No. 13 SCU Begins WCC Play Against San Diego

(Don Jedlovec Photo)

The No. 13 Santa Clara women's soccer team (7-3-2) will try to get back on the winning track this weekend as it opens West Coast Conference play at home against San Diego on Sunday at 1 p.m.  The Broncos will be looking to settle a score with the Toreros, who took a 1-0 win last year in San Diego in the 2009 WCC opener.

Santa Clara was picked second overall in the 2010 WCC preseason poll, with the Toreros following in a close third.  Over the last few years, the annual match between the two teams has been tightly contested.  San Diego has had the upper hand on Santa Clara as of late, with the last Bronco victory over the Toreros coming in 2006, but in the last three games against San Diego only one goal has been the difference.   The Toreros, who have flirted with NSCAA top-25 rankings over the past decade, have seen a surge of improvement in their program during that time.   Of the six series wins they have over Santa Clara, four have occurred since the 2000 season.   

The Broncos are currently in the midst of building their 23rd winning season in 24 years under head coach Jerry Smith's direction.   Santa Clara was sporting a .800 winning percentage on the season before falling to two Pac-10 opponents (1-0 at No. 15 UCLA on 9/26, 2-0 at No. 1 Stanford on 10/3) in its last two games and dropping to .667, but it has had only had one losing WCC season since 1992.

Senior Anessa Patton leads the Bronco offense with three goals.  Santa Clara as a whole has scored 13 goals this year.  The Bronco defense has been stingy with opponents all season, only allowing nine total goals; less than a goal a game.  A big reason for the team's 0.72 GAA is the stellar play of junior goalkeeper and WCC Preseason All-Conference selection, Bianca Henninger.  Henninger has made 48 saves on 57 shots on goal and touts a .842 save percentage after having faced six NSCAA/Hendrickcars.com top-25 teams, including the nation's best team that featured the country's top goal-scorer.  The San Jose, Calif. native has four shutouts on the year.

The defense will have to be on-point again on Sunday in order to contain WCC Preseason All-Conference selection Stephanie Ochs.  Ochs has five goals and two assists and leads the Toreros in points (12) and shots (42).  Also a preseason all-conference pick, Jackie Zinke has one goal and two assists and is second on the team in shots (26).  Six other players on the San Diego roster have registered at least two points.  Goalkeeper Courtney Parsons has started all 12 games for the Toreros and has five shutouts and a 0.67 GAA.

Tickets for the game on Sunday are available before the day of the game at the Leavey Center ticket window, online at http://www.santaclarabroncos.com/tickets, or by calling 408-554-4660. General admission is $8, while tickets are $5 for youths and seniors.  SCU Rough Riders get in free with membership.

GAME SCHEDULE:

Sunday
1 p.m. PT — vs. San Diego

LIVE COVERAGE: Live stats via Presto Sports Primetime and a live webcast can be found on the Santa Clara women's soccer schedule webpage or by clicking here.

NOTES:
**The Broncos are 12-6-0 all-time vs. the Toreros
**Jerry Smith is in his 24th season as SCU head coach (363-112-38)
**Goalkeeper Bianca Henninger (4 shutouts, 0.72 GAA) is a candidate for the 2010 MAC Hermann Trophy
**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

ALUMNI EVENTS ON TAP THIS WEEKEND
The celebration of the 30th anniversary of varsity women's soccer at Santa Clara will be in full swing this weekend, with alumni activities planned Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
On Friday evening, current players, coaches, and alumni will gather 6 p.m. for a celebratory dinner. Saturday afternoon's festivities include alumni games and a kids' clinic on Stanton Field.  At 7 p.m. Saturday night, a gathering will be held at Mondo Burrito, followed by a short walk to The Hut for a toast to the program.  On Sunday, all alumni will be recognized on the field at halftime of the game against San Diego.

VERNON AND LAPONTE OUT FOR SEASON
2010 WCC Preseason All-Conference selection Allie Vernon, who has yet to see any action in her sophomore year, will use her redshirt option this season in order to have more time to properly recover from an injury.  In other injury news, junior Jenny LaPonte will miss the rest of the season after a colliding with a Duck defender early in the match against Oregon.

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 remained just out of the top-10 at No. 13.

2010 NSCAA TOP 10 (OCT. 5, 2010)
1. Stanford*
2. Portland*
3. North Carolina
4. Boston College
5. Notre Dame*
6. Florida
7. Oklahoma State
8. Maryland
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 363-112-38 (.745) – 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."

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 TO 2009 NCAA 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).  Poach was released prior to the beginning of the WPS season, allowing her to return to the Broncos for a sixth year of eligibility.