Broncos Host Illinois in NCAA Quarterfinal
Nov. 24, 2004
Santa Clara University continues action at the 2004 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship with a quarterfinal match against 19th-ranked Illinois, scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions and 2002 College Cup finalists, are the tournament's 16th overall seed and are ranked fourth in the country. They boast a 17-4-2 record and are making their 16th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received the West Coast Conference's automatic berth into the Tournament after winning its fourth straight West Coast Conference Championship. The Broncos look to extend their current 10-match win streak and will be seeking their 10th College Cup appearance.
On the Fighting Illini
The Fighting Illini (16-5-2) advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 first-round victory over Rice and a 2-1 upset victory over seventh-ranked and ninth-seed Texas A&M in the second round. Illinois returned home and defeated Nebraska 1-0 in third-round action, and will be making the program's first appearance in the quarterfinals. The Orange and Blue have posted their best postseason record in school history this year. Prior to 2004, Illinois was 1-3 in tournament matches. Its only prior win was a 2-1 victory over Xavier in the 2000 Championship. Saturday's match will mark the first time the Santa Clara and Illinois programs will meet.
The Rest of the Field
Of the 64 teams selected, 14 were from the West. Of the five seeded West teams, four remain alive: No. 5 Portland, No. 14 UCLA, No. 15 Washington, and the 16th-seed Broncos. Santa Clara went 5-3-1 against the tournament field during the regular season. Of the top eight seeds, only four remain: No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 5 Portland, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Princeton. The Broncos upset top-seed North Carolina in the third round, while No. 2 Penne State, No. 3 Virginia and No. 8 Kansas were all upset during second-round action.
The ACC led all conferences with eight teams in the tournament. Five teams represented the Big 12, Big 10 and the Pac-10; four teams represented the WCC. In the championship, 29 conferences were awarded automatic berths with 35 teams receiving at-large selections.
Advancing Through the Championship
The 2004 Women's College Cup will be held December 3 and 5 at SAS Stadium and is hosted by North Carolina State University and the Capital Area Soccer League in Cary, N.C.
Match Tickets on Sale
Individual tickets for the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship are on sale through the Department of Athletics' ticket office at 408-554-4660, between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Adult admission is $8 and seniors, youths and students will be admitted for $6. The ticket office will be open during the holiday weekend to accommodate fans. Friday hours will be from 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Live on the Internet
For those who will be unable to attend Saturday's game, Santa Clara will offer a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, fans can link to CBS's live statistical tracker. By logging on, fans can 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. Emil and Shane Dizon will call Sunday's match. Just click on the "Tournament Central" link on the Broncos' home page to access both features.
The Strength of the WCC
For the third time in four years, two teams will represent the West Coast Conference in quarterfinal-round action. Portland and Santa Clara remain in the hunt for the NCAA Championship, and should both win this weekend, would face each other in the semifinals, a rematch of the 2002 College Cup final. The Pac-10 (UCLA & Washington) and the Big Ten (Illinois & Ohio State) also have two teams represented in the quarterfinals.
Santa Clara Dominates Recent Postseasons
Over the past four postseasons, no team has been more dominant than Santa Clara. The Broncos have compiled a 17-2 (.895) overall record in postseason play since the 2001 Championship.
North Carolina Seeing Santa Clara Red
Santa Clara Athletics just completed one of its most successful weekends ever, posting two stunning upset victories over teams from the University of North Carolina, each of which were ranked as high as No. 1 nationally. On Friday night, the men's basketball team defeated UNC at the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, 77-66. North Carolina was selected as preseason favorite by Sports Illustrated, and was ranked fourth nationally. Less than 18 hours later, the women's soccer team added to the Tar Heels' pain with another Bronco victory. North Carolina had never lost a tournament contest on its home field, and had never failed to make the College Cup in the 23-year history of the women's soccer NCAA Championship.
Santa Clara is ranked sixth nationally in shutout percentage (0.61) and 15th in goals-against average (0.626). Individually, sophomore Julie Ryder is ranked 18th in the NCAA in goals-against average (0.639).
NCAA Third Round Recap
Megan Kakadelas scored the game-winner in overtime to lift Santa Clara past the No. 1 seed North Carolina 1-0 in the third round. The Broncos topped the defending national champions, who will not be advancing to the College Cup for the first time in the 23-year history of the tournament. The Tar Heels also saw an end to a 49-match unbeaten streak, as UNC had not lost a game since the Broncos bested them in a 2002 College Cup semifinal.
Although out-shot 19-4 in regulation, the Broncos opened the extra period strong. Pressure by Bree Horvath on the Carolina defense, and a tackle by Tiffany Roberts, allowed Tina Estrada to control the ball. She saw Kakadelas on the slot run and made the pass. UNC keeper Aly Winget gave Kakadelas room on the near post, and Kakadelas took advantage for her seventh goal of the season.
Today's match started off with offensive excitement, as Kakadelas broke away early, taking a shot on goal in the third minute that was stopped by Winget. UNC countered on the next play down the field, as a Bronco foul gave Carolina a free kick just outside the box. Lori Chalupny took a low shot that got through the wall, but Julie Ryder dived for the save.
North Carolina peppered the Bronco net with 12 attempts in first-half action. Ryder made seven saves in the period, including a diving stop in the 25th minute, when Anne Morrell took a shot from eight yards out that Ryder batted away. Tar Heel Heather O'Reilly followed with a header on the ensuing play that went wide of the far post.
The Tar Heels' misfires continued in the second half as Jaime Gilbert shot wide in the first minute of play. Kacey White followed with a shot in the 72nd minute that sailed just over the crossbar. Santa Clara's second shot of the match was by Estrada in the 61st minute, and was quickly followed with attempts from Horvath and Leslie Osborne, as the Broncos earned three corner kicks in a short span. Ryder notched her ninth and final save of the game with another Tar Heel opportunity, this one by Gilbert in the 80th minute.
Osborne a M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Semifinalist
Senior Leslie Osborne is one of 15 semifinalists for the 2004 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top players in NCAA Division I soccer. The list was compiled by the NSCAA, the official selection body for the M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy. Osborne, a native of Menomonee Falls, Wis., is the WCC's Defensive Player of the Year and is also a preseason All-American by Soccer Buzz and Soccer America magazines. She has eight goals and one assist for 17 points so far this season.
Three finalists will be selected in early December. The winner will be announced at a dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo., on Jan. 8, 2005.
The award 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 M.A.C. Player of the Year awards in 1999, while Wagner became the first honoree to have the distinction of receiving the newly-unified award.
Kakadelas Posting Points in Postseason
Megan Kakadelas has recorded five points in three postseason contests. She assisted on both goals against California in the third round, and followed with an assist on the game-winner against Stanford. In third-round action, Kakadelas scored the golden goal in overtime to lift the Broncos past North Carolina. On the season, Kakadelas has a team-leading 21 points, on seven goals and seven assists.