May 29, 2003
By Brian Betz
The Santa Clara
It's that time of year again, kids. The best of the best. The creme de la creme. That's right - with the final issue of the year comes the prestigious TiSCy awards, where Santa Clara's very best athletes (and team) are honored for their achievements one last time. So let's get to it.
Aly Wagner - Women's soccer
After being edged out by teammate Danielle Slaton last year, Wagner was a unanimous choice for female athlete of the year. In 18 starts in the midfield for the Broncos, she scored nine goals and added nine assists in leading the women's soccer team to a repeat National Championship berth. She missed time playing for the USA National Team, but still garnered her third first team All-WCC selection. Wagner was also the first overall pick in the WUSA draft in February.
Scott Dierks - Baseball
What can you say, this guy's name appeared more often in the sports section this spring season than the words "Santa Clara" did. Alright, maybe not, but with the ability to hit for both power and average at the leadoff spot, there's little wonder why he was the unanimous winner for this award. Dierks finished the year leading the WCC in batting average (.394), slugging percentage (.794), homeruns (18), and was second in on-base percentage (.485). After the team finished second in the Coast Division, Dierks shared WCC Player of the Year honors with Pepperdine's Kevin Estrada.
Team of the Year - Women's soccer
For the second straight season, the women's soccer team takes home the hardware as the year's best squad. After a second place finish in the WCC behind Pepperdine, the women benefited from playing the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos went on to defeat Creighton, Arizona State, Nebraska, Michigan and North Carolina before losing 2-1 to WCC rival Portland in the title game. Head Coach Jerry Smith loses just four seniors and welcomes the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, as ranked by Soccer America. Honorable mention - Softball.
Freshman of the Year - Brandon Rohe, men's basketball
After a season-ending injury to starting point guard Kyle Bailey, Rohe stepped in as the floor general for men's basketball team, averaging nine points while surpassing Steve Nash's record for three-point field goals made. He was one of three Broncos to appear in all 28 games, scoring in double-figures 13 times. Honorable mention - Jason Matteucci (baseball).
Coach of the Year - Jon Wallace, women's volleyball
After leading the volleyball program to a best ever No. 11 national ranking and a fifth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Wallace wins in the closest TiSCy race this year. In four seasons, Wallace has taken the program to national recognition, and is the fastest WCC coach to win 35 matches in history. Honorable mention - Jerry Smith (women's soccer), Mark O'Brien (baseball), Marcy Crouch (softball).
Breakthrough Athlete of the Year - Jaime Forman-Lau, softball
The junior ace burst onto the PCSC scene after sitting out the entire 2002 as a transfer from Stanford, earning seven PCSC Player of the Week awards as well as PCSC Pitcher of the Year honors. She finished the year with a 21-13 record, 9-4 in conference play, including a no-hitter against Saint Mary's and a perfect game against San Diego. In addition, she struck out 112 batters in 94 innings of PCSC action. Honorable mention - Ethan Rohde (men's basketball), Scott Dierks (baseball), Becky Biniek (women's volleyball).
Clutch Performance of the Year - Kayla Huss' three-pointer against Gonzaga, women's basketball
With the season on the line in the WCC Tournament semi-finals, the Bulldogs hit two free throws with five seconds left to extend their lead to 52-49. On the Broncos' ensuing possession, facing full-court pressure, sophomore point guard Kayla Huss went down the court and sunk a three-pointer falling out of bounds to send the game into overtime. The Broncos would go on to win after Gonzaga missed two shots as time expired, and advance to the WCC Championship game against Pepperdine. Honorable mention - Jaime Forman-Lau's perfect game.
Game of the Year - Women's soccer 2-1 win over North Carolina
With redemption on the Tar Heels' mind after the 2001 National Championship, the Broncos again defeated UNC, expect this time in the national semi-final. Two goals by Veronica Zepeda in the ninth and 72nd minutes put Santa Clara up 2-0, before the Tar Heels struck back in the 79th minute. The women would hold on for the win, however, marking the first time any team had defeated North Carolina on three straight occasions. Honorable mention - Women's soccer 1-0 WCC win at Portland.