No. 6 Broncos Host Cal Poly to Open 2001 Season

Aug. 27, 2001

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Season Opener
Having advanced to 12 straight NCAA Tournaments, Santa Clara women's soccer 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.

Meet the Team Night
The season home opener against Cal Poly is also "Meet the Team Night!" Don't miss your chance to get an official Santa Clara Women's Soccer poster and to meet your favorite players in an autograph session immediately following Friday night's game.

Live on the Internet
This weekend's home opener will mark the launching of two new features on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Fans can now follow each regular season home match with a live Internet audio broadcast and a live statistical tracker. By logging on, fans can receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official scoring computer allowing users to listen to the audio broadcast and keep up with the statistics simultaneously for the team's 10 home contests. Ram Fletcher and Will Saso will share duties as the voice of the Broncos.

Broncos Picked Second in WCC Preseason Poll
Santa Clara University women's soccer team has been picked to finish second in the 2001 West Coast Conference race according a preseason poll of the league's coaches, the conference office announced August 1.

The Broncos received 45 points overall and three first-place votes in a tally of the conference's eight head coaches. Portland edged Santa Clara by two points for the top position in this year's poll. Returning defensively for Portland is WCC Defender of the Year junior Lauren Orlandos, who will head a Pilots backfield that gave up only nine goals last season. Loyola Marymount and San Diego tied for third place after ending last season knotted at second in the league standings. Saint Mary's, Pepperdine, San Francisco and Gonzaga round out the poll.

The Schedule
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 10-match 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," head coach Jerry 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."

Season/Match Tickets On Sale
Season and individual match tickets for Santa Clara University's nationally recognized soccer teams are on sale through the Department of Athletics and Recreation's official website www.SantaClaraBroncos.com and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660.

In conjunction with its exclusive Internet partner, Student Advantage's FANSonly Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase season tickets, family plans, individual matches or an all-sports pass via the official athletic website.

Season and individual match ticket packages are also available through the athletic ticket office, open between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A men's and women's soccer season ticket package that includes all 20 home matches is available for the adult price of $60 each, while a family plan provides a family of five admission to each game for the low price of $100. Youth (12 and under) and senior (over 65-years-old) season tickets are also available for $30. Single games are priced at $7 for adults, $5 for youths and seniors and $2 for non-Ruff Riders SCU students as well as members of Bronco Kidz. Single match team passes are also available for $35.

In the Rankings
Santa Clara opens the season ranked sixth according a preseason poll by the NCSAA and adidas. Santa Clara moved up one spot from last season's final rankings. Defending NCAA Champion North Carolina was ranked first in the poll. SCU home opponents and 2000 College Cup participants UCLA, Portland and Notre Dame were ranked second through fourth, respectively, while Nebraska rounded out the top five. Five other Bronco opponents also ranked in the top 25, led by California at 14th, followed by Stanford and Florida State at 15th and 16th. Santa Clara will also face No. 21 Dartmouth and No. 22 Wake Forest.

In other polls, the Broncos open the season ranked fifth by Soccer Times, and sixth by Soccer America, while Soccer Buzz Magazine ranked SCU 11th nationally and sixth in the West Region.

Preseason All-Americans
Five members of Santa Clara University's women's soccer team were named to Collegesoccer.com's preseason All-America list, including three on the First Team, more than any other school in the nation. Senior defenders Danielle Slaton and Anna Kraus, along with junior midfielder Aly Wagner, were named to the first team. Junior midfielder Devvyn Hawkins was listed as a second team honoree while sophomore forward Veronica Zepeda earned honorable mention honors. Slaton was also named a preseason All-American by Soccer Buzz Magazine.

Newcomers Outnumber Returning Letterwinners
With the graduation of six seniors and the loss of four more student-athletes, head coach Jerry Smith needed to rearm his squad. He did so with the largest recruiting class in Bronco history, signing eight freshmen to his roster during the spring signing period. He gained four more players with three walk-ons and a transfer student-athlete.

"There will be a lot of changes on the field this season," Smith said. "The number of newcomers outnumbers the returning letterwinners, so we will be young. It will be a less experienced team, but I think a deeper and more talented team than last year. We won't start to come together and play to out potential until past the halfway point of the season."

Freshman Faces
Women's soccer head coach Jerry Smith announced the signing of eight players to National Letters of Intent in February. Joining the Bronco Class of 2005 will include Parade All-Americans and 18U National Team members Jessica Ballweg, Leslie Osborne and Taline Tahmassian. Also signing with the Broncos are Holly Azevedo, Bree Horvath, Lana Bowen, and Saint Francis products Jaclyn Campi and Alyssa Sobolik.

"After a season impacted by many injuries and illnesses, it was very important for us to recruit a large class and this is the largest class we have ever signed," Smith said. "This class also marks the first time we have signed players from Virginia (Tahmassian), Wisconsin (Osborne) and New Jersey (Ballweg). This class will help us maintain our status as one of the elite Division I teams in the country for the next four years and will help us over that semifinal hurdle to our first NCAA Championship. I am very excited to start working with these talented players."

Recruiting Class Named Fourth Best Nationally
Soccer Buzz Magazine named Santa Clara's 2001 recruiting class the fourth best in the nation. The Broncos' class--ranked first in the West Region for the second time since 1998--includes four Parade All-Americans.

"On paper, this is the best recruiting class that we have ever signed for our women's soccer program at Santa Clara University," head coach Jerry Smith said. "All eight of our recruits will play next year and many of them will be vying for starting positions."

Soccer Buzz selected Virginia's class as the best for 2001, followed by North Carolina and Texas. Tennessee was ranked fifth and 2001 Bronco opponents Portland, UCLA, Florida State and Stanford were listed in the sixth through ninth spots. Washington rounded out the top 10.

Santa Clara has been ranked nationally by Soccer Buzz during the last four seasons. The 2000 Bronco class ranked fourth best in the West and seventh in the nation while the 1999 class was picked ninth in the region and 33rd overall. In 1998, the magazine honored Santa Clara with the top pick nationally.

The West Coast Conference was ranked sixth by Soccer Buzz, behind the ACC, Pac-10, Big East, Big 12 and SEC. Rounding out the top 10 leagues are the Big 10, Ivy League, WAC and Colonial Conferences.

Hermann Trophy Finalists
Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner have been named candidates for the 2001 Hermann Trophy, college soccer's oldest and most prestigious player of the year award, the Hermann Foundation and TEAMtalk, Inc., announced in August. Fifteen finalists were named. Wagner was named one of five finalists for last year's honor, while Slaton and former standout Heather Aldama were named semifinalists. Mandy Clemens became the first Bronco to be honored with the Hermann, when she was announced as the 1999 winner. Clemens was only the second SCU player to capture the title of national player of the year. Current assistant coach Brandi Chastain earned postseason honors following the 1990 season as she was named the 1990 ISAA Player of the Year. Three finalists will be announced on December 1and the winners will be named at the College Cup, held December 8 in Dallas, Texas. The Hermann Trophy, soccer's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, has been given annually since 1988 and is named for Robert R. Hermann, the former Chairman of the Executive Committee of the old North American Soccer League and one of that ground-breaking league's founders.