Aug. 15, 2006
As part of the year-long Bronco Blog feature presented here on SantaClaraBroncos.com, senior goalkeeper Julie Ryder will be checking in on a weekly basis from preseason August practices to the NCAA Tournament in November and December with the goings-on of the second-ranked Santa Clara Women's Soccer team.
A three-time All-WCC goalkeeper and native of DeKalb, Ill., Ryder wasted no time in making her mark at SCU, earning the starting job in net during her freshman year. She started 17 contests in that 2003 season, making 52 saves while posting nine shutouts and a goals-against average of 0.57. By the end of the year Ryder had been named to the All-America teams of CSTV and Soccer Buzz as well as the All-WCC First Team.
Entering the 2006 season, Ryder stands among the best net-minders in Santa Clara history, ranking in the school's all-time top-five in shutouts, goals-against average, and saves. Her 32 shutouts, third-most on the career list, sit only two off of the all-time mark of 34 set by Sue Wall, while her 0.61 career GAA stands second behind Crystal Gordon's 0.47 mark. Additionally, Ryder's three-year save tally of 160 stands fourth on the career list, only four away from Sue Wall's third-best mark of 164.
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2006
Hey hey hey everyone! After a disappointing road trip to LA, it's nice to be back on the winning track with two big wins against Portland and Gonzaga!!! We are now in the middle of a long week of practice before our final regular-season home game (and SENIOR DAY!) against USF on Sunday.
After a review of all the bull-riding videos from our Thursday night dinner in Hermosa Beach, I have decided that Michelle Pikor (our athletic trainer) wins the best ride award, simply because she is the LAST person I would have expected to see on the mechanical bull, oh and she was pretty good at it too!
On our day off on Monday (of last week, the day after we got back from LA), the volleyball team libero Caroline Walters and I decided to take in a little matinee at the movie theater and went to see "Employee of the Month" at about 2 pm. After the movie was over, we both agreed that the movie sucked and that the highlight of our movie-going experience was getting popcorn bags advertising the movie "Borat" that comes out November 3rd, which we are REALLY excited to see! On the way home we tried to avoid rush hour traffic on 101 by taking a different way back to campus and ended up driving by a pumpkin patch. It took us about two seconds to decide that we were going to get pumpkins to carve! I actually think we stopped because we saw the inflatable slides at the patch and wanted to go on them (we are actually 7 years old at heart, if you are wondering). Anyways we came back to my apartment with two large pumpkins and three smaller ones! We woke up Tina Estrada, who was sleeping on the couch, and proceeded to draw out our pumpkin carving designs. Caroline and I went with traditional jack o'lantern faces, while Tina carved the letters, "B" "O" and "O," respectively, in each of the three smaller ones. After carving our pumpkins and saving the seeds to bake, we had ourselves a Chinese food feast from Wong's Kitchen. Mmmm-mmmm! Our pumpkins were proudly displayed on my balcony until about three days ago when we had to toss them because they were rotting...guess we carved them a little too early!
Last Saturday, Marian, Tiff, Dani, Casey, Elyse, and I all ventured down to Santa Cruz for the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Surfing Contest. We were worried we wouldn't get there to see much because we got out of practice around 11:30 and didn't actually leave Santa Clara til close to 1:30, but we ended up getting to see Anthony Ruffo and Peter Mel and a couple of other really good surfers take on the waves at Steamer Lane. Watching it made me really antsy to get back in the water as I haven't been able to surf since last spring before my knee surgery. Hoepfully soon though I'll be back out there! Later that night Marian and her family, Casey and her mom, and myself and my parents all ventured to this restaurant called Ciao Bella in Ben Lomond (in the Santa Cruz mountains). The food is awesome, but that's not the only reason people come all the way up to this small restaurant. The owner is there every day and takes center stage in songs and skits that the waiters join in on and they perform around every half hour or so...and anything goes here, it is Santa Cruz after all!! It was my second time there and I've seen everything from snychonized dancing to techno music to singing and dancing solos in some of the craziest outfits ever. I can't even really describe them, the best I can do is give you a link to the website where there are pictures: http://www.ciaobellabenlomond.com. No two skits are the same at this place so it's a different experience every time!
Halloween may be on the 31st, but that isn't stopping Caroline, Tina, and Kendall Doherty. In the middle of eating my dinner, Caroline made me stop eating and start laughing when she emerged from Tina's room with her hair in a side pony and a silly grin on her face, wearing all black and with green balloons taped all over her body. The three of them had decided that they were going to be grapes for a friend's party later that evening. I definitely have to give them points for creativity and not spending a lot of money, although I'm not exactly sure that the life span of the balloons was long between the popping and the tape becoming unstuck!
Thursday we had an extra special, fun practice! We took a day off from the normal grind in order to just have a blast doing what we love! We scrimmaged all the seniors (minus Tiff, who is out injured, and plus Tina, who is starting to practice now but is limited to no contact, and plus our coach Albertin to make 11 players) vs. everyone else. There was one catch though, no one played in their normal positions except for the keepers. It ended up being a pretty interesting game as everyone was in foreign postions and Jerry was being a pretty one-sided ref (in the seniors favor of course!). I think the highlight of the day had to have been when they put me in at forward in the second half of the scrimmage. I havent really played forward since I was 14 (and a couple of times for my club team during my last year before coming to Santa Clara) but it seems as if I may have not lost my touch as I took on Amanda Poach down the right side of the attacking third of the field. I have no idea if she was going full-steam or not, but I pulled a move on her and in the process she got tangled up in her own feet and fell as I dribbled on by. The entire team started cracking up, and to make it even funnier and add injury to insult, when she fell she reopened a small cut on her knee, and Jerry jumped all over it and started saying "Man, Ryder, you made her bleed!" and then told Poachy she got "Ryder-ized". I have to admit I DID enjoy my little, shining moment! A few minutes later the game was over, and the seniors won, of course, thanks to the opening goal, a PK converted by Casey Pleas. It was great to have a practice where we could all be loose and recharge the mind, something I think that is needed this late in the season. Tomorrow though, we get back to the drawing board and prepare ourselves to take on the USF Dons on Sunday!
Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2006
A Whole Lotta Bull (Riding)!
Bronco fans...hello from the lovely Crown Plaza LAX Hotel!!! We are currently on our final regular season road trip down here in Southern California! We flew down here on Thursday after a 7:45 a.m. practice which is something we are definitely not used to. I actually ended up having a little trouble getting there on time and as a result was given ball bag duty for the weekend as well as being subjected to a lot of wisecracks by Coach Smith. For example, I apologized for my bag being so heavy when we were loading the trucks to go to the airport (it's all those books I had to bring because of midterms starting this week!) and Jerry's like well...I don't blame you, you probably had to pack a lot of alarm clocks in there! I ALMOST made it through the full four years without ever being late to anything, which is actually a really big feat as I am a really deep sleeper, but I can no longer say that! I actually lucked out on not having to carry the other equipment bag because Lexi Orand decided she wasn't going to wear the travel outfit for some reason and as a result was given the other equipment bag for the weekend. And if it wasn't enough, Lexi forgot her backpack on baggage claim so we decided to play a little joke on her after already giving her some grief for not wearing the travel outfit. The last of us that left baggage claim grabbed her backpack and took it to where we were supposed to meet the shuttle. Lexi eventually figured out she had left her backpack but we didn't tell her we had it and we made her go all the way back to look for it anyways. I guess both of us will learn our lessons hopefully...she won't forget stuff, and I won't be late!
Thursday night we were treated to dinner at Union Cattle Company in Hermosa Beach. All of us were really psyched up for steak, but then got there an realized that we had a pre-determined menu that didn't include a delicious piece of red meat. I know I was definitely bummed. The food we got was really good though. We had a choice between ranch and spinach stuffed chicken or BBQ chicken. Then we got a delicious dessert of smores! Inbetween all the feasting some of us took the opportunity to test out the mechanical bull in the middle of the restaurant. I got some pretty good videos of BK, Snell, Kendall, and our trainer Michelle Pikor all taking a stab at it. I would have done it but I was wayyyyy too full from dinner and being swung and bucked around might have forced everything I ate out of my body, which wouldn't have been a pretty sight. I'll have to go back and look through the videos to decide who had the best fall off the bull and report back next time. Afterwards we all hurried back to catch the new episode of Grey's Anatomy (except for myself and a few other people who don't watch it), and then went to sleep.
We got to sleep in on Friday morning which is always nice because when we are in Santa Clara that doesn't happen much between classes and weight workouts. I definitely took full advantage of catching up and I feel about 800 times better now! On Friday afternoon we played LMU, which was a dogfight of a game which we ended up tying. It was kind of a weird day because we played at 4 pm (LMU doesn't have lights) and it was thundering towards the end of the game, and after the game eventually started lightning. I don't think I have seen a thunderstorm since I was back in the midwest for a week this summer, and it was kind of a nice change for once. I say for once, because really, you can't beat the weather out here in California when it's sunny and warm for a majority of the year!
Today we got to sleep in again!!! At 11:30 we packed up and drove out to Malibu to practice at Pepperdine. It's a pretty nice drive down Pacific Coast Highway out to Malibu and the view from their field isn't bad either (picture a cliff overlooking the bright blue Pacific, and there you have it). Afterwards we got some food and then headed back to the hotel. The highlight of the drive home had to be when we got to witness some dolphins jumping out of the water between Malibu and Santa Monica. It may not seem like a big deal but we definitely got pretty excited about it! Tonight we are doing our usual night-before-game meal at Macaroni Grill in Manhattan Beach, and then I don't know about the rest of the team, but I am coming back and hitting the books hard. Kiki, Katherine and I all have an Italian 1 midterm first thing Monday morning, so wish us luck on that and our game against the Waves of Pepperdine tomorrow (and the rest of our team who undoubtedly have some other midterms this week too!)
Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Me: "Tina, I need a new and improved greeting for my blog."
I'm running out of ways to say hello each week and my roommate Tina Estrada definitely isn't being much help! Oh well...at least she's entertaining! Anyways....with the start of school, things have kicked into high gear and apparently I'm only finding time every two weeks or so to catch you all up on what's going on in the world of Bronco Soccer!
I can't describe this past weekend against UCLA and Cal-Fullerton as being anything other than awesome! We had a HUGE crowd on Friday night and we scored some great goals. It was awesome to see so many students come out on Friday to support both us and the men's team. For all of you who had a great time on Friday night, definitely come back and help support us as it gets us really fired up for the games! The wins this weekend are only going to add to our confidence as we make our way into WCC play. Another big congrats to Snell who snagged her second WCC Player of the Week nod!!! I also want to give a shout-out to Kiki who scored her first collegiate goal this past Friday night and Marian who had an amazing performance on Sunday topped off by two goals! The weekend was also exciting for myself as my knee seems to be coming along well and I got to play the second half against Fullerton sans the knee-brace I've been in for the last month or so.
Even with classes in full swing...in between homework and soccer we still have found time to get together for meals and quality time with each other. Last night, some of us had dinner at Caroline Walters' (women's volleyball) apartment so that we could say goodbye to Micaela Esquivel (`06), who is leaving for Cuba this week with a group of her friends from Santa Clara to explore the Cuban music cultural scene for three months before she comes back to the States to continue her education in medical school. We made an entirely home-cooked meal of chicken enchiladas verdes, salsa, chips, guacamole, tortillas, beans, corn, and white-chocolate covered strawberries. It was pretty much heaven and I think we ate everything we made, which was definitely a lot!
So much for surviving on a "college kid's diet" when you're surrounded by people who could potentially be chefs for a living!
This is an unusual week for us at practice because we only play on Saturday night as opposed to Friday and Sunday...so the week will seem a little longer because we'll get one more good, hard training session in than we normally would. The next two games, Stanford on Saturday night, and San Jose State on Wednesday of next week, are two BIG rivalries for us so we could definitely use the fan support! Both games are at 7 pm so if you're around, come on out!
Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Hi once again! Sorry about slacking last week and not posting a blog, I was trying to finish up my summer school classes and write some papers, but look at it this way... now I have a little bit more to write about! We didn't quite get the result we were looking for against Notre Dame, but we bounced back nicely with a couple of wins at UCLA this past weekend. Our trip to South Bend might have been dampered by the loss to the Irish, but there were definitely some highlights on the weekend. We got to go to the Volleyball team's game on Friday morning against Valparaiso, and it ended up that there weren't too many people there but we had fun cheering for them anyways! Later that night they came to our game against Harvard with signs and painted stomachs. Their stomachs spelled out "We liiiiiiike, crush!" which is a direct reference to "Da Ali G Show" on HBO, which both of our teams are big fans of. If you know the show well, keep your eyes peeled at both of our teams' games as you'll sometimes catch us making some subtle references to the show! We got a good 3-0 win against Harvard and although we lost to Notre Dame, we learned a lot of lessons about ourselves and about things we need to work on, which is always nice to figure out early in the season.
After returning to Santa Clara, we had some intense training and video sessions to prepare us for the upcoming games against UConn and Texas A&M. On our down time on Tuesday night, some of us gathered at two different houses (both "soccer houses" off-campus) to watch the season premiere of Nip/Tuck, which is another team favorite. We traveled to LA on Thursday and upon arriving in the Southwest baggage claim at LAX, I spotted a limo driver holding a sign with the name "Kevin Dillon" on it. I kind of laughed to myself because Kevin Dillon is the name of an actor who plays the character Johnny Drama on the HBO show "Entourage", which is also another show most of us watch. I told Tiff and Marian about it but I didn't really give it a second thought thinking it was just a coincidence, until we saw a bunch of the crew guys that worked on "Entourage". We then tried to go back and see if we could catch Kevin Dillon but the limo driver was gone by the time we realized it probably was really him. So close though!
We got two great results this weekend against two good teams, which is great because it gives us more confidence going into the middle of the season. My favorite part of the weekend was definitely after Meagan Snell (who also got WCC player of the week honors, CONGRATS!) scored against A&M and did probably the funniest fist-pumping celebration I've ever seen....it was almost like she hovered mid-air. For those of you who weren't at the game I don't think it was shown on the ESPNU telecast...but I wish you could have seen it! I think the whole team was happy too because we achieved all of our predetermined goals in the game against Texas A&M, which meant less fitness this week at practice!
We had yet another close celebrity encounter in LAX on the way home. A couple of the girls recognized the musical group "Black Eyed Peas" while we were waiting for our flight home and ended up taking a picture with them. I'm not quite sure where the picture ended up, otherwise I would have posted it!
We've been busy this week as well with a couple of hard trainings and getting ready to start school next week. Some of the underclassmen are moving into their dorms this week and we are trying to help them get settled inbetween weights, practice, meetings, and video. On Tuesday, a lot of the team attended the volleyball team's game at San Jose State. It was a really exciting game, as we went down the first two games but came back to win the last three! Thursday we will have our usual day-before-game practice and another delicious Maggiano's team dinner and then we're going to try to get up to watch the volleyballers play Stanford in Palo Alto. I think most of us are definitely loving that our two sports play on different days (as opposed to last year) so we can catch our friends games. We are also at Stanford this weekend playing against Boston University and Tennessee. It's nice to finally be able to play some games in the Bay Area and we are definitely also looking forward to a couple of home games next week as the student body will be back and cheering in full force!
Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Going Back Home To the Midwest!
Well, it was a good weekend for us as we won both our games against Wake Forest and Utah! If you happened to follow the games this weekend then you know we had lots of fresh faces on the team making their presence felt. I was really happy for Katherine Reynolds, who got her first goal in her first collegiate game ever, and I was even more happy that all the new players are mixing well with the older players and I really feel that we have a solid team right down to the last player. It's really nice to have the depth we have and it's going to come in handy when we travel to South Bend, Ind. to play against Harvard and Notre Dame this weekend.
We are now starting a three-weekend string of away games, and thankfully we don't have school right now. Traveling is way easier when you don't have work to do and luckily we get most of our big trips out of the way before school starts in late September. This weekend's trip to Notre Dame is a special one for me because I grew up in the Chicago area and as a senior it will be the last chance that some of my family and friends will be able to see me in a Broncos uniform. I am hoping that I get to make my return to the net this weekend after having knee surgery to repair my patellar tendon four months ago. I've been practicing for a couple weeks now and I'll get word from the docs on Tuesday on whether or not I'm a go for this weekend, so keep your fingers crossed for me!
I am also really excited because my family is hosting a late lunch for the entire team at one of my favorite restuarants, a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza place called Lou Malnati's. My sophomore year we went there as well and it was a big hit with the team. It's fun to share the place with my teammates who don't get to experience REAL deep-dish out here in California!! The closest thing I've found to it is Zachary's Pizzeria in Oakland, but to me it's not the same, so I am going to enjoy every last bite on this trip because I'm deprived of the place for about 9 months out of the year while I'm at school.
This weekend will also be fun because the volleyball team is traveling to Notre Dame as well. I'm hoping we get a chance to see them play on Friday morning, as we can't go to their Sunday match because we play at almost the same time. From talking to "Danger" (Kim McGiven), I've heard rumors that they are going to be in full fan force (body paint and all) at our game Friday against Harvard!
It's gonna be a big weekend! Our team and the volleyball team will be doing our best to put up some W's in South Bend. Don't forget to watch us take on the Irish on ESPNU on Sunday!
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Wilderness Survival: SCU Women's Soccer Style!
Hello everyone! Preseason is winding down and double days are FINALLY over! We are currently preparing for our first game this Friday against Wake Forest with lots of 11 v. 11 and dead ball training sessions as well as reviewing defensive video from last years games. Opening night is always really exciting for the team and we are hoping that Friday we have a large crowd to feed off of. We played Wake Forest last year in Winston-Salem, N.C. and tied them 0-0 so it should be a pretty exciting and entertaining game.
Last week our team went on a camping adventure just outside of Auburn, Calif. on the South Fork of the American River. The trip is called the "Lark and Roger Chastain Annual Preseason Trip". It was named in honor of Brandi's parents who were two of the biggest supporters of Santa Clara Women's Soccer. We did this exact camping/rafting trip last year but this time we made sure we arrived when it was light out because last year we showed up at about 10 p.m. and had some slight problems setting up tents in the dark! After arriving, some of us decided to battle the current and take a swim in the river as well as put the rope swing to use, while some of us decided to make a dent in the hundreds of dollars worth of Costco food after setting up the tents.
No camping trip is complete without challenges and we definitely had a lot of them! Our first challenge of the trip arrived when we started to barbecue burgers and dogs for dinner and realized we were without a spatula or charcoal and firewood. Jerry ended up having to go on a quest to find fuel for the fire and we ended up having to borrow a spatula from some neighboring campers. Very soon after we were greeted with another challenge, somehow, in between all the trainings and meetings when we were planning our camping trip, we forgot to include flashlights and lanterns on the list, so we had to work it out with our one fire and the glow of cell phones. I guess it's a good life lesson though...always be prepared or find some other way to make things work out!
In the morning we got up at 6:30 am and went whitewater rafting on the middle fork of the American River. We put the rafts in at the Oxbow reservoir dam and were greeted (and awakened) by the first rapid of the day called "Good Morning". Nothing like getting drenched by low 50-degree water first thing in the morning! Soon after we went through the most impressive rapid on the river called "Tunnel Chute". Since we had been here before we knew that they took pictures on this rapid, and Casey, Elyse and a few others decided to have some fun and make funny faces on the way down the drop (we got to see the pictures later). A couple hours in we stopped for lunch on the river bank. If you ever get a chance to raft the American River, I highly recommend it! The water is amazingly clear and the canyons and mountains are beautiful. Our day on the river was amazing and we all had a lot of fun in the sun!
When we got back we got to look at the pictures from earlier in the day and hilarity ensued. I actually laughed so hard I cried at the sequence of pictures of Casey's face going down Tunnel Chute...I can't even describe what it looked like but it was pretty much one of the best faces I've ever seen anyone make!
That night we grilled salmon and tri-tip (rough life, I know!) and afterwards were serenaded by the musically talented people on our team while we enjoyed smores. Tina is a singer/songwriter/guitar player, Snell sings (beautifully, I must add), and Lisa writes amazing lyrics. Being Tina's roommate I have the privilege of listening to her play all the time, but this was the first time the team really got to experience all of her songs. Tina played about four or five of her own songs and a couple by Dave Matthews and Tristan Prettyman. Tina also played her song dedicated to our team's core values which definitely gave the coaches and the team a laugh. She's gonna be famous one day, I know it! Along with listening to amazing songs, we got to enjoy the night sky away from the lights and smog of civilization.There were tons of stars and also at this time of year there is a meteor shower and we got to see some shooting stars and the coaches actually saw a really bright meteor on the first night.
The next morning we woke up, ate breakfast, and packed up. After packing we started our team building activities. There were three events. The first event consisted of everyone on the team standing on a log at random. We then had to organize the entire team in numerical order on the log without falling off. It took a lot of communication and manuevering, but after about 15 minutes we got it! In the next event, we were split into two groups. It's a little hard to describe in words but the coaches had drawn out 25 squares within a larger square and there was a set pattern that the entire team had to walk through without messing up. If you messed up you had to walk back through the squares the way you came, and if you messed that up you got a 30-second penalty. The object is to get the entire team through the pattern in the fastest time possible. This also involves a lot of communication and listening. We did this activity last year and I can't remember who won but it was by a lot. This year both groups got the same exact time which was pretty crazy. The third and final event was a swimming relay race/trivia game. There were four teams and each member of the team had to swim out to the rock (against the strong current in 50 degree water, which is not easy) in the middle of the river to retrieve a clue that would lead us to the answer that would win the game. Each team had the same set of clues, but there was one blank one, and one that had nothing to do with the answer. Some of the clues were "1985", "Green and white uniforms" and "2006 NCAA Mens Basketball Final Four Participant" One of the groups ended up getting the answer (which was George Mason University, who won the Women's NCAA soccer championship in 1985) on the second or third clue so the game ended pretty quick and some people didn't even have to swim.
All in all it was a great trip as it gave our team a chance to get to know everyone away from the soccer field, especially the newcomers. I definitely feel like we bonded a lot and hopefully that will help us out during the season. Well...hopefully you've made it all the way through this LONG entry and are still reading! Hopefully next week I'll be able to talk about a victorious weekend! See you out there this Friday...GO BRONCOS!
Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Getting the Band Back Together!
Hello Bronco fans!! I hope you are all as excited as my teammates and I are for the upcoming season! Summer is over and August is here, and that means one thing to us....preseason! We've been training for about a week and things are starting to come together very nicely. It was great to see everyone on the first day as much of the team was scattered over the summer playing for summer league and club teams. The rest of us who stuck around Santa Clara for the summer spent our time relaxing, going to the beach, working internships, coaching SCU soccer camps, and working on our NEW LOCKER ROOM! We recently moved out to a bigger facility next to Buck Shaw Stadium in order to accommodate our large roster, and we also got a few upgrades in the process. For the first time we have couches and a TV in our locker room, which is nice because we can watch movies or take naps in between training sessions and meetings.
This week we have been working hard during double days as well as going to meetings and doing recovery workouts in the pool...but that doesn't mean we aren't having fun! Mostly during preseason we watch movies, but we actually found some time to get a game of charades in at the Leavey Center and Fred Smith, a member of the athletic department staff actually played with us. Watching our team do games is pretty funny because we all get super competitive and try to find the hardest thing we can think of to make the other team act out. I'd have to say the hardest one of the day to act out was the movie "Jumanji"!
On the first day of preseason meetings, Tina decided she was going to put her drawing skills to work and do blind-contour drawings of everyone's faces on the dry erase board. For those of you who haven't taken an art class, blind contour drawing is where you look only at the subject and not at the actual surface you are drawing on, and you can't pick up your pencil or pen; you have to do the whole thing in one line and without looking. Needless to say, we ended up with some pretty funny-looking drawings on the board. We came to the conclusion that some people on our team looked like Sloth from the movie "The Goonies" according to Tina's drawings!
This week we also had a team dinner at Brittany, Kendall, and Jordan's house. During the fall we always have lots of team dinner and barbecues and this one was a great way to start the fall. We ordered and devoured a ton of Maggianos and got a chance to get to know the newcomers to our team off the field. Tomorrow we are off on our preseason trip to the American River at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We're looking forward to having a great time camping and white-water rafting. I will be sure to tell you all about the trip!
Until next time,