Feb. 15, 2002
Click here to listen to Athletic Director Cheryl Levick's suprise announcement.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University women's soccer standout Aly Wagner was named Player of the Year by her teammates at the squad's annual banquet, held this evening at the Pat Malley Center on campus.
More than 250 fans took part in the celebratory evening that honored the school's first-ever NCAA title in a women's sport. The evening began with a reception and autograph session and was followed by a dinner and program. During the program, Director of Athletics Cheryl Levick surprised the entire room by announcing that the team has been invited to the White House. The team is one of six collegiate national championship teams invited by President George W. Bush as part of Champions Day on Tuesday, March 12. The team will receive a private tour of the White House and a reception in the Rose Garden.
"It's important to remember that a championship is won by the team on the field, but it belongs to all the coaches and staff who supported the team off the field," Levick concluded. "To the parents in the room, thanks for raising talented young women and for sharing them with us, to the fans, thank you for being at all the matches, and to the President and Provost, thank you for the internal support to soccer on this campus."
"This is a speech I've been looking forward to for a lot of years," head coach Jerry Smith quipped. "In the past, we have been the best team in the country. Finally, this past season, we were able to combine being the best team in the country with also being the national champions. When you look at 300 teams starting the season all trying to do that, you have to just stand back and appreciate the awesome-ness of accomplishing a task like that: to be the best of the best."
Wagner's honor topped the list of team awards that were handed out. The squad also voted Wagner as the team's Offensive MVP, while Danielle Slaton was honored with the Defensive MVP and the Most Inspirational Player awards. Leslie Osborne received Rookie of the Year recognition while Lana Bowen was named Most Improved Player. Chardonnay Poole received the Coaches Award.
Individual honors were also celebrated, including awards from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the College Cup and the West Coast Conference, among many others. Additionally, the 2001 senior class- Ynez Carrasco, Kerry Cathcart, Anna Kraus, Katie Sheppard and Slaton-were honored.
A highlight film chronicling the team's 23-2 season and 1-0 shutout of North Carolina in the national title game on Dec. 9 in Dallas, Texas, was also shown.
Please revisit www.SantaClaraBroncos.com soon to view a photo gallery of tonight's banquet.