October 10, 2002

Women's Soccer Opens WCC Season on Friday

Oct. 10, 2002

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This Week
Santa Clara returns to Buck Shaw Stadium to begin league play on Friday. The Broncos open the West Coast Conference schedule against San Diego, the squad SCU defeated 2-0 last season to clinch its fourth league championship. The Toreros have not won at Buck Shaw since 1995. The Athletic Department will celebrate "Santa Clara Future Broncos Night" and all young soccer players will get in for $2 by wearing a soccer jersey.

National Team Call Ups
U.S. Women's National Team member Aly Wagner netted one goal and two assists in a 5-1 victory over Russia on Sept. 27. Wagner left the Bronco squad earlier that week to join the National Team as it prepares to qualify for the 2003 Women's World Cup in China by competing in the 2002 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup. The Women's Gold Cup, which also serves as the Regional championship, will be held from Oct. 27-Nov. 9, 2002 at four venues on the west coast of the United States and Canada. Wagner joined the team in Los Angeles last weekend but is expected to return to the National Team by the end of the month, and return to Santa Clara in time for the NCAA Tournament.

Wagner's departure is not the first time the Broncos have lost players due to the National Team. Devvyn Hawkins was called up earlier in the month, but declined. Additionally, Santa Clara began the season without three starters, Jessica Ballweg, Megan Kakadelas and Leslie Osborne, as the trio was leading the United States to its first-ever U19 World Championship.

In the Rankings
Santa Clara move up a couple of spots in all four polls. Soccer Times listed SCU seventh, while Soccer America Magazine, Soccer Buzz Magazine and NSCAA/adidas list SCU eighth, 10th and 11th, respectively. Ten Bronco opponents are ranked and the Broncos have already faced six of those foes in their first 11 games. The team will also take on Portland and Pepperdine.

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 SCU's official athletic website. By logging on, fans 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.

Catching the Broncos on TV
Santa Clara's match against Florida in September was the first of two matches during the regular season that will be broadcast on television. The Broncos will make one more regular season appearance on live TV, as Action Sports Cable Network will air SCU's November 3 contest against West Coast Conference rival and 2001 College Cup participant Portland. The contest against the Gators was shown live on the Sunshine Network.

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.

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 opened 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."

Up Next: Broncos Continue Four-Match Homestand
Santa Clara remains in the friendly confines of Buck Shaw Stadium for three more contests. The Broncos will host San Jose State on Tuesday, Oct. 15. The game has taken on added meaning since the two schools announced a newly-created rivalry series last month. SCU and SJSU will meet in 13 sports this season, with the overall winner of the year-long series claiming bragging rights for the year. The series is still yet to be named and fans can vote for their favorite name for the series by visiting either school's website. Santa Clara will then host Saint Mary's on Friday and San Francisco on Sunday.

Match Tickets On Sale
Individual match tickets for Santa Clara University's nationally recognized soccer teams are on sale through the Department of Athletics' official website www.SantaClaraBroncos.com, and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660, between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In conjunction with its exclusive Internet partner, Official College Sports Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase individual matches via the official athletic website. 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.

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. Fans from as far east as New York, as far north as South Dakota and as far south as Georgia have already placed their orders. Limited quantities available. Available in Youth and Adult sizes. Order today!

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."

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.