Aug. 5, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's soccer team's returning players reported to campus earlier this week to begin preparations for the 2004 season. The Broncos' first official training session began on Monday. Five incoming freshmen will join the squad Monday, August 9. "It will be great to see all the players in the same room for the first time," head coach Jerry Smith said. "We're very excited about the opportunities that will be presented to us this season." The team will conduct two practices on Friday, Saturday and Monday at Stanton Field, at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday's training is scheduled for 11 a.m. and Tuesday's is at 9:30 a.m. Each session will run approximately 90 minutes. On Wednesday, the team will depart for Costa Rica, and take a nine-day preseason experience abroad. It marks the first such trip in program history, and the benefits are many, according to Smith. "In past years, we've played Notre Dame and Stanford early in the season, right after they've taken a foreign trip, and to see how far ahead they were in their season's progression makes me very excited about how much further ahead we could be as well," he added. "We are able to bring in our players a little early, train them and play them against international competition. It provides a good opportunity to really get ourselves ready for the NCAA Championship. I'm excited about that." The team will split its time between the capital city of San Jose and San Carlos and play three games against professional teams. Team activities include white water rafting, a boat trip to Isla Tortuga and a canopy zip-line tour through the rain forest. Upon the team's return on the 19th, the Broncos will practice once daily leading up to the season opener. Santa Clara returns a core of experienced returnees to the 2004 team, led by seven seniors: All-American and 2003 WCC Player of the Year Leslie Osborne, All-WCC forwards Megan Kakadelas and Bree Horvath, defenders Jessica Ballweg, Lana Bowen and Monika Sola, and goalkeeper Alyssa Sobolik. Santa Clara will aim for its 10th overall appearance in the College Cup this season, but the first challenge is its 20-match schedule, that features 10 programs that advanced to last year's NCAA Championship, including three of the top eight seeds. The 2004 season kicks off in 22 days, at Cal Poly at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 27. Last season, the Mustangs were undefeated and ranked 25th when the Broncos earned a 2-0 home victory. Santa Clara is 11-0-2 against Cal Poly in the all-time series between the schools.