February 18, 2002
What a magical night!
On Friday evening, February 15 the Santa Clara family pulled together for one of the most special events we will ever host - a celebration of our 2001 NCAA women's soccer championship!
Approximately 250 players, families, coaches, administrators and supporters gathered together on the floor of the Malley Center for a first-class dinner and to pay one final tribute to a special team.
We finally had the opportunity to show each and every player how much we appreciate the effort they put into helping thrust Santa Clara University into the national spotlight. As speakers spoke and players laughed and cried, it reminded us all of how incredible our soccer season actually was.
It was a season of firsts. The first ever national title for a women's sport at Santa Clara. The first time a Bronco squad defeated 10 top-10 opponents in a single season. The first time the Broncos were able to advance to the championship game after seven previous trips to the College Cup.
And now, we can add another first to that list. The first-ever trip for a Santa Clara sports team to visit the White House and meet the President of the United States.
When we all watched the highlight video from this past season, it was with mixed emotions. Certainly there was a great deal of joy and excitement when we relived the winning goals and the passion and excitement of capturing the championship.
But, there is a certain amount of sadness involved as well. We will miss the five seniors who have meant so much to this program in Ynez Carrasco, Kerry Cathcart, Anna Kraus, Katie Sheppard and our Olympian and All-American, Danielle Slaton.
This group will go down in history as the leaders of the team that won the first-ever women's soccer national title at Santa Clara University.
It was incredible to watch Jerry Smith hand out the team awards and realize just how world-class these players are. Aly Wagner, the team's Offensive MVP, has been named the national player of the year. Slaton, the team's Defensive MVP and Most Inspirational, was the first pick in the recent WUSA draft. Leslie Osborne, the team's Rookie of the Year, never once played like a rookie. Lana Bowen, the team's Most Improved Player, was a bright spot in an incredible freshman class. And, Chardonnay Poole, the recipient of the Coaches Award, is one of the most dependable players you will ever find.
What makes these awards even more special is that they are voted on by the players. The coaches, the fans and the media all have their choices. But, it's a vote of their peers that will make these honors a lasting memory.
It was a fitting end to a magical season.
Now, let's go win another one!