Nov. 14, 2001
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Santa Clara University head coach Jerry Smith was named to his sixth West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honor, the league announced today. Additionally, junior midfielder Aly Wagner was named the fifth straight Bronco to garner WCC Player of the Year accolades while senior Danielle Slaton was named the conference's Defender of the Year.
Smith shares this year's honors with Saint Mary's Paul Ratcliffe. Smith has also earned the recognition in 1993, '95, '97, '98 and '99.
Wagner becomes this fifth straight Bronco to earn Player of the Year honors. She follows last year's selection in Heather Aldama and 1997-99 recipient Mandy Clemens. Slaton becomes the first SCU player to earn Defender of the Year honors.
In addition to Wagner and Slaton, freshman forward Leslie Osborne and sophomore midfielder Veronica Zepeda earned first-team honors while second-team recognition went to junior midfielder Devvyn Hawkins and senior defender Anna Kraus. Honorable mention honors were received by senior midfielder Kerry Cathcart, freshman defender Jessica Ballweg and freshman forward Bree Horvath.
Santa Clara will face Evansville in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Women's Soccer Championships. The Broncos, who have reached the semifinals seven times-including four of the last five-are the tournament's second overall seed, but will travel to Champaign, Ill., for the first and second rounds. The Broncos will face the Purple Aces at the Soccer and Track Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday. Host Illinois will face Syracuse in the other game at 5 p.m. The winners will face each other on Sunday at noon.
The Broncos, ranked second in the country with a 17-2 record, will be making its 13th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received an automatic berth in the 2001 Tournament after winning the West Coast Conference Championship on November 4. Evansville is 16-6-1 on the season and earned a berth into the tournament by winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. The Purple Aces are led by senior forward Jessica Schwartz, who has 20 points on the season with eight goals.