SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara, ranked No. 15 in the nation, opens the 2011 season at San Jose State this Friday, Aug. 19. Kick off is set for 7 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.
The 15th-ranked Broncos are firmly established as one of the NCAA's top soccer programs, having made 10 College Cup Final Four appearances under the guidance of head coach Jerry Smith, in his 25th year at the helm of Santa Clara. The 2011 team returns seven starters from last year's team that advanced into the second round of the NCAA tournament.
"We are looking forward to the next phase of our 2011 season," said Smith, who won a National Championship at Santa Clara in 2001. "Preseason has gone well for us and we're anxious to play our first match of the year this Friday at San Jose State. We look at the season as a process and try to stay focused on the day-to-day improvement necessary for us to become a great team by the end of the season. This approach has helped us reach 10 Final Fours and we hope to make it to our 11th at the end of this 2011 season."
The season opener is sure to present a challenge right away for Santa Clara as San Jose State is coming off back-to-back WAC regular season championships and a 12-7-2 record in 2010. Santa Clara was 13-7-2 overall, with a 4-3 record in WCC play in 2010.
**Jerry Smith is in his 25th season as SCU head coach (369-116-38)
**The Broncos have won six straight season-openers and are 6-0-2 in their last eight
**Under Smith the Broncos are 16-3-4 during the month of August
**SCU has never lost to San Jose State (15-0)
**The Broncos defeated San Diego State 1-0 in last year's season-opener
**SCU beat San Jose State 2-1 at Buck Shaw in the second game of 2010
**SJSU finished 12-7-2 in 2010, going 5-2-1 against the WAC en route to claiming the league's regular season title
**Goalkeeper Bianca Henninger is a candidate for the 2011 Lowe's Senior Class Award
**The Broncos are scheduled to play five teams ranked in the NSCAA Top 25
**SCU returns six players named to the WCC's 2010 all-conference teams
**Bianca Henninger and Marguerritte Aozasa have been named team co-captains
SCU-SJSU ALL-TIME SERIES: Santa Clara's all-time loss column against San Jose State remains blank, as the Broncos have yet to drop a cross-town rivalry match. The Broncos' 15-0-0 record when facing the Spartans is highlighted by Santa Clara's dominance on the offensive end. In 15 all-time matches, the Broncos have outscored San Jose State by an overarching total of 61-8. Santa Clara's largest victories came in the form of an 8-0 shutout in 2001 and a 9-1 blowout two years later. Last season, the Spartans managed to stay within striking distance, but Santa Clara still exited the pitch with a 2-1 victory.
SCU HEAD COACH JERRY SMITH: SCU Head Coach Jerry Smith enters his 25th season at the helm of the Santa Clara women's soccer program in 2011. Although he is most known for the development of his players and teams, Smith also produces success and is easily the winningest women's soccer coach in Santa Clara history, having compiled a record of 369-116-38 (.705). 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.
FRESHMAN REPEAT: For the second year in a row the Broncos will have the defending WCC Freshman of the Year on their team. Julie Johnston won the award in 2010, starting 16 games and totaling 1,519 minutes. She led the team with five assists and added two goals to total nine points. Allie Vernon was named co-Freshman of the Year in 2009 as she helped the Broncos advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
HENNINGER UP FOR MAJOR AWARDS: Preparing for what will be a stellar season, senior goalkeeper Bianca Henninger has been named to the MAC Herman Trophy Watch List as well as nominated for the Lowe's Senior Class Award.
Henninger has a 3.4 GPA as an accounting major and was named to the 2011 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Second Team. Henninger has also been selected to the WCC All-Academic Team twice and the WCC Commissioner's List three times. She has also worked extensively with BAWSI whose goal is to get elementary school girls outside and moving. She was part of the BAWSI Sportspalooza in Spring 2011.
On the field Henninger was named the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 2010 and was a 2010 All-America selection. In addition to being All-WCC in 2010 she was named to the preseason All-WCC team in 2011. In 2010 she collected eight shutouts with a 0.63 GAA and led the WCC with 90 saves and a .865 save percentage.
NATIONALLY RANKED: Santa Clara will enter the 2011 season ranked 15th in the nation according to the preseason poll released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
2011 NSCAA PRESEASON TOP 15
1. Notre Dame*
3. North Carolina
4. Boston College
5. Florida State
8. Ohio State
11. Texas A&M
13. West Virginia
14. Oklahoma State
15. Santa Clara
*Santa Clara opponents in 2011
2011 WCC PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Portland - 61 (6)
2. Santa Clara - 53 (2)
2. BYU - 53 (1)
4. San Diego - 47
5. LMU - 33
6. Pepperdine - 31
7. Saint Mary's - 20
8. Gonzaga - 13
8. San Francisco - 13
(First place votes - rankings by NSCAA)
2011 WCC PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE
Cloee Colohan, Portland
Danielle Foxhoven, Portland
Natalie Garcia, San Diego
Bianca Henninger, Santa Clara
Kendall Johnson, Portland
Julie Johnston, Santa Clara
Olivia Klei, Santa Clara
Jordan Marada, Saint Mary's
Tawni Martino, LMU
Stephanie Ochs, San Diego
Michelle Pao, Pepperdine
Carlee Payne, BYU
QUOTABLE: "Spring season was really about preparing ourselves mentally and physically for the fall season," said team co-captain Marguerritte Aozasa. "A lot of it was focusing on team building and setting a good foundation for this season."
BRONCOS WELCOME TOP FIVE RECRUITING CLASS: The Santa Clara women's soccer recruiting class of 2015 was recognized as the fourth-best nationally, according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. By welcoming in nine freshmen the returning players and coaches know that it will take a total team effort to make the new players feel at home. "We're excited about the challenge of coming together as a new team," said Smith. "That's what preseason is about: working together and coming together. We know that if we put in the work and find a way to come together, we will enjoy a wonderful payoff at the end of the season." The class features both attacking players who will help with the loss of three starting forwards and players who can excel at several different positions.
BRONCOS ADVANCE INTO NCAA'S SECOND ROUND: After beating defending Mountain West Conference champion San Diego State 1-0 and defending WAC champion San Jose State 2-1 to open the 2010 the Bronco women, who finished the 2010 season ranked No. 19, were awarded for their fantastic season by once again playing in the NCAA College Cup tournament. They beat Long Beach State by a score of 1-0 in the first round but fell to Stanford for the second straight year. Stanford went on to the championship game but ended up losing for the second consecutive year.