Broncos Athletics

Bronco Upsets: A Year in Review

May 12, 2005

By Jason Cohn, Jeremy Herb
The Santa Clara

Women's soccer once again dominated the West Coast Conference, placing first for the fourth time in a row and landing nine players on all-WCC teams. Despite a difficult NCAA bracket placing, the Broncos battled hard and upset then-No. 1 ranked UNC 1-0 in overtime, advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals where they demolished Illinois 2-0. The road to the College Cup championship ended when the Broncos fell in the semifinal match against Notre Dame 1-0.

With a consistent top 25 national ranking, the men's soccer team set out with a bang, winning their first seven contests and eventually finishing third in the WCC. The team qualified for the NCAA tournament, but suffered a close loss to California 2-1 in overtime Nov. 19, capping off a 15-6-0 season.

In women's volleyball, four of the five freshmen ranked ninth nationally played significant roles on a team that took third in conference. A four-game loss to a non-ranked Kansas ended the Broncos' season in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Out on the path, the men's cross country team finished 19th at the NCAA west regionals and third in the WCC. Junior John Hinman led the Broncos at the west regionals, placing 104 with a time of 33:40 in the 10k race. Head Coach Tom Service will return all 16 runners for next year's season.

On the women's side, lone seniors Katie Hansen and Robin Bell fittingly led the Broncos in their last competition of the season, finishing 117 and 132, respectively, at the NCAA west regionals. With five others rounding out finishes in the top 180, the women Harriers solidified a 25th place finish. The women's team also amassed a fourth place finish in the WCC behind the steady running of Hansen, who also earned an Honorable Mention recognition for her performance.

While the men's water polo team finished eighth place in the Western Water Polo Association, compiling a record of 10-23, the Broncos achieved a national ranking multiple times this season, with the highest at 19. At the WWPA championships, the team dominated University of California at Santa Cruz 9-3 but faced losses to UC Davis, the Air Force and a heartbreaker to Whittier 12-11 in overtime.

Men's basketball dominated headlines this winter after the Broncos upset the eventual national champion North Carolina Tar Heels in a 77-66 victory. Led by the heroics of forward Travis Niesen, Santa Clara handed North Carolina their fifth season opening loss in 73 years. The men's team finished the season with a 15-16 record led by All-WCC first team guard Doron Perkins. Other standout players this season included junior forward Travis Niesen, who averaged 15.1 points per game and 4.5 rebounds, and senior guard Kyle Bailey, who finished second in the WCC in assists per game and recorded 14.8 points per game.

In women's basketball, the lady Broncos finished strong this year with a 17-14 record and the WCC title. The team's 77-66 victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs earned the team a berth into the NCAA tournament as the 15th seed, but were knocked off by second seeded Stanford in the first round. The team also led all division 1 teams in 3-point shots with a WCC record 263 in just 30 games. This effort was led this year by senior guard Quinn Thomas, who put up team high numbers in points per game, rebounds per game and steals.

In just their fifth season in division 1 play, the women's water polo team amassed a 21-16 record in a tough schedule that included 23 games against nationally ranked squads. The ladies topped off their successful season with a fifth place finish at the Western Water Polo Association championships. This effort was led by senior utility Catherine Flynn, who scored 86 goals, including the game-winner in overtime against Cal State San Bernadino.

The Broncos secured the school's first ever Commissioner's Cup this spring season by placing well in almost every sport that counted toward the award.

The Bronco track team completed its first-ever season in 2005, an accomplishment outright for the program. The squad only competed in distance events, as it was made up of runners from the cross-country team who ran track as a means to compete year-round.

With a season hindered by nagging injuries and daunted by a poor conference record, the baseball team is fighting to keep afloat at .500. Now heading into the final stretch, they are only two games away from last place in the WCC West division.

While the baseball season has not been completed yet, the Broncos' new home has. The opening of the Stephen Schott Stadium overshadowed the team's sub-par performance this year. The Broncos' 1,500-seat facility opened April 30 as Santa Clara's baseball-only playing ground.

Santa Clara softball never could rebound from a rough start to their season, as they finished fourth in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference with a 9-11 record and overall at 26-31.

They did have their successful moments during the year, winning seven out of eight games in one stretch and winning four of their final five.

Men's tennis completed its season by placing third at the WCC finals this spring. The team went into the tournament ranked fourth after conference play and their win in the final match over Portland vaulted them ahead.

The team won eight of its final eleven matches heading into the tournament, giving them the momentum to come away with two victories in three matches at the conference finals. The team's only loss was to Portland, who was eventually crowned champion.

Women's tennis finished fifth at their conference finals after losing their opening match against St. Mary's. They recovered to win their next two matches in the consolation bracket, giving them a record of 16-7 for the season. The Broncos' 16 victories were the most since 1996.

Men's golf placed third at the WCC championship, with juniors Michael Nicoletti and Eric Lillibridge both shooting 223, only seven strokes over par for the three-round event.

Women's golf also secured third place at the WCC championship, and sophomore Samantha Trask earned a top ten finish by shooting a 238.