Dec. 6, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Although the action on the field for the 2005 women's soccer season is in the books, the honors and accolades continue to roll in for the nation's top players and coaches. Santa Clara earned one such postseason honor today as head coach Jerry Smith was named West Region Coach of the Year by his peers, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced.
Returning a 2005 Santa Clara squad that had graduated three of its top four scorers from the previous season and had only one senior in the Opening Day starting lineup, Smith, assisted by Erin Chastain, Curtis McAlister, Albertin Montoya and undergraduate assistant Leslie Osborne, guided the Broncos to a 17-5-2 record. After plowing through another challenging schedule which featured matches against 11 teams that would go on to make the NCAA Tournament, Smith's Broncos advanced to the program's 11th-straight appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals, continuing the team's streak as the only school to reach the quarterfinals in each of the last 11 seasons.
Smith has also led the Broncos to 10 College Cups, the second-most of any school in the nation. In addition, he guided the Broncos to the 2001 National Championship and since then a 21-4 mark in the NCAA Tournament, the best winning percentage (.840) of any team in that five-year span.
He reached another milestone on September 23 of this year, as Santa Clara's 2-1 win over Saint Louis gave Smith his 300th career victory, allowing him to become the third Division I coach to reach the 300-win plateau. Over his 19 seasons at the Mission Campus, Smith holds a career mark of 311-79-26 (.779).
"This award is a credit really to how coachable and hard-working our kids are and how trusting they are in their coaches."
-Head coach Jerry Smith
"Any time you win a coach of the year award, whether it's for your conference, your region or a national award, without question a lot of credit will go to your assistant coaches," Smith noted on his reaction after hearing the news of his selection. "The approach we take in our program is that those coaches have a lot of say in how we train, what we train on and individual things within our team. Every decision we make going into matches is a group effort.
"Of course, the other thing that you think of is that you never win a coach of the year award at any level without a great team," continued Smith. "It's a credit really to how coachable and hard-working our kids are and how trusting they are in their coaches. I think credit gets spread in many different areas for this coach of the year award."
One of Smith's most notable coaching decisions this season came in the preseason when he switched sophomore Jordan Angeli from her usual defender's spot to forward. Angeli responded with a tremendous season, scoring a team-leading 12 goals and 29 points, including a two-goal performance in a 2-1 victory over then-No. 1 Notre Dame on September 9.
Fellow front-liners Tina Estrada (11 goals, 27 points), Meagan Snell (five goals, 16 points) and Elyse Shelger (three goals, nine points) provided additional firepower on the attack. Ten different Broncos scored a goal in 2005, demonstrating the teamwork and versatility that have long been trademarks of Smith's teams at Santa Clara.
Nine Broncos were honored following the regular season with All-West Coast Conference team selections. Juniors Marian Dalmy and Tina Estrada earned first-team recognition, juniors Lauren Zealear, Julie Ryder, Tiffany Roberts and sophomore Jordan Angeli earned second-team honors, senior Micaela Esquivel was named honorable mention, and first-year players Amanda Poach and Danielle Potts were named to the WCC's All-Freshman team.
Poach and Potts were among five freshmen who saw regular action in the starting lineup. Courtney Lewis was an Opening Day starter on the backline before a knee injury forced her to miss the rest of the season in mid-September, midfielder Hayley Siegel scored three goals and had 10 points on the season and goalkeeper Meagan McCray saw action in seven matches, notching two shutouts and a 0.55 goals-against average.
The NSCAA will announce its National Coach of the Year, for which Smith is one of six nominees, one they have received all votes from NSCAA members. A date and time for the announcement has not yet been set.