No. 13 Broncos Prep For Showdown With No. 1 Stanford

The team celebrates a goal by Anessa Patton (Don Jedlovec Photo)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 13 Santa Clara women's soccer team (7-2-2) will play its next-to-last non-conference match of the season this Sunday, taking on a top-ranked Stanford team that has yet to lose a game this year (8-0-2). 

Fifteen miles is all that separates the two women's soccer national powers, which will meet for the 38th time in history this weekend.  The heated local rivalry has been ongoing since the Bronco varsity women's soccer program was created in 1980.  Since then, the two teams have played each other every single year in the regular season.  Santa Clara owns the all-time series advantage at 18-12-7 as well as the regular season series advantage at 13-10-7.  The teams have met seven times in NCAA Tournament play and the Broncos enjoy a 5-2 record in postseason meetings.

In more recent history, the last time Santa Clara beat Stanford was in 2006, when it won 2-0.  The two teams tied, 0-0, in 2007.  Should the Broncos defeat the Cardinal, who is enjoying its first No. 1-ranking of the season after North Carolina fell from the top with a loss to Boston College last week, the result would potentially vault Santa Clara back into the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com top-10 and shake-up the entire top of the order.

The match will be the final non-conference game before the West Coast Conference slate begins for the Broncos. It will be a tough test for Santa Clara as it will have to find a way to contain the newly-appointed top team in the country and the nation's leading scorer, Christen Press, without one of its key defenders, junior Jenny LaPonte, who suffered an injury during the Oregon game and will be unavailable to play this weekend.

The Broncos have received scoring from nine different players this season, led by senior Anessa Patton's three tallies.  Santa Clara has also benefited from the play of its rookies, who have contributed on six of the Broncos' 13 goals.  Junior Margueritte Aozasa, formerly a midfielder, has found a new home alongside senior Lindsey Johnson in the center back,  anchoring a stingy Santa Clara defense that has been statistically ranked (by goals-against-average) 27th in the country. In net, junior goalkeeper Bianca Henninger has been solid in supporting her team, playing every single minute this season while gathering four shutouts and sporting a 0.61 GAA along the way. 

Stanford features a potent offense that at the moment is ranked fifth in the country.  Press' 13 goals and 30 points are tops on the team.  The Cardinal defense has allowed eight goals this season, one more than the Bronco defense.  In net, senior Kira Maker and freshman Emily Olivier have been splitting duties.  Olivier has one shutout and touts a 0.42 GAA.

The annual matchup is easily one of the most exciting and competitive games on the schedule each year for Santa Clara, due to the strong attendance of Bay Area soccer fans and the electric atmosphere they create.  Sunday's match, which will be held on Stanford's campus, is expected to be a near sell-out.  Fans are encouraged to secure their tickets prior to match day to guarantee entry and avoid long waits at the ticket windows close to game time. All seats are general admission and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Prices are $7 for adults and $4 for youths and seniors. To purchase tickets, call 1-800-STANFORD, or follow the ticket links on gostanford.com.

GAME SCHEDULE:

Sunday
1 p.m. PT — at No. 1 Stanford

LIVE COVERAGE: Live stats via CBS College Sports Gametracker can be found on the Santa Clara or Stanford women's soccer schedule webpage. 

NOTES:
**Jerry Smith is in his 24th season as SCU head coach (363-111-38)
**Goalkeeper Bianca Henninger (4 shutouts, 0.61 GAA) is a candidate for the 2010 MAC Hermann Trophy
**As a team, Santa Clara is currently ranked 27th in goals-against-average (0.61) in the NCAA
**The Broncos have played or are scheduled to play eight teams currently ranked in the NSCAA Top 25
**SCU returned six players named to the WCC's 2009 all-conference teams
**Allie Vernon, Kendra Perry, Lindsey Johnson and Bianca Henninger have been named team co-captains
**Henninger and Vernon were named to the 2010 WCC Preseason All-Conference team
**Bronco greats Brandi Chastain and Aly Wagner have been added to the coaching staff for 2010

HENNINGER ADDED TO MAC HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST: Santa Clara University junior goalkeeper Bianca Henninger has been named to the 2010 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Women's Hermann Trophy Watch List, as announced by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Henninger is one of just five goalkeepers among the 45 players selected for the award's preseason watch list. The honor is considered the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer. The recipients are selected by NCAA Division I coaches who are members of the NSCAA.

FANTASTIC FRESHMEN:  Six of Santa Clara's 13 goals this season have been a direct result of the contribution from this year's rookies.  Julie Johnston has one goal and three assists, while Sarah Jackson scored the game-tying goal against San Jose State and assisted on the game-winner against Oregon.  Five freshmen have started games this season and two others have seen significant time on the field.

MILLER TIME:  Junior Bridgett Miller scored her first career goal as a Bronco on Sunday, Sept. 19, lifting Santa Clara to a 1-0 win over Utah.

AOZASA A TWO-WAY PLAYER:   Junior Margueritte Aozasa, who has been stellar in the back for Santa Clara, asserted herself as a two-way player by scoring both of the Broncos' goals against Oregon on corner kicks.

DOIN' THE MATH:  Sophomore Lauren Matheson has figured in four of Santa Clara's 11 goals, scoring two of them and providing a helper twice.

INSIDE THE TOP 10: Santa Clara entered the 2010 season ranked ninth in the nation according to the preseason poll released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).  This week the Broncos were pushed out of the top-10 to No. 13 after suffering a 1-0 defeat to then-ranked No. 15 UCLA.

2010 NSCAA TOP 10 (SEPT. 28, 2010)
1. Stanford*
2. Boston College
3. North Carolina
4. Portland*
5. Notre Dame*
6. Florida
7. Maryland
8. Oklahoma State
9. Virginia
10. Texas A&M
*Santa Clara opponents in 2010

SCU HEAD COACH JERRY SMITH: SCU Head Coach Jerry Smith enters his 24th season at the helm of the Santa Clara women's soccer program in 2010. Although he is most known for the development of his players and teams, Smith also produces success and is the winningest women's soccer coach in Santa Clara history, having compiled a record of 363-111-38 (.746) – in fact Smith ranks among the top-5 winningest coaches in NCAA Division I history. Since taking over the head coaching duties at Santa Clara in the spring of 1987, Smith has built the Bronco soccer program into a national power. For 19 consecutive seasons, his Broncos reached the NCAA Tournament prior to 2008 and have consistently ranked among the top 10 teams in the country. He has taken the Broncos to 10 College Cup Final Fours and a national championship in 2001. In addition, his Bronco teams have won nine West Coast Conference titles.

QUOTABLE: "It is going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, and trust in each other and the coaches," said Anessa Patton about what it will take to be successful in 2010. "We are capable of it though … we have to make sure that we are all on the same page. That means that our veterans and returners are going to have to reach out, that much more, to welcome the 12 freshmen that we have coming in."

30th ANNIVERSARY DINNER AND PROGRAM: Join current players, coaches, and alumni for this special anniversary of the SCU Women's Soccer program. Friday, October 08, 2010 at 7:00 PM. CLICK HERE to register.

2010 WCC PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. #4 Portland - 49 (7)
2. #8 Santa Clara - 41.5 (1)
3. #14 San Diego - 38.5
4. Pepperdine – 27
5. Loyola Marymount – 26
6. Saint Mary's – 19
7. Gonzaga – 12
8. San Francisco - 11
(First place votes - rankings by NSCAA)

2010 WCC PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE
Kendra Chandhoke, Portland
Danielle Foxhoven, Portland
Julie Gallaudet, Loyola Marymount
Bianca Henniger, Santa Clara
Sheridan Jones, Gonzaga
Stephanie Ochs, San Diego
Sophie Schmidt, Portland
Michelle Spacciapolli, Pepperdine
Allie Vernon, Santa Clara
Keelin Winters, Portland
Jackie Zinke, San Diego

BRONCOS ADVANCE INTO NCAA'S THIRD ROUND: After an early-season 2-0 win vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, the Bronco women, who finished the 2009 season ranked No. 10, were awarded for their fantastic play by once again playing in the NCAA College Cup tournament. They beat Michigan State and Oklahoma State at home in the first two rounds. Both games ended in penalty kicks. They ended their season with a battle at No. 1 Stanford, losing 1-0 to the eventual national runner-ups.

FIVE BRONCOS TAKEN IN 2010 WPS DRAFT: Five SCU women's soccer players (four from the Broncos' 2009 roster) were selected in the 2010 Women's Professional Soccer league (WPS) Draft. Jordan Angeli (Boston Breakers – 16th overall), Kiki Bosio (Los Angeles Sol – 22nd overall), Amanda Poach (St. Louis Athletica – 28th overall), Katherine Reynolds (Boston Breakers - #34 overall) and Meagan Snell (Sky Blue FC – 44th overall).