No. 5 Broncos Open Season Friday

No. 5 Broncos Open Season Friday

Aug. 23, 2005

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The fifth-ranked Santa Clara University women's soccer team begins its quest for the program's 11th College Cup and 17th NCAA Tournament appearance Friday when it hosts Arizona State in a 7 p.m. match at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The match, which will mark the first time the two teams have played since SCU took a narrow 1-0 victory in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, will serve as the season opener for both teams and will be the first sporting event in Buck Shaw Stadium since the Bronco baseball program moved into its new home at Stephen Schott Stadium last spring.

Season and single game tickets, group packages and family plans to watch the Broncos at home in Buck Shaw Stadium this season are available by calling 408/554-4660 or by clicking here. For those who are unable to attend the games, Bronco Athletics will provide a live GameTracker feed via the Internet as well as a live audio broadcast of every home games and selected away contests.

The Broncos, led by head coach Jerry Smith in his 19th season at Santa Clara (294-74-24, .781), return seven starters and 17 letterwinners from last year's team that finished with an 18-5-2 record and advanced to the College Cup for the 10th time in school history. Santa Clara defeated Cal and Stanford in the first two rounds of the tournament before downing top-ranked North Carolina 1-0 in overtime on the road in Chapel Hill.

Check out live coverage of nearly every SCU soccer match through Broncos All Access! Click Here to find out more.

The Broncos have just four seniors on this year's squad and each are on the defensive end of the field. Captain Micaela Esquivel has been a versatile performer for SCU and will team with fellow seniors Catherine Sigler and Carrie Schuler to form the base of the Bronco experience defensively. Santa Clara also welcomes the return of fifth-year senior defender Jessica Ballweg, who missed last season due to injury.

Look for sophomores Jordan Angeli, Meagan Snell, Elyse Shelger and Kendall Doherty to also make an impact for SCU defensively.

Offensively, the Broncos return the team's leading scorer from a year ago in junior forward Tina Estrada. The Fremont, Calif. native scored eight goals and assisted on five others to share the team lead with departed All-American Megan Kakadelas.

The team lost its leader in goals scored, U.S. National Team midfielder Leslie Osborne, but expects a number of returning players including Marian Dalmy, Tiffany Roberts, Brittany Klein, Bonnie Bowman, Lauren Zealear to capably fill the middle of the field.

A freshmen class that includes Danielle Potts, Hayley Siegel, Amanda Poach and Courtney Lewis will compete for playing time right away. Transfer Kira Sarkisian will also be looking for action against her former Arizona State teammates on Friday.

Defensively the Broncos are anchored by junior goalkeeper Julie Ryder, a two-time all-West Coast Conference honoree from DeKalb, Ill. Recently, she was was named to Soccer Buzz Magazine's first-team preseason All-America list after registering 51 saves as a sophomore, the seventh best single-season total in program history.

Coming off an overall record of 8-9-2 and a fourth-place Pac-10 finish in 2004 (4-3-2), the Sun Devils are returning seven senior leaders and eight of eleven starters to a squad which is just a year removed from two consecutive trips to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The two teams have met only twice in history with the Broncos coming out victorious on both occasions.