SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara (3-0-2) enters the week ranked No. 17 in the country after tying both Oregon State and Oregon in the University of Oregon Tournament last weekend.
This week the Broncos will take on UC Irvine (5-0-0) in the Stanford Nike Tournament as well as face defending-national champion Notre Dame (3-2-0) to open the 2011 home portion of its schedule.
Santa Clara's last meeting with UC Irvine came in 1993 and resulted in a 5-0 Bronco victory. Santa Clara is 10-0-0 in the program's history against the Anteaters. The Broncos have played Notre Dame 16 times in the regular season. The last meeting was a 1-0 Irish victory in the 2010 Notre Dame Tournament. In 2009 the two teams met at Buck Shaw Stadium as part of the Santa Clara Classic and the Broncos came away with a 2-0 victory.
The Bronco's matchup with UC Irvine is on Fri., Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. at the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. On Sun., Sept. 11 the Broncos will play Notre Dame at Buck Shaw Stadium at 11:30 a.m. as part of a doubleheader with men's soccer.
**Jerry Smith is in his 25th season as SCU head coach (372-116-40)
**Santa Clara is 206-34-20 all-time at Buck Shaw Stadium
**Santa Clara is 10-0-0 all-time against UC Irvine
**The Broncos are 6-10-0 all-time versus Notre Dame
**Sana Clara is 7-11 all-time against defending national champions
**The last time Santa Clara was unbeaten through its first five games of the season was in 2007 when they started 7-0-1
**Goalkeeper Bianca Henninger has been added to the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List
**Hennigner has also been nominated 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
UC IRVINE: The Anteaters enter their match with Santa Clara ranked No. 11 in the country. They are coming off a 2-1 home win against Hawaii.
Irvine's is lead by Natalia Ledezma who has four goals and one assist for a total of nine points. Lexi Kopf has scored three goals and is second on the team with six points. Goalkeeper Jennifer Randazzo has collected 20 saves and only allowed a 0.59 GAA in the team's first five games.
NOTRE DAME: After starting the season ranked No. 1 in the country, the Irish dropped two games in a row to North Carolina and Duke by scores of 2-1 and 3-1, respectively. Last weekend, however, Notre Dame got back to its winning ways with a 7-1 victory over Tulsa and a 4-1 win over Indiana. Both victories were at Notre Dame. The two wins put the Irish at No. 8 in the country.
Melissa Henderson leads an impressive offensive charge with 13 points. She has scored five goals and added three assists. Adriana Leon has three goals and one assist for a total of nine points while Mandy Laddish has one goal and four assists to round out the top three points leaders for the Irish.
DEFENDING CHAMPS: Santa Clara has played the defending national champion of a total of 18 times, collecting seven wins. The last time the Broncos played the champs was in 2008 when they lost at USC 2-1. The last time Santa Clara hosted the previous year's College Cup winner was in 2006 when they beat Portland 3-2. In 2003 the Broncos beat Portland, the 2002 champions, two times with one victory coming in the NCAA Tournament. That season Santa Clara made it to the College Cup.
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.
ONE IS NOT ENOUGH: In the Broncos first three games of the 2011 season one of their players scored two goals.
In the season opening game Ellie Rice scored both goals in the Broncos' 2-1 victory over San Jose State. The following week Lauren Matheson netted two goals in Santa Clara's 2-1 victory over UC Santa Barbara. A few days later Julie Johnston accomplished the feat with two goals of her own in a 3-0 win at Cal Poly.
HENNINGER UP FOR MAJOR AWARDS: Preparing for what will be a stellar season, senior goalkeeper Bianca Henninger has been named to the M.A.C. Hermann 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 2010 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.
SISTER SISTER: The 2011 Broncos feature a set of sisters in sophomore midfielder Ellie Rice and freshman forward Brooke Rice. The Rice sisters grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyo. and both played club soccer for the Utah Avalanche. They have a third sister, Nicole, who currently plays soccer at the University of Wyoming.
"It's like having your best friend around all the time," said Brooke on what it's like to be on the same team as her sister. "There is someone on the field who can criticize you and knows your game so well that they can help you all the time."
If the season-opener is an indication of what the Rice girls do when they are on the same team then Bronco fans are in for a treat. Ellie scored both goals in the Broncos' 2-1 victory over cross-town rival San Jose State on Aug. 19. Rice's performance landed her on TopDrawerSoccer.com's Women's College Team of the Week for the week of Aug. 16.
NATIONALLY RANKED: After two weeks of play, Santa Clara is ranked 17th in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
2011 NSCAA TOP 20 (As of Sept. 6, 2011)
1. North Carolina
4. Oklahoma State
5. Florida State
8. Notre Dame*
11. UC Irvine*
15. Boston College
17. Santa Clara
18. Wake Forest
*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
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.