Julie Johnston Named WCC Player of the Year, Three Broncos Earn First-Team Honors
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off a share of the West Coast Conference title and a bid to the 24th NCAA Tournament in program history, No. 9 Santa Clara women's soccer was well represented when the conference released the All-WCC teams and individual awards. Julie Johnston was named the Player of the Year while Johnston, Sofia Huerta and Morgan Marlborough were all named All-WCC First Team. Ellie Rice was named All-WCC Second Team while Jordan Jesolva, Julie Vass, Sarah Jackson and Allie Vernon were Honorable Mention. Jesolva and Vass were also named to the All-Freshman Team. Johnston was also named College Sports Madness WCC Player of the Year and was a First Team selection along with Marlborough. Huerta received a Second Team nod.
"It is wonderful having so many of our players recognized and especially with the talent in the conference," said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith. "We are about being a great team and if you have only a couple of people recognized then that is probably a sign that you are not a great team. Whenever you have a number of players recognized it's an indication that you are playing well together as a team. We feel that we have a very talented team, we nominated so many of our players for consideration because we just have so many players deserving of recognition. We are thrilled to have three players on the first team and so many players recognized as well."
Johnston led the WCC in assists with seven and finished third with 12 goals and 31 points. Johnston scored four game-winning goals on the season. This is the eighth WCC Player of the Year for the Broncos and the first since Marian Dalmy in 2006. Her seven assists were the most for a Santa Clara player since Kiki Bosio in 2009.
"I am extremely honored to be named WCC Player of the Year considering the great competition we have," said Johnston. "This one is definitely special because it's my senior year and others were able to see my last run as a college athlete in the WCC. I can't thank my team and coaches enough. We're now focused on the tournament and excited for the opportunity."
"Julie is one of the all-time greatest players we have had in program history and has proven herself at all of the different levels so I think it was appropriate that she was named WCC Player of the Year," said Smith. "Player of the Year is supposed to recognize a very complete player and Julie is someone who helps the team in several different ways, not just in one specific way. Julie is our best defender, best attacker, and best leader so she is that complete player and one that is clearly deserving of the Player of the Year award. Hopefully there will be more awards for her going forward."
Marlborough led the conference with 14 goals and 33 points while adding five assists. Marlborough picked up three hat tricks on the season and had two game-winners. The 14 goals was the highest total for a Bronco since Aly Wagner in 2001 and her 33 points was the most since Wagner's 54 the same year.
Huerta was second in the conference with 13 goals and 32 points while chipping in six assists. She had two game-winning goals. Huerta finished the season on a high note with a hat trick at Gonzaga.
Rice helped anchor the Broncos defense while adding one goal and three assists. Her one goal was a game-winner vs. San Francisco.
Vernon was a fixture on Santa Clara's back line. She scored one goal, a game-winner, and added one assist while starting every game.
Jackson took on a starting role midway through the season and became an important piece of the Bronco attack. She scored three goals and four assists for 10 points.
Jesolva scored five goals and added two assists as a true freshman. She played all 19 games for the Broncos and scored one game-winning goal.
Vass solidified the midfield for Santa Clara and had three assists. She played in all 19 games for the Broncos while grabbing hold of a starting role early in the season.