August 19, 2002

Women's Soccer Opens Title Defense against Bay Area Rival Stanford

Aug. 19, 2002

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Season Opener
Fresh of the 2001 Championship, the 2002 Santa Clara University women's soccer squad will begin its title defense next weekend. The quest to reach a 14th straight NCAA Tournament begins August 30, when Bay Area rival and fifth-ranked Stanford visits Buck Shaw Stadium. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. with kick off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Season Opener Celebrates Santa Clara Community Day
The season home opener against Stanford is also "Santa Clara Community Day." The evening, sponsored by Bank of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and Convention-Visitors Bureau, will offer tickets to Santa Clara residents for half price, only $3.50 with a valid proof of residency, whether that be in the form of a driver's license or utility bill. In addition to watching some of the top collegiate soccer in the country, there will also feature a pregame community fair and fan festival featuring local businesses and community organizations, the ceremonial raising of the 2001 NCAA Championship banner, and a post-match autograph session for all fans with the Bronco women's soccer team.

Sophomore Trio to Miss Opener while with U.S. U19 Team
Returning starters Jessica Ballweg and Leslie Osborne, along with transfer Megan Kakadelas, will miss the preseason and first two matches while competing with the U.S. Under-19 National Team. The sophomore trio will be competing at the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship, taking place in Canada from Aug. 17-Sept. 1. In preparation for the World Championship, the U.S. U19s played 37 official matches over the past two years, including 17 full internationals. The USA went 15-1-1 in those matches, outscoring their opponents 93-18.

Broncos Picked to Win WCC in Preseason Poll
Santa Clara was a unanimous choice by the other seven league coaches to repeat as West Coast Conference champions, according a preseason poll the conference office announced July 30.

Portland, picked second in the preseason poll, returns nine of 11 starters from last year's College Cup team, led by all-America forward Christine Sinclair. Saint Mary's enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2001, finishing with a No. 17 national ranking. Rounding out the top four is Pepperdine. The Waves earned their first-ever national ranking and NCAA tournament appearance in 2001. Another of the WCC's five 2001 NCAA participants was San Diego, selected fifth in the WCC preseason poll. Loyola Marymount, San Francisco, and Gonzaga round out this year's poll.

Last season, Santa Clara returned to the top of the league leaderboard with its fourth WCC Championship in five years, and fifth overall. Santa Clara's other titles came in 1993, '97, '98 and '99.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's entire home schedule returns to the Internet, as a live audio broadcast will be available for a second season on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, Buck Shaw contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on Santa Clara's official athletic website. By logging on, fans will 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. Ram Fletcher returns as the voice of the Broncos with SCU men's soccer alumni Mark Wojciechowski adding color commentary.

Broncos Gain Transfer in USC's Kakadelas
During the summer, Santa Clara added transfer Megan Kakadelas to this year's roster. The 5-9 forward, who was the Pacific-10's Freshman of the Year in 2001 while playing for USC, will be eligible to compete immediately. As a freshman for the Women of Troy, Kakadelas started in 16 of 18 matches and scored three goals on the season, including two game-winners. She posted the game-winner in an Oct. 14 contest against Arizona and added a long goal in a 1-0 victory on Nov. 2 against Washington State. She recorded her first collegiate goal on Sept. 9 vs. fourth-ranked Nebraska.

"Megan is a terrific forward but it will take a little while for to assimilate into what we're doing due to her time away from us while with the U.S. U19 team," head coach Jerry Smith said. "I have every confidence that during the season, she will establish herself as one of the most dangerous attacking players on our team."

Kakadelas prepped at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, Calif., and led her team to two CIF Division I Championships while earning all-America honors. She spent eight years playing with the San Diego Surf Club, winning seven state and one national title, and was named the club's MVP during its national championship season in 2000. She has played in nine full international matches and helped the U.S. capture a berth in the World Championship earlier this spring with five goals in four contests.

Kakadelas will have a chance to play against her former team when the Broncos visit USC for a Sunday afternoon contest on Oct. 6.

The Schedule
The Broncos' schedule features 12 opponents that participated in last year's NCAA Tournament, including two of the four 2001 College Cup participants. Additionally, the schedule opens with five of the first six matches against teams that participated in last year's postseason, highlighted by a September 20 showdown with 2001 semifinalist Florida, a team that Santa Clara knocked out of the postseason in overtime last December. Four West Coast Conference teams also made the big dance, and a November 3 contest against semifinalist Portland will highlight league play. With the NCAA title currently in the Broncos' hands, head coach Jerry Smith acknowledges that every time Santa Clara steps on the field this season, their opponent will be playing the national champions, bringing even more determination from an opponent in trying to knock the Broncos from the top.

"We will not understand what we will face in that respect until midway through the season," Smith conceded. "But it's going to be great because we're going to get everybody's best game and that's really going to expose all the weaknesses in our game and give us an opportunity to address those before we get to the playoffs."

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.

Bronco Offense Looks to Repeat as Best in the Nation
In 2001, Santa Clara ranked first in the nation in total offense, averaging 3.2 goals per game with 80 goals in 25 matches. In addition to returning national assist leader Aly Wagner-who averaged 0.83 per game while adding 17 goals to her totals-the Broncos have added to the front line with a sophomore transfer from USC and incoming freshmen.

"I feel good about our ability to score goals," head coach Jerry Smith said during the preseason. "We have an amazing attacking team; there are so many weapons. If we have everybody there for a game, we have a more dangerous attacking team than we had even last year."

In the Rankings
Santa Clara opens the 2002 season ranked first according a preseason poll by Soccer Buzz Magazine. North Carolina, Portland, Virginia and Stanford round out the top five. Five other Bronco opponents also ranked in the top 25, led by Notre Dame at 7th, followed by UCLA and Saint Mary's at 11th and 13th. Santa Clara will also face No. 29 Florida and No. 20 Pepperdine.

Soccer Times, Soccer America and the NSCAA/adidas preseason polls will be released later in the week.

The Broncos at Buck Shaw Stadium
Santa Clara posted a 140-20-9 record at the 6,800-seat Buck Shaw Stadium over the last 15 seasons, including an 11-0-0 record in 1999. Over the last six seasons, the Broncos are 64-6-3 (.897) at Buck Shaw.

Up Next: KeyBank/Notre Dame adidas Classic
The Broncos will continue the regular season and start a six-match road trip in South Bend, Ind., for the KeyBank/Notre Dame adidas Classic. SCU will open the tournament against host Notre Dame while taking on 2001 NCAA Tournament participant Clemson in the Sunday morning match. The Broncos are 2-2 at the KeyBank Classic, but lost to the Irish during their last visit to South Bend, a 2-1overtime loss in the 2000 NCAA Quarterfinals.

Wagner #7 Replica Jersey T-Shirts On Sale
Exclusive Offer! Get your replica jersey/t-shirt of national player of the year Aly Wagner. This item will only be available at Buck Shaw Stadium and online at Santa ClaraBroncos.com this fall! Limited quantities available. Available in Youth and Adult sizes. Order today!

Freshman Faces
Jerry Smith announced the signing of three players to National Letters of Intent on Feb. 6. Joining the Bronco Class of 2006 is Bonnie Bowman of San Carlos, Carrie Schuler of Northridge, and Micaela Esquivel of Albuquerque, N.M. Bowman is a 5-9 defender from Notre Dame High School. She will redshirt her freshman season after tearing her ACL in May. Like Bowman, Schuler is a defender, but slightly smaller at 5-5. Out of Louisville High School, Schuler led her prep team to the 2001 CIF Division IV Championship. A member of New Mexico's Olympic Development Team for the past four years, Esquivel is a 5-5 midfielder from Albuquerque Academy. She led her prep team to the state championship, leading the squad in goals in assists, including seven scores in the state tournament.

Additionally, the Broncos welcome five other newcomers: freshmen Kelly Giddings and Anna Thorburn, juniors Megan Kakadelas and Tracy Hess, and senior Cara Hanelin.

New Coaching Staff
Jerry Smith will lead his 2002 squad with three new assistants, as Mike Smith joins the Broncos from the Oregon Youth Soccer Association as SCU's first assistant. The athletic department created a new full-time second assistant position and brought in Erin Hussey from Northwestern, while former San Jose CyberRay Janine Szpara will join the staff as the goalkeeper coach.

Head Coach Jerry Smith
The number 13 has become a lucky number head coach Jerry Smith (CS Hayward '86), who won his first NCAA College Cup National Championship in his 13th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The 15-year year coach earned his sixth WCC Coach of the Year honor when he was named this year's co-recipient with Saint Mary's Paul Ratcliffe. Smith has compiled an overall record of 242-60-15 (.787) and earned his 50th WCC victory against Gonzaga in mid-October. Additionally, he has coached Santa Clara to 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and eight College Cups. The winningest coach in the program's history, Smith is fourth 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 16 All-Americans, 11 U.S. National Team Players, eight Academic All-Americans and five WCC Freshmen of the Year, including 2001 selection Veronica Zepeda. He coached 1999 National Player of the Year Mandy Clemens.

Final Thoughts
"One of the secrets to our success is continual improvement through the season," head coach Jerry Smith said. "There are some things in place that might indicate that we'll have a slow start to our season, but I'm confident because of the approach we've taken with our team in terms of improvement over winning in the first half of the season, at some point we're going to get to a point where we're one of the top teams in the country and put ourselves in a position to go to the NCAA Tournament, to win some games and return to the final four. While we've never gone after the championship at the risk of not improving as a team, having had a taste of that this past year, it certainly is something we hope to be able to accomplish this upcoming season."