November 12, 2002

Women's Soccer Hosts NCAA First, Second Rounds

Nov. 12, 2002

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This Week
Santa Clara University will face Creighton in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Women's Soccer Championships, the NCAA Selection Committee announced Monday afternoon. The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions, are the tournament's sixth overall seed, and will host the first and second rounds of the 21st NCAA Championship at Buck Shaw Stadium this Friday and Sunday.

The Broncos will face the Bluejays at Buck Shaw Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday. Pacific-10 schools Arizona State and Washington State will face each other in the other game at 5 p.m. The winners will face each other on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Broncos, ranked fourth in the country with a 15-4-1 record, will be making its 14th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received an at-large berth in the 2002 Tournament after earning a share of the West Coast Conference Championship on November 9. Pepperdine, by virtue of a tiebreaker, earned the league's automatic bid. The Broncos have advanced to the College Cup on eight occasions.

On the Opponents
Creighton is 12-7-2 on the season and earned a berth into the tournament by winning the Missouri Valley Conference postseason tournament. The Sun Devils (11-6-2) and Cougars (11-6-2) were at-large bids. Arizona State is ranked 25th by Soccer America magazine while Washington State is ranked 24th by Soccer Buzz.

The Rest of the Field
Of the 64 teams selected, 12 are from the West Coast. Along with Santa Clara, California and Stanford were the other Bay Area teams selected. Additionally, West Coast Conference opponents Portland, Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Pepperdine were placed in the draw. SCU went 6-4 against the tournament field during the regular season. Stanford is the tournament's top seed, followed by North Carolina, Pepperdine, Connecticut, West Virginia, the Broncos, UCLA and Portland.

Advancing Through the Championship
The third round will be held November 22-24 and the quarterfinals will be played November 29-December 1. The 2002 Women's College Cup will be held December 6 and 8 at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus the University of Texas at Austin.

More on the NCAA Tournament
North Carolina has captured the title 16 times, but in the 2001 championship game, it was Santa Clara who defeated the Tar Heels 1-0 for the Broncos' first National Championship. All-America midfielder Aly Wagner scored the game-winning goal and returns to the team after spending much of the regular season competing with the U.S. National Team.

This is the second year of the NCAA Championship's 64-team field. Four seasons ago, the women's bracket was increased from 32 to 48 teams. In the championship, 29 conferences were awarded automatic berths with 35 teams receiving at-large selections.

Leading the West Coast
Santa Clara is the only team west of the Mississippi to have won an NCAA Women's Soccer Championship, achieving the feat in 2001. North Carolina has won 16 of the previous 20 championships, with George Mason, Notre Dame and Florida as the only other schools to capture the College Cup.

Match Tickets On Sale
Individual match tickets for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are on sale through the Department of Athletics' official website www.SantaClaraBroncos.com, and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660, between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In conjunction with its exclusive Internet partner, Official College Sports Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase individual matches via the official athletic website. Both days will be priced at $8 for adults, $6 for youths and seniors.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's entire home schedule returns to the Internet, as a live audio broadcast will be available for a second season on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, Buck Shaw contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on SCU's official athletic website. By logging on, fans receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official scoring computer, allowing users to listen to the audio broadcast and keep up with the statistics simultaneously. Ram Fletcher returns as the voice of the Broncos with SCU men's soccer alumni Mark Wojciechowski adding color commentary.

The Fight for the WCC Championship
Pepperdine and Santa Clara both won their final West Coast Conference matches last weekend, and therefore tied for the league championship. The Waves made history with the title, as they become the first team other than SCU and Portland to claim a piece of the crown. Pepperdine earned the league's automatic bid since it won the tie-breaker, head-to-head competition, in a 1-0 win over Santa Clara on October 25.

Wagner Named MAC Hermann Finalist for Third Straight Year
For the third consecutive year, Aly Wagner has been named a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top player in NCAA Division I soccer. This year's honorees will have the distinction of being the first to receive the newly-unified award. This summer's announcement of the unification of the M.A.C. Award and the Hermann Trophy completed the merging of NCAA Division I soccer's three top honors. In 1999, the M.A.C. and the NSCAA came together to create a single award recognizing the top DI players. The winners of the M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy will be decided by a vote of current NSCAA members at the NCAA Division I level. Winners of the Hermann Trophy will be announced at a news conference in Dallas, Texas, on Dec. 12 in conjunction with the NCAA Men's College Cup and the announcement of the NSCAA/adidas All-America teams . The winners will be feted at a dinner in St. Louis on Friday, Jan. 10, 2003. Mandy Clemens became the first Bronco to be honored with the Hermann, when she was announced as the 1999 winner. Christie Welsh of Penn State has the opportunity to join an elite list of soccer players with the announcement of the 15 finalists, joining Mia Hamm and Cindy Parlow, both of North Carolina, as the only women to earn back-to-back M.A.C. honors. Welsh is joined by three other candidates from last year's list of finalists: Wagner; Hope Solo, a senior goalkeeper from Washington; and Christine Latham, a senior forward from Nebraska.

Wagner Earns All-Academic District Honors
Aly Wagner has been named to the 2002 Verizon Academic All-District VIII second team. Wagner, a senior All-American midfielder, carries a 3.44 GPA in combined sciences. The San Jose native is currently second on the team in goals scored with seven. She's added five assists on the season for 19 points and has started all 12 games she has played for the Broncos. Wagner has missed seven other Santa Clara contests while competing with the U.S. Women's National Team as it is competing in the Gold Cup, a qualifying tournament for the 2003 CONCACAF World Cup. To be eligible for consideration, student-athletes must have reached at least sophomore status, be a starter or significant reserve, and have at least a 3.20 GPA.

In the Rankings
Santa Clara moved up a couple of spots in all four polls heading into the NCAA Tournament. Soccer America Magazine and Soccer Times list the Broncos fourth, while the NSCAA/adidas poll and Soccer Buzz Magazine ranks the Broncos sixth. The Broncos have faced ten nationally-ranked opponents in 17 matches, going 5-4-1 in those contests.

Wagner Moving Up WCC Charts
With three goals and three assists this past weekend, Aly Wagner moved up to seventh on the West Coast Conference career points list, at 119. Wagner has also broken into the WCC top 15 career goal scorers with 37. She is also fourth on the league's list for career assists, with 45.

The Broncos at Buck Shaw Stadium
Santa Clara posted a 149-21-9 record at the 6,800-seat Buck Shaw Stadium over the last 16 seasons, including an 11-0-0 record in 1999. Over the last seven seasons, the Broncos are 72-7-3 (.896) at Buck Shaw.

Wagner #7 Replica Jersey T-Shirts On Sale
Exclusive Offer! Get your replica jersey/t-shirt of national player of the year Aly Wagner. This item will only be available at Buck Shaw Stadium and online at Santa ClaraBroncos.com this fall. Fans from as far east as New York, as far north as South Dakota and as far south as Georgia have already placed their orders. Limited quantities available. Available in Youth and Adult sizes. Order today!

Athletic Department Raises National Championship Flag
Fans attending the Broncos' home opener against Stanford watched the athletic department honor the 2001 National Champions by raising a flag near the scoreboard at the south end of the Stadium. Several women's soccer alumni joined the current players on the field to help present the banner to the crowd.

"It's taken a number of years to get to this point and there are a lot of players that have come before this 2001 team that helped us slowly but surely climb the ladder and get to a place where we could win the NCAA title," head coach Jerry Smith said. "This was really something we won on behalf of all the players that have come through our Santa Clara University women's soccer program."

Head Coach Jerry Smith
The number 13 has become a lucky number for head coach Jerry Smith (CS Hayward '86), who won his first NCAA College Cup National Championship in his 13th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The 16-year coach earned his sixth WCC Coach of the Year honor when he was named last year's co-recipient with Saint Mary's Paul Ratcliffe. Smith has compiled an overall record of 257-64-16 (.786) and earned his 50th WCC victory against Gonzaga during the 2001 season. Additionally, he has coached Santa Clara to 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and eight College Cups. The winningest coach in the program's history, Smith is fourth on the all-time NCAA coaching victory list. The Broncos have been ranked among the nation's Top 25 every season during Smith's coaching tenure and have finished among the Top 10 in each of the last 13 campaigns. In 1990 and 2001, Santa Clara finished the season ranked first nationally. Additionally, he has coached 16 All-Americans, 11 U.S. National Team Players, eight Academic All-Americans and five WCC Freshmen of the Year, including 2001 selection Veronica Zepeda. He coached 1999 National Player of the Year Mandy Clemens and 2001 Honda Award winner Aly Wagner.

Bronco Bios: Player of the Year Candidate Aly Wagner
As a Senior in 2002: A team captain... a Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy finalist for the third consecutive season... named to the Verizon Academic All-District VIII Team... named a preseason All-American by Soccer Buzz and Soccer America magazines... started all 12 contests she has played... missed game at Cal Poly, due to bruised tailbone suffered at California... also did not play against USC due to a strained right hamstring... has seven goals and five assists for 19 points... earned all-tournament team honors at the Notre Dame Classic... scored twice against Clemson... also named to Soccer America's Team of the Week... is seventh on the West Coast Conference career points list, at 114... also broke into the top 15 career goal scorers with 36.... is also fifth on the league's list for career assists, with 42... scored a goal and an assist against Florida... was called up to the U.S. National Team for preparation for and participation in the Nike Women's Cup... missed matches against Tennessee and Montana, but scored a goal and two assists in her first outing with the USNT, a 5-1 win over Russia... rejoined the team in Los Angeles, but injured hamstring and only saw 10 minutes of action against UCLA... added an assist on the game-winner against San Diego to open WCC play... scored twice, including a penalty kick against San Jose State... netted a goal and an assist against Saint Mary's, including the game-winner... posted two assists in a 6-0 victory over San Francisco... the three-goal, three-assist week earned her weekly honors from Soccer America and Soccer Buzz magazines... returned to the USNT on October 21... scored in the fifth minute against Mexico in the opening game of the Women's Gold Cup on Oct. 27... notched three assists in the USNT's 9-0 victory over Panama on Nov. 2... drove from Seattle to Portland after that match, and on 13 hours rest, started for the Broncos against Portland... missed the Broncos' final two regular season contests while at the Gold Cup... assisted on the golden goal that gave the United States victory at the Gold Cup, a 2-1 win over Canada... was named to the Women's Gold Cup Bset XI All-Tournament team and missed the MVP award by one vote...

Bronco Bios: Preseason All-America Devvyn Hawkins
As a Senior in 2002: A team captain... named a preseason All-American by Soccer America Magazine... is one of two players that has started all 20 contests... was called up to join the National Team, but sprained right ankle during practice on Sept. 2, and declined National Team offer... assisted on two of the Broncos' four goals against Oklahoma... named the adidas Classic Defensive MVP... scored the equalizer against UCLA en route to an overtime win... added an assist against Saint Mary's ... scored the fifth goal in the Broncos' 6-0 over Gonzaga...

Bronco Bios: Preseason All-America Veronica Zepeda
As a Junior in 2002: Named a preseason All-American by Soccer Buzz Magazine... has been slowed by leg injuries during the season... earned all-tournament team honors at the Notre Dame Classic... has started six times and seen action in 18 contests... sat out match against San Jose State and San Francisco to rest legs for WCC title run ... earned first goal of the season against Clemson... added an assist in that same match... returned to the starting lineup against Portland and started the play that led to the game-winning goal... moved to the midfield for that contest, as well as Pacific and Gonzaga... scored the first two goals against the Bulldogs...

Bronco Bios: Kristi Candau
As a Junior in 2002: A team captain... earned all-tournament team honors at the Notre Dame Classic... scored twice against the Fighting Irish and added the game-winning goal against Clemson... has nine starts and has seen action in all 20 contests... scored two goals in each of the first two contests she did not start... leads the team with 10 goals... is second on team with 22 points... scored twice against Oklahoma... had three other dangerous shots in that game, narrowly missing a hat trick... assisted on the equalizer at UCLA and then scored the game-winner in the second minute of overtime... added the final goal against San Jose State and the fifth against San Francisco... other assist came on the game-winner against LMU... added third game-winner of the season against Pacific... scored final goal in Broncos' 6-0 win over Gonzaga...

Bronco Bios: Megan Kakadelas
As a Sophomore in 2002: Missed the match against Stanford while with the U.S. U19 National Team, winning the first-ever FIFA U19 World Championship in Canada... earned all-tournament team honors at the Notre Dame Classic... scored the game-winner in her Bronco debut against Notre Dame and assisted on Candau's first score... has seen action in 19 contests since joining the squad, with a string of 15 straight starts... did not start against LMU after spraining left elbow against Pepperdine... took a fall with arm outstretched... returned to the starting lineup against Portland and has 16 total starts... added the game-winner at Cal Poly... has seven goals and 10 assists for 24 points... posted third game-winner of season against Montana... added three goals and three assists in one weekend, including one assist against SJSU, one goal vs. Saint Mary's and a two-goal, two-assist performance against San Francisco... assisted on the game-winner against fourth-ranked Portland and against Pacific...

Bronco Bios: Leslie Osborne
As a Sophomore in 2002: Missed the match against Stanford while with the U.S. U19 National Team, winning the first-ever FIFA U19 World Championship in Canada... has started all 19 matches since returning... plays all field positions... had a hand in all four goals against Oklahoma, scoring twice and netting one assist... started the drive that scored the second Bronco goal... named the WCC Player of the Week for those efforts... repeated conference honor the following week while also being named to the adidas Classic All-tournament team... scored both goals against Tennessee... scored two goals against San Diego to open the WCC season... also marked her third multi-goal game of the season... has nine goals and eight assists for 26 points... added the game-winner against San Jose State... scored twice and added two assists against Gonzaga...

Bronco Bios: Jessica Ballweg
As a Sophomore in 2002: Missed the match against Stanford while with the U.S. U19 National Team, winning the first-ever FIFA U19 World Championship in Canada... has started 14 matches since returning and has seen action in 16... sat out three matches (Cal, Florida, Oklahoma) due to fatigue and a left knee sprain... scored first goal of the season against San Francisco, knocking in the game-winner... moved to center back against Portland, Pacific and Gonzaga...

Bronco Bios: Micaela Esquivel
As a Freshman in 2002: Made first collegiate start against Stanford andstarted the first 19 contests... did not start on senior night against Gonzaga, but saw second-half action... despite never playing fullback, started on the right side for the first seven contests... returned to midfield for 10 consecutive matches, but moved again to the defense against Portland and Pacific... has six goals and two assists for 14 points... earned first collegiate goal against Notre Dame, gathering a loose ball off a corner kick at the top of the arc and chipping a shot in... registered first on SCU's third goal against Oklahoma... scored the game-winner in conference opener against San Diego... also scored against San Jose State... registered an ESPN highlight-worthy goal against Saint Mary's, with a bicycle kick... added a break-a-way goal against San Francisco... scored against Pacific...

Bronco Bios: Alyssa Sobolik
As a Sophomore in 2002: Has started on 13 occasions and seen action in 15 matches... currently has a 0.69 goals-against average and a 10-3-1 record... started and played the first half against Stanford, allowing one score... earned shutouts against Cal Poly, San Diego and Portland... is ranked 18th nationally in shutouts per game... has 29 saves on the year in 1173 minutes of action...