Nov. 2, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Coming off of Sunday's 4-0 rout of Loyola Marymount, the Santa Clara women's soccer team is already showing signs of being primed and ready for another deep NCAA Tournament run. First, though, the fifth-ranked Broncos bring their streaking offense and impenetrable defense to Malibu to wrap up the 2005 regular season with a Saturday afternoon contest with the no. 17 Pepperdine Waves.
Saturday's match should shape up to be a fine tune-up for the Broncos (14-3-2, 4-1-1 WCC) in preparation for the postseason. The 17th-ranked Waves (12-3-3, 2-2-2 WCC) have played in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four years and, like the Broncos, are expected to be in the mix again this season.
"It's always nice to have tight games at the end of the season because that's what you're going to get in the NCAA Tournament," Head coach Jerry Smith commented about facing the Waves. "[Saturday] will just give us one more opportunity to see how our team performs in a tough environment, in a tight match before we get into the tournament where we're sure to see that."
Santa Clara showed plenty of signs of being prepared for the rigors of the tournament last Sunday as they broke out from the opening whistle and controlled the match against the Lions. Tina Estrada had a career day as she netted two goals and assisted on the Broncos' two others, a performance that earned her WCC Player of the Week honors and spots on the National Teams of the Week of soccer publications Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer Buzz.
Defensively the Bronco back line, led by central defenders Lauren Zealear and Danielle Potts, clamped down on LMU and posted their 11th shutout of the season and fifth in West Coast Conference play. Goalkeeper Julie Ryder posted a save to collect her eighth shutout of 2005 as the Lions only managed four shots in the whole match.
The back line will get another opportunity to show its might as Pepperdine boasts two of the WCC's leading goal-scorers in Megan Woods (10 goals, 29 points) and Lindsey Redlin (11, 27). The Waves defense is also a factor to be considered, paced by keeper Anna Picarelli who has posted five shutouts and earned 11 of the 12 Waves victories this season.
"Our back line particularly would like a shot at a game where [our opponents] have top scorers on their front line," Smith noted about the Broncos preparation for Saturday's match. "It sure would be nice to continue to build confidence as we go into the tournament, as confidence plays a major factor in those NCAA playoff games."
Saturday's match is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff from Tari Frahm Rokus Field in Malibu.