Women's Soccer WCC Title Could Be Decided this Weekend

Oct. 30, 2001

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This Week
The 2001 West Coast Conference Champion could be decided this weekend, as the Broncos close out league play against two of the teams still in the race for the conference crown: No. 4 Portland (13-2, 2-1) on Friday and No. 18 San Diego (12-4, 4-1) on Sunday. If Santa Clara defeats Portland, it will enter Sunday's match against San Diego with only one conference loss. A Bronco win against the Toreros would wrap up SCU's WCC season with a 6-1 mark, something no other team would be able to match in the final weekend of league play next week.

More on the WCC Championship
Santa Clara and the Pilots are the only two teams that have ever won the WCC crown in the 10 years the league has sponsored the sport. SCU's titles came in 1993, '98 and '99.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's final three November matches can be heard on a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, the contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on Santa Clara's official athletic website. 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. The features were introduced this season and can be enjoyed for the team's remaining three home contests. Ram Fletcher and Will Saso will share duties as the voice of the Broncos with SCU men's soccer alumni Mark Wojciechowski adding color commentary.

MAC Player of the Year Candidates
Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner were named candidates for the 11th annual Missouri Athletic Club's Collegiate Player of the Year Award, as announced by the Missouri Athletic Club Sports Foundation. Last season, Slaton finished fourth while Wagner placed fifth in the final ballots. The award is the official National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas award for Division I players. The winner will be presented with the award on January 11, 2002 in St. Louis. Former standout Mandy Clemens won the award in 1999.

Hermann Trophy Semifinalists
Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner are also 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. Former standout 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 1 and 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.

Bronco Offense is Second in the Nation
Santa Clara is ranked second the nation in total offense, averaging 3.5 points per game with 56 goals in 16 matches. The Bronco defense is also ranked, eighth with a 0.56 goals-against average. Individually, junior Aly Wagner leads the nation in assists, averaging 0.88 per game while ranking 14th in goals per game, with a 0.81 mark. It averages to place her fourth nationally in points per game with a 2.5 average. Freshman Alyssa Sobolik is ranked ninth nationally in goals against average (.55 pg), having allowed on 6 goals in 12 matches and 988 minutes of action. She is one of two freshmen ranked in the top 20.

The Broncos at Buck Shaw Stadium
Santa Clara has posted a 136-20-9 record at the 6,800-seat Buck Shaw Stadium over the last 15-plus seasons, including an 11-0-0 record in 1999. Over the last five-plus seasons, the Broncos are 60-6-3 (.891) at Buck Shaw.

In the Rankings
Santa Clara is currently ranked third by Soccer America and NCSAA/adidas, and fourth by Soccer Buzz Magazine, and Soccer Times. Five of Santa Clara's final seven opponents are ranked nationally, including this week's battles against No. 4 Portland and No. 18 San Diego. In fact, for the first time in league history in any sport, the West Coast Conference has five teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, as Saint Mary's is ranked 12th and Pepperdine is 21st.

Up Next: End of Regular Season against Colorado College
The Broncos will wrap up regular season play at home, hosting Colorado College on Nov. 10. Santa Clara will honor seniors Kerry Cathcart, Anna Kraus and Danielle Slaton in a prematch ceremony. Santa Clara leads the series with the Tigers 6-3. The teams have not met since the 1997 season, when SCU won 4-0.

Head Coach Jerry Smith
In his 15th season as head coach, Jerry Smith (CS Hayward '86) earned his 225th career win against Southern Methodist on Sept. 28. He has compiled an overall record of 233-60-15 (.781) and earned his 50th WCC victory against Gonzaga in mid-October. Additionally, he 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 last 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.

Bronco Bios: Veronica Zepeda
As a Sophomore in 2001: Named an honorable mention preseason All-American... scored first goal of the season within first six minutes of first match against Cal Poly... added her second goal later that night... posted a goal and an assist against San Jose State... added an assist for Tahmassian's game-winner against Florida State... has teamed with Tahmassian to score a combined five goals, all within a match's opening six minutes of either half... netted a goal and an assist against SMU... added an assist against SDSU en route to all-adidas Classic honors... was fouled while breaking toward the goal against Saint Mary's, setting up Wagner's free kick that was converted into the game-winner... registered her fourth game-winner against LMU... has started all 16 contests... is third on the team with 20 points on the season with seven goals and six assists...

Bronco Bios: Leslie Osborne
As a Freshman in 2001: Registered first collegiate assist against Cal Poly in the team's season opener, passing to fellow freshman Bree Horvath... beat the keeper and three defenders against San Jose State for her first collegiate goal... scored goals in three straight games, against Cal, Dayton and SMU, on the same play: a header off a corner kick from Aly Wagner... posted one goal and two assists en route to all-adidas Classic honors... scored the program's sixth fastest goal all-time against Fresno State, heading in a ball just 37 seconds into the contest... added three goals and three assists against USF and Gonzaga en route to earning WCC Player of the Week and Soccer America Elite team of the week honors... is one of two freshmen that has started all 16 contests... is second on the team in points, with 29 on nine goals and 11 assists...

Bronco Bios: Jessica Ballweg
As a Freshman in 2001: Scored from 30 yards out in the first half to lead Santa Clara to a 1-0 victory over No. 20 Wake Forest for her first collegiate goal... named to Soccer America's elite team of the week for her performance... added another long-distance score, this one from 40 yards out to even the contest at Stanford in the first half... is one of two freshmen that has started all 16 contests... has two goals and two assists for six points... is part of a defense that has allowed only one goal in the season's first 360 minutes and has shut out its last five opponents...

Bronco Bios: Alyssa Sobolik
As a Freshman in 2001: Has started 11 matches and registered 24 saves... has allowed only six goals for a 0.55 goals-against average and a 9-1 record... is ranked ninth nationally in goals against average... is one of two freshmen ranked in the top 20... has five shutouts on the year, against ranked opponents Wake Forest and UCLA as well as San Diego State, San Francisco and Loyola Marymount... registered five saves in an overtime loss to Pepperdine...