for the first week of camp, Smith said the team has responded very well.
"What I hoped for entering camp is a group that wants to work hard and wants to learn," he said. "In our first week of camp, I've learned they fit the bill.
"I hope our team is looking forward to reestablishing ourselves as one of the best in the country," he continued. "The early signs are good, but their challenge is to do it all season. They're excited about that challenge, but know there's a lot of work to be done between now and the playoffs."