February 11, 2004

Women's Soccer Season Recap

Feb. 11, 2004

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A Run Through the Quarterfinals
Santa Clara advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the ninth straight year and finished a succesful season ranked third in the country with a 14-4-6 record. Santa Clara fell to eventual champion and top-seeded North Carolina. Santa Clara advanced through the tournament with wins over ranked opponents Stanford (1-0) and Arizona State (1-0), and a third round shoot-out against defending College Cup Champions, and West Coast Conference rivals, Portland (0-0, 4-2 PKs).

The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions and 2002 College Cup finalists, were the tournament's ninth overall seed and were making their15th straight NCAA postseason appearance. SCU received the WCC's automatic berth into the Tournament after winning its third straight league championship on November 8. The Broncos have advanced to the College Cup on nine occasions.

Leslie Osborne was named an All-American and the WCC Player of the Year.


Playing the Best
Santa Clara prepares itself for the postseason by annually playing one of the toughest regular-season schedules in the country. This year was no exception. The Broncos' 20-match schedule featured 11 programs that advanced to the 2003 NCAA Championship, including five of the top eight seeds. Additionally, there were 11 ranked teams on the schedule, with eight of the top 25 playing at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara completed its third season of live Internet audio broadcasts for its entire home schedule. Additionally, Buck Shaw contests were followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on SCU's official athletic website. By logging on, fans received 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 and SCU men's soccer alumni Mark Wojciechowski were the voices of the Broncos.

Osborne Joins 100-Point Club
Junior Leslie Osborne is steadily climbing both the Santa Clara and West Coast Conference recordbooks. The midfielder from Menomonee Falls, Wis., became only the eighth Bronco--and 14th WCC player--to notch 100 points with her first-half score against Portland during the regular season. In SCU record books, that tally moved her into the top eight in goals, at 35, while she is also ranked ninth in assists (33). In the league listings, Osborne is 11th in career assists and 13th in career goals and points.

Zepeda a Semifinalist for M.A.C. Hermann Trophy
Veronica Zepeda was named a semifinalist for the 2003 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top players in NCAA Division I soccer. The Riverside, Calif., native was a preseason All-America candidate, and opened the season against third-ranked UCLA with a goal. Injuries slowed her season down, and she finished with 12 points (3 goals, 6 assists).

In the Rankings
Santa Clara opened and closed the 2003 season ranked in the top five in all four polls. After falling out of two polls September 29, Santa Clara finished in the top 10 for the 15th consecutive season. Soccer America and Soccer Times have listed the Broncos in the top 25 every week, while the Soccer Buzz and NSCAA/adidas polls had SCU out of the top 25, but returned the Broncos the following week. The omission from Soccer Buzz was a first for the Broncos since the poll started August 26, 1996. Until that week, SCU and North Carolina were the only programs ranked in every poll since its inception. Nevertheless, the Broncos still received votes and continue to be among five schools (UNC, UConn, Penn State and Texas A&M) that have received votes in every national poll.

Osborne Makes First Start for Full National Team
Leslie Osborne started the 2004 calendar year with a roster position on the full National Team. She traveled with the U.S. squad to China to compete at the Four Nations Tournament. Osborne saw action in all three games and earned her first career start against Canada on Feb. 3. The midfielder has been a member of the U19 national Team and helped the United States capture a berth in the first-ever FIFA U19 World Championship as a starter at the 2002 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament.

Ryder Named to U-19 National Team Roster
Julie Ryder was named one of 26 players to the Under-19 National Team that trained at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from Dec. 27 through Jan. 2. Head coach Tracey Leone used the post-Christmas training camp as a kick off to the 2004 season, with the team's main focus on the CONCACAF U-19 Women's Qualifying Tournament, which will be held in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, from May 28-June 6. The top two finishers at that tournament qualify for the second FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship, to be held in Thailand from November 10-27. Ryder is one of 12 college freshmen on the team.

Among the Nation's Leaders
Santa Clara ranked 27th in scoring offense, averaging 2.29 points per game, 53rd in goals-against average, at 0.937, and 55th in shut out percentage (0.42). Individually, Julie Ryder ranked 12th in goals-against average (0.574), one of three freshmen in the top 12.

Spreading the Offense
Twelve different Broncos scored goals this season, with nine team members notching at least three goals apiece. Leslie Osborne led the squad with 11, followed by Tina Estrada's seven, and Tracy Hess and Marian Dalmy's six. Accounting for assists, there were seven Broncos with at least 12 points on the season, led again, by Osborne's 28.

Buck Shaw Stadium
Santa Clara has posted a 161-23-11 record at the 6,800-seat Buck Shaw Stadium over the last 17 seasons, including a 26-0 streak during the 1998 and '99 seasons. Over the last five seasons, the Broncos are 50-7-2 (.864) at Buck Shaw.

In the WCC Statistics
Santa Clara leads the league in goals (55) and corner kicks (133) and goals-against average (0.94), while ranking second in shots (342), points (153), and assists (43). Individually, Leslie Osborne is ranked third in goals (11), points (28) and shots (54), and sixth in assists (6). Tina Estrada is ranked seventh in shots (47), eighth in points (18) and goals (7). Marian Dalmy and Tracy Hess are tied for ninth in goals (6), while Veronica Zepeda is sixth (6) and Kakadelas 10th (5) in assists. Julie Ryder leads the league in goals-against average (.57) and is third in shut outs per game (0.53).

Going the (PK) Distance
The Broncos' NCAA Third round match against Portland is believed to be the program's first match decided by PKs since 1990, when SCU fell to Connecticut 2-1 in the NCAA semifinals. Head coach Jerry Smith added that this is his first PK victory-as a player or a coach-in the approximately 15 shoot-out matches he has been a part of.

Julie Ryder was also named an All-American.


Overtime Experience
Santa Clara has played six matches to the distance: double overtime. In fact, three of Santa Clara's first six matches went extra frames. With the Broncos' draw against CS Fullerton to end non-conference play, the program has played four overtime games in three of the last four seasons. The record for SCU is five overtime games, played during the 1995 campaign. That being said, this season marks the first the Broncos have played six double overtime contests. Santa Clara's double overtime victory against Portland to close the home season marked the first win in six tries for the Broncos in extra frames, as the other contests resulted in ties.

Broncos Net Two Hat Tricks This Season
Bronco juniors Bree Horvath and Leslie Osborne each netted a hat trick for Santa Clara this past season. They were each the first in the respective careers of the star student-athletes. Horvath and Osborne are only the 13th and 14th players in program history to record such a milestone, which respectively marks the 20th and 21st hat tricks in SCU women's soccer.

Horvath accomplished her feat as she led the Broncos to a 9-1 victory at San Jose State, scoring all three goals in the match's first 29 minutes. Osborne accomplished her feat against Pepperdine, netting two penalty kicks and scoring in the run of play in the 5-0 victory. She netted the game-winner in the first half, and scored right again in the 54th minute. Her final goal came on another penalty kick, this time in the 75th minute.

Rare Back-to-Back Losses
Santa Clara's loss to 23rd-ranked USC, in combination with the Broncos' loss to second-ranked Notre Dame the previous weekend, marked the first set of back-to-back losses for Santa Clara in 78 matches. The last time SCU lost consecutive contests was early in the 2000 season, to Washington and Notre Dame. With a win over Cal Poly on Sunday, the Broncos avoided three straight losses, a feat that hasn't happened in the program since 1994.

Post Season Honors
Many Broncos received postseason accolades. Leslie Osborne and Julie Ryder were named All-Americans by Soccer Buzz and CSTV, while Jessica Ballweg and Lauren Zealear join Osborne and Ryder as Soccer Buzz All-West Region honorees. Soccer Buzz also named five Broncos to its All-Freshman West Region Team: Ryder, Zealear, Marian Dalmy, Tina Estrada and Tiffany Roberts.

Kakadelas Earns All-Academic Honors
Megan Kakadelas was named to the CoSIDA District VIII All-Academic First Team. She balanced a 3.64 grade-point average in accounting while being a significant contributor on the field, posting four goals and five assists for 13 points this past season.

"At Santa Clara, we don't take the term 'student-athlete' lightly," head coach Jerry Smith said. "We talk to the team all the time about balance and for one of our players to be recognized for her academics, while at the same time helping our team continue to be one of the top programs in the country is a wonderful example that we hope all of our players will be striving toward."

To be eligible for consideration, student-athletes must have reached at least sophomore status, be a starter or significant reserve, and have at least a 3.20 GPA. District VIII is composed of Division I schools in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia.

Fab Freshman Class
Santa Clara recruited the top class in the country, according to Soccer Buzz and Soccer America magazines. It marked the first time since 1998 that the Broncos have been honored with the top listing by Soccer Buzz. The class included Marian Dalmy, Tina Estrada, Tiffany Roberts, Julie Ryder, Elyse Shelger and Lauren Zealear. The group made an immediate impact for the Broncos, as five were regular starters. The class combined for 19 of the team's 55 goals, while also taking responsibility for 11 assists, six shut outs and 52 saves.