July 20, 2009
The Santa Clara women's soccer team will look to rebound in 2009 after posting the program's first under-500 season (4-12-4) since 1983. The Broncos' competition will surely test them throughout the season as head coach Jerry Smith, who enters his 23rd season at the helm of Santa Clara women's soccer, compiled a schedule that is once again among the toughest in the nation.
The 2009 Bronco women's soccer schedule includes two teams that competed in last season's College Cup: Notre Dame (No. 2 final ranking by the NSCAA) and Stanford (No. 4 final ranking by the NSCAA). Santa Clara will also take on five more teams ranked in the final Soccer America Top-25 national poll: Portland (No. 5), USC (No. 8), and San Diego (No. 16), Colorado (No. 22) and Wisconsin (No. 24).
Yet, Smith believes the tough schedule will pay dividends in the long run.
"That kind of formula of playing a very demanding schedule and taking our lumps early in the season has been one that has always paid off for us," said Smith. "As long as we stay healthy I believe it will be one that pays off for us next year."
SCU will also look to make a run at its 20th NCAA Tournament Appearance in the last 21 seasons.
The Broncos will open up the season at cross-county rival San Jose State on Aug 21 at 7 p.m. Santa Clara will host its first match of the season on Aug. 23 against UC Santa Barbara at 1 p.m. before heading on a three game road trip that begin on Aug. 28 at Utah and ends with an East Coast battle at Maryland (Sept. 4) and at Georgetown (Sept. 6).
"We are playing the match at Maryland because we have two players from the state on the team, Hayley Siegel and Amanda Poach," said Smith. "So we always try to bring a team back to an area where we have recruited students."
Santa Clara returns home for the Santa Clara Classic on Sept. 11 and 13. The tournament field includes Stanford, Purdue and Notre Dame. The Broncos will take on Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, and Purdue on Sept. 13 at 1:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Stanford will play Purdue at 5 p.m. on Friday and Notre Dame at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
"There are four potential top-10 teams in this tournament, and we will really find out how good we are that weekend," said Smith.
The Broncos will then travel up the 101 for the Stanford Invitational the following weekend, where SCU will battle Wisconsin (Sept. 18) and Colorado (Sept. 20). A week later the Broncos will host the Titans of Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 25 and USC's Women of Troy on Sept. 27.
Rounding out its non-conference schedule Santa Clara will host Stanford on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m., and California on Oct. 4 at Noon.
The following Friday the Broncos will open the West Coast Conference schedule at San Diego on Oct. 11. Santa Clara will continue their road trip at San Francisco (Oct. 16) and Saint Mary's (Oct. 18). The Broncos will host their first conference match of the season at Pepperdine on Oct. 23 at 5 p.m.
The following week Santa Clara will take on Portland on Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. for its final match of the season. The game can be seen on Fox Soccer Channel. The Broncos will honor their graduating seniors in a pre-game ceremony on that Sunday. Santa Clara brings the 2009 regular-season to a close at Gonzaga on Nov. 7 at 1 p.m.
The NCAA Championship Tournament begins on Nov. 13-15 with the First and Second Rounds at campus sites. The Third Round will be held on either Nov. 20, 21 or 22, with the Quarterfinals on Nov. 27-29. The 2009 NCAA College Cup is scheduled for Dec. 4 and 6 in Cary, N.C.