Santa Clara To Play Long Beach State In NCAA Tournament First Round

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

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 14 Santa Clara women's soccer team received an at-large bid into the 2010 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament, as announced Monday by the tournament selection committee.  The Broncos will play Big West-champion Long Beach State at Stanford University's Laird Q. Cagan Stadium on Fri., Nov. 12 at 4:30 p.m. The winner will play the winner of the No. 1 Stanford-Sacramento State match (7 p.m. on Friday) at 1 p.m. on Sun., Nov. 14.

This is the 21st time the Broncos, who finished second in the West Coast Conference and posted an overall record of 12-6-2 (4-3-0 WCC) this season, have qualified for the NCAA Tournament.  Long Beach State won the Big West Conference tournament to advance to the NCAA's and is 14-5-2 overall.

"This is the very first time we've played Long Beach State and honestly this will be the first time I've ever seen them play as well," said head coach Jerry Smith.  "I know they are a good team – we know their coaching staff really well because we share a lot of scouting information with each other.  They are a fantastic opponent for us."

Santa Clara's selection into the tournament was boosted by its 28th winning season in program history.  The Broncos beat top-25 teams Georgetown and BYU and picked up ties against two other top-25 teams California and Georgia.  Santa Clara also played evenly contested matches with two top-5 teams, Notre Dame and Portland, but ultimately fell by one goal.

Smith said his team divides the season into three parts: non-conference play, conference play and then the NCAA Tournament.  "We felt good about our non-conference play and we started conference play 4-0, but unfortunately ended the season having lost our last three games in the WCC, including two at home so we are looking forward to getting back on the winning track with the start of the next part of our season.  We need to play hard and I expect it will be a tough game against Long Beach State."

"Because this game will be played so close to our own home field, we want to make this more of a home game for us and we hope a number of our fans will come out to see us play Long Beach State at Stanford.  The next few days we will work hard on the field and off the field to find out as much as possible about Long Beach State."

Only four NCAA D-I programs (North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and William & Mary) have more NCAA Tournament appearances than the Broncos. Santa Clara won the national championship in 2001, finished runner-up in 2002, and have been to an NCAA third-best 10 College Cups and 14 NCAA Quarterfinals (including 11 straight quarterfinal appearances from 1995-2005).

The Broncos are 41-19-2 (.677) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, which qualifies for the seventh-best winning percentage in tournament history and have finished in third place eight times in addition to their national championship and runner-up years.