June 6, 2002
OAKLAND, Calif. - The national champion Santa Clara University women's soccer team was honored last night at the Oakland As game vs. the Seattle Mariners.
The Broncos, who defeated North Carolina 1-0 in December to take the NCAA title, was represented by Coach of the Year Jerry Smith and Academic All-American midfielder Kerry Cathcart, as the two took their turns on the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
"It was a lot of fun, but the main importance of the night was to just have the team recognized once again for an amazing accomplishment in winning the national championship," Smith said.
Smith said he was not expecting to throw out the first pitch, and was going to allow his two captains, Cathcart and Aly Wagner, share the honors. When Wagner could not attend the game, Smith opened the opportunity to the rest of the team.
"I don't think some of our players had as much confidence as Kerry had, so I said I'd go ahead and do it, despite not having touched a baseball since my freshman year in high school," Smith explained. "All I could think about was not throwing it in the dirt or over the backstop. Although I wouldn't say it had the greatest velocity, it did get there for a strike, so I was pleased about that."
Santa Clara has received numerous accolades since winning the University's first outright NCAA Championship. The Broncos have also been honored by President Bush in a March ceremony at the White House, the Santa Clara and San Jose City Council, and the WUSA San Jose CyberRays.
The Broncos open the 2002 season against Bay Area rival Stanford on Friday, August 31. The match will take place at Buck Shaw Stadium at 7:30 p.m.