Santa Clara is catching up with many of the women celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics. Today we look back with former Bronco women's soccer play Maureen Lee '88 (Russick). Lee played from 1984-87, including Jerry Smith's first season as head coach in 1987.
SCU: This year Santa Clara is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics at SCU. What does that mean to you? What does it mean to you to have played in the first 50 years?
ML: I'm truly proud to be an SCU Bronco student-athlete. As I enroll my sons in college, I realize now what a gift it was to have 24 immediate friends/teammates on campus. They were there to help guide me through those first intimidating months of being on your own trying to navigate college-level competition, school life and academics. The people I met through those four years on the women's soccer team are some of the closest friends I still have today.
SCU: Do you have special memories of Santa Clara you would like to share with us? A couple as an athlete or a student?
ML: My most memorable times at Santa Clara involved the women's soccer team. In this community is where I was most accepted, most challenged, most at ease and most proud of the accomplishments. There were times we were on top of the world, and times we were pushed to the edge, times were there were communication break-downs and times we defied all odds.
SCU: What was it like for you to play at Santa Clara?
ML: I knew from the start that this was a special team. We had little resources, but great depth, strength and character. Our success and rankings had yet to be seen before 1984-87 seasons, and we were the "trail blazers" that helped put Santa Clara women's soccer on the map (with little to no budget). I'm truly proud as well as truly blessed to have had all those memories.
SCU: What was special about being a college student-athlete as a woman?
ML: Back 29 years ago as a freshman (when I started), women's athletics was just starting to gain notoriety and even though we were a DI program we had very few special privileges, traveling exceptions, financial assistance and were treated like a club sport. It is so gratifying to see that women's athletics at Santa Clara has embraced the success and have given the women a much more well-rounded support system, and I'm so grateful that they have all the benefits of men's sports.
SCU: What do you see in the future for college athletics?
ML: My hope is that supporters see that women's sports prepare women better for life outside college and I hope they continue to evolve and thrive.
Maureen and her two sons
Maureen (left) at Grand Reunion with Brigette Foehr and Kate Crowell
Maureen as a Bronco!