Nov. 12, 2003
Santa Clara will face Bay Area rival Stanford in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship. The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions and 2002 College Cup finalists, are the tournament's ninth overall seed, and will host the first and second rounds of the 22nd NCAA Championship at Buck Shaw Stadium this weekend. On Friday, the Broncos will face the Cardinal at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time, while Cal Poly and Arizona 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 third in the country with a 12-3-5 record, will be making its 15th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received the West Coast Conference's automatic berth into the Tournament after winning its third straight West Coast Conference Championship on November 8. The Broncos have advanced to the College Cup on nine occasions.
On the Opponents
Stanford is 10-8-2 on the season and earned an at-large berth into the tournament. The 17th-ranked Mustangs (18-1-2) and the 22nd-ranked Sun Devils (12-4-3) were also at-large bids.
The Rest of the Field
Of the 64 teams selected, 14 are from the West. West Coast Conference opponents Portland, San Diego and Pepperdine were placed in the draw. SCU went 6-3-2 against the tournament field during the regular season. North Carolina is the tournament's top seed, followed by Notre Dame, Florida, UCLA, Penn State, West Virginia, Virginia and Portland.
This is the third year of the Championship's 64-team field. Five 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.
Advancing Through the Championship
The third round will be held November 21-23 and the quarterfinals will be played November 28-30. The 2003 Women's College Cup will be held December 5 and 7 and is hosted by North Carolina State University and the Capital Area Soccer League in Cary, N.C.
Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's entire home schedule returns to the Internet, as a live audio broadcast is available for a third 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 and SCU men's soccer alumni Mark Wojciechowski return as the voices of the Broncos.
Tickets on Sale
Tickets for this weekend's NCAA First and Second Rounds are on sale now. Adults are $8 while students, youths and seniors are $6. A package for all three matches is on sale for $15 and $11 respectively. Please visit www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for details.
Kakadelas Earns All-Academic Honors
Forward Megan Kakadelas has been named to the CoSIDA District VIII All-Academic First Team. She has balanced a 3.64 grade-point average in accounting while being a significant contributor on the field, posting four goals and five assists for 13 points this season.
"At Santa Clara, we don't take the term 'student-athlete' lightly," head coach Jerry Smith said. "We talk to the team all the time about balance and for one of our players to be recognized for her academics, while at the same time helping our team continue to be one of the top programs in the country is a wonderful example that we hope all of our players will be striving toward."
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. District VIII is composed of Division I schools in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Zepeda a Semifinalist for M.A.C. Hermann Trophy
Veronica Zepeda has been named a semifinalist for the 2003 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top players in NCAA Division I soccer. The Riverside, Calif., native is a preseason All-America candidate, and opened the season against third-ranked UCLA with a goal. She currently has 11 points (3 goals, 5 assists).
The M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy is college soccer's version of the Heisman Trophy. Past recipients include former Broncos Mandy Clemens and Aly Wagner. Clemens won both the Hermann Trophy and MAC Player of the Year awards in 1999, while Wagner became the honoree to have the distinction of receiving the newly-unified award.
In the Rankings
Santa Clara opened the 2003 season ranked in the top five in all four polls, and after falling out of two polls September 29, have returned at No. 3 in all four. Soccer America and Soccer Times have listed the Broncos in the top 25 every week, while the Soccer Buzz and NSCAA/adidas polls had SCU out of the top 25, but returned the Broncos the following week. The omission from Soccer Buzz was a first for the Broncos since the poll started August 26, 1996. Until that week, SCU and North Carolina were the only programs ranked in every poll since its inception. Nevertheless, the Broncos still received votes and continue to be among five schools (UNC, UConn, Penn State and Texas A&M) that have received votes in every national poll.
Santa Clara is aiming for its 10th overall appearance in the College Cup and once again, enters the Tournament as prepared as possible, with one of the toughest regular-season schedules in the country. The Broncos' 20-match schedule featured 11 programs that advanced to this year's NCAA Championship, including five of the top eight seeds. Additionally, there were 11 ranked teams on the schedule, with eight of the top 25 playing at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Last Week: Broncos Win Third Straight WCC Championship
Santa Clara captured its third straight West Coast Conference title with a 5-1 victory over Gonzaga on Saturday at Martin Field in Spokane, Wash. Tina Estrada scored two goals to lead the Broncos to their seventh overall league championship with an undefeated 6-0-1 conference mark. It marked SCU's fourth undefeated conference season in the league's 12-year history. Santa Clara has also won conference championships in 1993, '97, '98, '99, 2001, and '02.
Leslie Osborne crossed the ball in to Tiffany Roberts to score the first goal for Santa Clara in the 16th minute. Roberts' header went past Bulldog goalkeeper Ashley Haugen. Bree Horvath gave Santa Clara the two-goal advantage as she took a shot from seven yards out in the 23rd minute to claim her unassisted goal.
In second-half action, Gonzaga held off the Santa Clara offense until the 70th minute, when Osborne scored her team-leading 11th goal of the season with a header off of Kristi Candau's corner kick. Estrada began her scoring run in the 77th minute, as she found a shot from nine yards out from Bonnie Bowman. Just six minutes later, Bowman again found Estrada, who shot from 10 yards out and gained the 5-0 lead.
The Broncos dominated the game as they out-shot Gonzaga 17-3, with 11 corner kicks to the Bulldogs' 1. Despite the overwhelming offensive attacks of the Broncos, Gonzaga senior Patty Blankenship scored her first collegiate goal in her final collegiate contest from six yards out. Annie Hawkins was credited with the assist as she passed it to an open Blankenship on the left side of the net for the final score, 5-1.
Among the Nation's Leaders
Santa Clara is currently ranked 13th in scoring offense, averaging 2.65 points per game, 65th in goals-against average, at 0.987, and 104th in shut out percentage (0.35). Individually, Julie Ryder is ranked ninth in goals-against average (0.535), one of two freshmen in the top 10.
Bronco Bios: Preseason All-America Leslie Osborne
As a Junior in 2003: The West Coast Conference Player of the Year... marks the sixth time in the last seven years that the honor has been received by a Bronco... also named to All-WCC first team, becoming only 10th player in the league to earn the honor three times... a team captain... named a preseason All-America candidate by Soccer America and Soccer Buzz magazines... named to the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic and SCU adidas Classic All-Tournament Teams... one of three players that has started all 20 contests... plays mostly at holding midfielder, but has also seen time at forward.. has 11 goals and six assists for a team-leading 28 points... had stitches on right temple for first two matches after a collision in practice... earned an assist at San Jose State... posted a goal and two assists against Pacific, including the game-winner... posted four shots against Penn State, including one in overtime that almost scored... scored two goals and netted one assist against Georgia... scored twice at CS Fullerton... earned first career hat trick against No. 7 Pepperdine... two of the goals were converted penalty kicks... named the WCC Player of the Week and a spot on the Soccer America Team of the Week for October 20 for those performances... netted a goal and an assist at San Francisco... scored in the 24th minute against Portland, becoming only the second opponent to notch a first-half goal against the Pilots... marked the 100th point of her career... netted a goal and an assist to close the regular season at Gonzaga to secure team's third straight WCC crown...
Bronco Bios: Julie Ryder
As a Freshman in 2003: A first-team All-West Coast Conference honoree... becomes first freshman goalkeeper to garner first-team honors since 1997... has started 13 contests... earned first collegiate start at San Jose State... has 37 saves on the season... has allowed seven goals in 1177 minutes for a 0.54 GAA, ranked ninth nationally... is 10-1-2 on the season with six shut outs... earned first career shutout against California... missed matches at Virginia Classic due to groin strain... posted three straight shut outs, against previously-undefeated Cal Poly, at Stanford and at San Diego... allowed a goal against LMU, ending a shut out streak of 294:38 minutes, dating back to September 21 against Notre Dame... posted sixth shut out of season at Saint Mary's, making a season-high six saves...
Bronco Bios: Megan Kakadelas
As a Junior in 2003: An honorable mention All-West Coast Conference honoree... a CoSIDA District VIII All-Academic first team member... has started 16 contests at forward and has seen action in 19... missed start against Notre Dame due to an equipment issue... also sat out against TCU due to sore hip flexors... has four goals and five assists for 13 points... scored the team's third goal at San Jose State, on a breakaway... added another breakaway, at Virginia, for the early Bronco lead... scored a goal and an assist against Georgia... assisted on SCU's second goal at Stanford... scored in the 87th minute at San Diego... posted one assist against LMU and two against Pepperdine...
Bronco Bios: Jessica Ballweg
As a Junior in 2003: A second-team All-West Coast Conference honoree... named to the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic and SCU adidas Classic All-Tournament Teams... one of three players that has started all 20 contests... plays mostly in defense but has seen time as the holding midfielder... has two assists on the season ... assisted on the team's fourth goal at San Jose State... assisted on breakaway goal at Virginia... anchored a defense that allowed only four goals during the WCC season...
Bronco Bios: Micaela Esquivel
As a Sophomore in 2003: An honorable mention All-West Coast Conference honoree... has started all 17 contests she has been available for... began season at midfield, but plays mostly at left back... missed start against USC due to a red card that was issued against Notre Dame... sprained medial collateral ligament in right knee midway through second half against Pepperdine... did not play at San Francisco or Saint Mary's... has two goals and three assists for seven points... scored twice at San Jose State, the second on a steal in the penalty box... assisted on the game-winner against Cal Poly... assisted on game-winner against TCU... named to Soccer America and Soccer Buzz Teams of the Week for performances at Stanford Invitational, holding opponents to only 10 shots and no goals... earned assist against LMU... returned to action against Portland after missing two matches and earned an assist off a free kick... was part of a defense that allowed only four goals during the WCC season...
Bronco Bios: Tiffany Roberts
As a Freshman in 2003: An honorable mention All-West Coast Conference honoree... has started 12 contests at midfield and seen action in 19... missed TCU match... has four goals and one assist for nine points... made first start at San Jose State... earned an assist on team's seventh goal against the Spartans... scored third tally against Pacific from 30 yards out... headed in the game-winner against Cal Poly in the 14th minute... scored second game-winner of season at San Diego... added team's first score at Gonzaga...
Bronco Bios: Tina Estrada
As a Freshman in 2003: An honorable mention All-West Coast Conference honoree... has started 13 matches and has seen action in 17 contests... has six goals and four assists for 16 points... did not practice with the team during preseason training due to mononucleosis and missed first three matches... made Bronco debut in second overtime against California... earned first start against Georgia and scored in the 11th minute, assisted on a goal in the 16th minute, and scored again in the 88th minute... assisted on the game-winner at Stanford... scored against LMU off a midfield steal... netted a goal and an assist at San Francisco... posted a shot in overtime against Portland... added second-half two goals at Gonzaga to secure the Broncos' third straight WCC title...
Bronco Bios: Chardonnay Poole
As a Senior in 2003: A first-team All-West Coast Conference honoree... a team captain... is one of three players that has started all 20 contests at defense... has also seen time at holding midfielder... has taken nine shots on the season... began the play that resulted in the golden goal against Portland... anchored a defense that allowed only four goals during the WCC season...
Bronco Bios: WCC Freshman of the Year Lauren Zealear
As a Freshman in 2003: Named the WCC Freshman of the Year, becoming the sixth Bronco in the last eight seasons to earn the honor... earned first-team All-WCC recognition... has started 18 contests and seen action in all 20 matches... began the season at defense, but has since moved to the midfield... has two goals and three assists for seven points... assisted on the Broncos fifth goal against Pacific... scored first goal of the season at Stanford... netted the equalizer against LMU on a header... assisted on the game-winner against the Lions... added assist on final goal against Pepperdine...