Nov. 14, 2001
Santa Clara will face Evansville in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Women's Soccer Championships, the NCAA announced on Monday. The Broncos, who have reached the semifinals seven times-including four of the last five-are the tournament's second overall seed, but will travel to Champaign, Ill., for the first and second rounds of the Championship.
The Broncos will face the Purple Aces at the Soccer and Track Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday. Host Illinois will face Syracuse in the other game at 5 p.m. The winners will face each other on Sunday at noon.
The Broncos, ranked second in the country with a 17-2 record, will be making its 13th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received an automatic berth in the 2001 Tournament after winning the West Coast Conference Championship on November 4.
Why the Broncos aren't Hosting
Last week, the NCAA announced that as a result of the September 11 tragedies and concern for the welfare of the student-athletes, the Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet and Management Council approved adjustments to seeding, site selection and pairings for the championship. The memo added that the changes were implemented in light of the unstable world climate in order to minimize air travel and mitigate risk, inconvenience and travel delays to the greatest extent possible.
The changes include seeding only eight teams and moving seeds to other regions if there are two many from the same region. This means that the NCAA was not guaranteeing that a top-seeded team would host and that site selection would be based on geographic location. Of the eight seeds, Santa Clara is the only school not hosting.
On the Opponents
Evansville is 16-6-1 on the season and earned a berth into the tournament by winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. The Purple Aces are led by senior forward Jessica Schwartz, who has 20 points on the season with eight goals. Host Illinois is 12-7-1 while Syracuse carries an 11-6-0 overall record.
The Rest of the Field
Of the 64 teams selected, 11 are from the West Coast. Along with Santa Clara, California, Stanford and Saint Mary's were the other three Bay Area teams selected. Additionally, West Coast Conference opponents Portland, Saint Mary's, San Diego and Pepperdine were placed in the draw. SCU went 9-1 against the tournament field during the regular season. Undefeated North Carolina is the tournament's top seed, followed by the Broncos, UCLA, Portland, Stanford, Florida, Notre Dame and Connecticut.
Advancing Through the Championship
The third round will be held November 23-25 and the quarterfinals will be played November 30-December 2. The 2001 Women's College Cup will be held December 7 and 9 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
NCAA Expands Tournament Field
The NCAA Championships expanded this year from 48 to 64 teams. Three seasons ago, the women's bracket was increased from 32 to 48 teams. In the championship, 28 conferences will be awarded automatic berths with 36 teams receiving at-large selections.
Bronco Offense is Second in the Nation
Santa Clara is ranked second the nation in total offense, averaging 3.37 points per game with 64 goals in 19 matches. The Bronco defense is also ranked, fifth with a 0.52 goals-against average. Individually, junior Aly Wagner leads the nation in assists, averaging 0.94 per game while she adds 13 goals to her totals. It averages to place her fourth nationally in points per game with a 2.39 average. Freshman Alyssa Sobolik is ranked fifth nationally in goals against average (.54 pg), having allowed only 7 goals in 14 matches and 1170 minutes of action. She is one of two freshmen ranked in the top 20.
Santa Clara returned to the top of the league leaderboard with its fourth West Coast Conference Championship in five years, and fifth overall. The Broncos went 6-1 in league play for the 2001 crown, and earned the WCC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Santa Clara's other titles came in 1993, '97, '98 and '99.
Wagner Moves Up in WCC, SCU Top-10 Lists
Aly Wagner moved into 18th place on the West Coast Conference's career points list, with 89 in 57 matches. This season, she currently leads the league in both goals (13) and assists (17) for 43 points, which is tied for 14th best in the conference for a season. Additionally, her 13 goals ties for 10th in the league's list for goals in a season. Wagner is also ninth in Santa Clara's recordbook in points, and has vaulted to No. 4 all-time in assists with 37. She registered 12 as a redshirt freshman in 1999 and added eight last season.
Santa Clara leads the conference in every offensive category: shots (351), goals (60), assists (57), points (177), goals per game (3.3) and assists per game (3.2). Individually, five Broncos are listed in the league's top 10 list for goals, assists and their respective per-game averages.
In the Rankings
Santa Clara is currently ranked second in all four polls: Soccer America, NCSAA/adidas, Soccer Buzz Magazine and Soccer Times. Five of Santa Clara's final seven opponents were ranked nationally, including four conference opponents. In fact, for the first time in league history in any sport, the West Coast Conference had five teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, in No. 4 Portland, No. 12 Saint Mary's, No. 18 San Diego and No. 21 Pepperdine toward the end of the season. Overall, Santa Clara went 7-2 against ranked opponents, with three wins over top-five foes: No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Stanford and No. 4 Portland. Should the Broncos and Illinois meet in the NCAA second round, the Fighting Illini are ranked 20th by Soccer America.
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.
MAC Player of the Year Finalists
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.
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 236-60-15 (.783) and earned his 50th WCC victory against Gonzaga in mid-October. Additionally, he has coached Santa Clara to 13 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: Aly Wagner
As a Junior in 2001: Named a Hermann Trophy semifinalist and MAC Player of the Year finalist... also named a preseason All-American... Named the WCC's Player of the Month for September and October... scored first career-hat trick against Florida State... accomplishment earned her WCC Player of the Week honors and elite team status from Soccer America and Soccer Buzz... posted two goals and two assists at San Jose State... scored one goal and assisted on three others in Bronco win against SMU... added a goal against San Diego State to earn the adidas Classic MVP award... successful weekend also led to her second WCC Player of the Week honors and elite team status from Soccer America and Soccer Buzz... powered a free kick with just 7:43 left in the first overtime period to propel the Broncos to a 2-1 win over Stanford... that victory ended Stanford's 13-match win streak at Maloney Field and its undefeated season...attempted a free kick at the 10:01 mark that went just over the cross bar before she connected on the game winner just 3:00 later... added a goal and an assist against Gonzaga... added two goals and an assist in a 3-0 defeat of No. 2 UCLA... netted a free kick in the 89th minute to lead SCU to a 1-0 victory over Saint Mary's, ending the Gaels' undefeated season... added an assist in both Bronco goals against San Diego for the WCC Championship... leads the WCC with 43 points on 13 goals and 17 assists... is ranked sixth nationally in points per game with a 2.75 average... has started 18 of 19 contests and has posted at least one point in 15 of them... has had a hand in more than one score in eight Bronco contests... is now in 15th place on the league's career points list, with 89 in 57 matches... is ninth in Santa Clara's recordbook in points and goals (27), and has vaulted to No. 4 all-time in assists with 37... did not play in regular season finale against Colorado College while resting a sore hip flexor...
Bronco Bios: Danielle Slaton
As a Senior in 2001: Named a Hermann Trophy semifinalist and MAC Player of the Year finalist... also named a preseason All-American... named to the all-adidas Classic team... has started all 19 matches... has one goal and seven assists... scored first goal of the year off a corner kick against second-ranked UCLA in the match's seventh minute... notched two assists in the Broncos' 10-0 defeat of Gonzaga... added two more on senior night against Colorado College... began the season at left back but was moved to the center in late September to secure the defense... has effectively shut down opposing team's attacks... with fellow senior Anna Kraus, anchors a defense that is flanked by two freshman and a freshman goalkeeper... has only allowed three goals all season in the run of play with 11 shutouts... held Colorado College to one shot on goal...
Bronco Bios: Anna Kraus
As a Senior in 2001: Named a preseason All-American... has started all 19 matches... named to Soccer America's and Soccer Buzz's team of the week after holding Portland's Christine Sinclair without a shot and shutting down San Diego's attack... with fellow senior Danielle Slaton, anchors a defense that is flanked by two freshman and a freshman goalkeeper... has only allowed three goals all season in the run of play with 11 shutouts...
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 a game-winner against LMU... added her fifth game-winner of the season against Portland to guarantee a share of the WCC title... has started 18 of 19 contests... sat out against San Diego while nursing some injuries... is third on the team with 23 points on the season with eight goals and seven assists...
Bronco Bios: Devvyn Hawkins
As a Junior in 2001: Named a second team preseason All-American... scored at San Jose State, finishing off a rebound from Ballweg's shot... has started 14 matches and has tallied seven points on three goals and one assist... missed matches against California, Dayton, SMU and San Diego State personal reasons... father had become gravely ill and has since passed away... rejoined the team and has started every match since... registered a goal and an assist in the Broncos' 10-0 victory at Gonzaga... added a game-winning goal in the regular-season finale against Colorado College...
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... added two goals and an assist against Colorado College... is one of two freshmen that has started all 19 contests... is second on the team in points, with 35 on 11 goals and 13 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... scored first close-range goal against Portland in the 10th minute... is one of two freshmen that has started all 19 contests... has two goals and two assists for six points... is part of a defense that has only allowed three goals all season in the run of play with 11 shutouts...
Bronco Bios: Erin Sharpe
As a Junior in 2001: Has started six matches and registered five saves... has allowed only three goals for a 0.53 goals-against average and a 6-0 record... also saw action against Cal Poly, preserving the team's season-opening shut out... sprained left ankle late in the second half against Saint Mary's...