Bronco Athletics Year in Review
By Blake Twisselman, Grant Hughes and Aaron Juarez
Staff Writers, The Santa Clara
June 4, 2003
FALLFor the second straight year, the highlight of the 2002 fall season was the women's soccer team. They finished with a 20-5-1 record on the way to their second straight appearance in the National Championship game. Leslie Osborne led the team in points, Kristi Candau led the team in goals, and Megan Kakadelas led the team in assists. Senior Aly Wagner scored 27 points in only 18 games played, and won the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is given to the top Division I player in the country. Wagner and teammate Devvyn Hawkins were the first and third players selected in this year's WUSA draft.
Meanwhile, the men's soccer team finished with a 10-6-1 record. The squad thrived despite numerous injuries, and Ryan Cochrane and Steve Cronin missed much of the season to train for the U-20 National Team. Jamil Walker and Cochrane were named to the WCC first team, Audren Cashman was named to the second team, and Kellen Gilmore, Jason Cunliffe, and Jeff Scott all received honorable mention. Walker led the team in goals and points, and was later drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer after the season. The team finished the year on a positive note, with a 3-0 victory against No. 10 Loyola Marymount in the last game of the season.
The women's cross-country team continued their improvement with another successful season. They finished second place in the West Coast Conference, which marked the second best team conference finish in school history. The Broncos finished 15th out of 35 schools in the 6k Western Regional Finals at Stanford Golf Course. All-WCC first team runner Kim Bates and WCC honorable mention runners Robin Bell and Courtney Daniels led the team throughout 2002. Bates placed second in the West Coast Conference championships and was named the WCC October Athlete of the Month.
The men's cross-country team finished second in the conference for the third consecutive season. Thomas Chapman, Michael Helms, Benjamin Gauen and John Hinman were all named to the WCC first team, and Dominic Ricci and Ricky Brackett were named to the honorable mention team. Helms had the highest individual finish of the season, placing second at the Bronco Invitational. He was named the WCC September Athlete of the Month. In addition, the team recorded the highest GPA for all Santa Clara athletic teams.
The men's water polo team finished 10-26 under first-year coach Keith Wilbur. The Broncos played 28 of their 36 matches against nationally ranked teams. They were 4-0 in overtime games, including a four overtime win against Whittier and a four overtime win against Claremont. The team had no seniors, so they'll return everyone next season.
The Santa Clara Broncos men's basketball team started the season red hot, giving fans hope for a possible run through the WCC tournament and a date to the Big Dance in March.
Jumping out to a 10-4 start that included a win over eventual conference tournament champ San Diego, the Broncos looked poised to surprise the WCC.
As the in-conference schedule continued the Broncos' lack of a go-to scorer became increasingly apparent after All-WCC guard Kyle Bailey was forced to redshirt due to injury, missing all but six games.
Led by seniors Brad and Cord Anderson and junior Jim Howell, Santa Clara played tough, but finished the season at 13-15, 4-11 in WCC play. Former walk-on Ethan Rohde and freshman Travis Niesen shared the team's Nick Vanos Award for Most Improved Player while Howell garnered Team MVP and Most Inspirational honors.
Women's hoops fell just short of winning the WCC crown this season, dropping a 69-57 decision to Pepperdine on March 9. Fresno State proved to be the Broncos' nemesis, beating them once in December and again in the first round of the NIT Tournament.
Senior All-WCC forward Kendra Rhea earned team MVP honors, finishing the season ranked fourth in the WCC in rebounds (7.8), sixth in assists (3.29), 12th in blocked shots (0.71) and 25th in scoring (8.5). Sophomore guard Kayla Huss garnered Most Improved honors for the Broncos, ranking 10th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage and providing stellar leadership at point guard. Huss battled through a back injury to earn WCC Championship All-Tournament team honors as well. The Broncos finished the season at 20-11, 9-5 in the WCC.
Men's tennis tallied a 9-15 mark in a 2003 season that saw Bronco record books re-written.
Senior co-captain Michael Bruggeman broke the Bronco team record for doubles victories when he and junior Erich Chen notched a win over Gonzaga's Bryce Cooper and Drew Ernstdt on April 12.
Senior Federico Mattioli moved into fourth place on the Broncos' all-time list with his 60th singles victory. Chen went 19-17 as the No. 1 singles player in 2003 and will need only six more victories next season to set the Bronco all-time record.
In women's tennis, senior Christine Limbers was named the West Coast Conference's Player of the Year and also earned team MVP honors in 2003. Finishing her career in third place on Santa Clara's all-time singles victory list, Limbers also leaves having accumulated the most doubles victories in Bronco history. Santa Clara finished the season tied for its highest ever conference finish, third, compiling an even 10-10 record.
The spring sports season never gave fans a dull moment. Milestones were reached, records were set or tied, and history was made.
Freshman closer Patrick Overholt tied the single-season Santa Clara baseball team record for saves with 10.
Senior pitcher Jaime Forman-Lau tossed the first perfect game in Santa Clara softball history.
Men's crew varsity and junior varsity eight conquered the Pac-10 Conference Championships.
And senior Kelley Mays led the women's water polo team to victory over Cal State Northridge, the program's first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent.
Coming off of a 25-30 record and second-place finish in the Coast Division last season, the baseball squad looked to continue its remarkable turnaround in manager Mark O'Brien's second season.
Led by the offensive flurries of WCC Co-Player of the Year Scott Dierks and the stellar pitching of senior Joe Diefenderfer and Overholt, the Broncos finished with an overall record of 31-26, their best mark since 1997. Their 21-9 record in WCC play placed them second once again, two games behind Pepperdine.
Softball set a record for most wins in a season, finishing 30-25 overall, 12-6 in PCSC play, which was good for second place.
Forman-Lau was named to the conference first-team, while senior Tracie Hall and sophomore Vanessa Werner earned second-team nods. Fourth-year head coach Marcy Crouch was also named PCSC Coach of the Year.
Meanwhile, in the waters of Lake Natoma, the men's varsity and junior varsity eight stormed to victory in the Petite Finals of the Pac-10 Conference Championships.
In WCC Championship competition, All-WCC selection Amanda Kremer led the women's crew team to a third-place finish.
The men's junior varsity eight placed first at the WCC Championship, while the varsity eight finished third.
Led by second-team conference selections freshman Michael Nicoletti and sophomore Matt Klenz, the men's golf team finished third at the WCC Championships.
At the U.S. Intercollegiate Golf Tournament, juniors Justin Ahasic and Chris DeMartini paced the Broncos to a 16th-place finish.
The women's golf team, led by sophomores Courtney Dimpel-Composti and Jessica Lamberty, placed fifth at the WCC Championships.
In the pool, the women's water polo squad closed the season at 18-20, earning fifth place in the Women's Western Water Polo Association Championships. History was also made this season as Kelley Mays netted three goals to lead the Broncos to a 7-5 victory over 20th-ranked CS-Northridge.