Nov. 9, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 14 Santa Clara women's soccer team received an at-large bid into the 2009 NCAA Tournament today after tying for second in the West Coast Conference table and putting together a 13-6-1 overall record. The Broncos, who received a No. 4 seed, will play host to Southern California, Oklahoma State, and Michigan State with the first round beginning on Friday, Nov. 13 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Santa Clara was selected as the sixteenth overall seed in the bracket after holding the No. 14 spot on the most recently published NCAA Ratings Percentage Index. The Broncos will play Michigan State in the first round at 3 p.m. on Friday, while Southern California will play Oklahoma State at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. The winner of the two first round matchups will play Sunday at 4 p.m.
"We are very happy to be one of the top 16 seeded teams in the tournament," said head coach Jerry Smith. "We are excited to be hosting the opening weekend and looking forward to a great opening round game versus a very deserving Michigan State team." This will be the first matchup between Santa Clara and the Spartans in program history. Michigan State went 11-4-4 and finished sixth in the Big Ten with a 4-4-2 record. On the other side of the four-team pod, the Broncos have also never played the Cowgirls in program history, and fell to the Trojans, 2-0, earlier this year at Buck Shaw.
If the Broncos prevail in the first two rounds, they will most likely have a date with undefeated and No. 1 overall seed Stanford at The Farm, should the Cardinal also make it to the third round.
Santa Clara's selection into the tournament was boosted by its 27th winning season in program history, which included key wins over then-No. 5 Notre Dame, then-No. 7 Purdue, and then-No. 23 Colorado in September, tying then-No. 14 California in October, and a strong finish at the end of the season that included holding No. 2 Portland's high-powered offense to one goal and scoring six goals over Gonzaga in the regular season finale.
"Our team is playing our best soccer of the year right now and it's always fun to coach a team that is peaking going into the NCAA Tournament," said Smith. "I am very excited for my entire team. I am especially happy for the seniors who will finish their careers in the NCAA Tournament where Santa Clara always thrives at the end of the year."
Only four NCAA D-I programs (North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, and William & Mary) have more NCAA Tournament appearances than the Broncos. Santa Clara won the national championship in 2001, finished runner-up in 2002, and have been to 10 College Cups and 14 NCAA Quarterfinals (including 11 straight quarterfinal appearances from 1995-2005).
The Broncos are 40-18-1 (.686) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, which qualifies for the sixth-best winning percentage in tournament history and have finished in third place eight times in addition to their national championship and runner-up years.
Tickets for this weekend's NCAA Tournament action at Buck Shaw are available at the Santa Clara Athletics ticket office at the Leavey Center. Fans may also call the ticket office at 408-554-4660. Tickets will cost $8 for adults and $6 for students (with ID), youths, and seniors. One ticket on Friday will admit fans into both NCAA matches. The first 100 SCU students to enter the match will be admitted free courtesy of the Santa Clara Athletics Department.
Also, for Bronco fans, the Santa Clara men are currently scheduled to close out their regular season at home on Friday at 8 p.m. against Loyola Marymount and Sunday at noon against San Diego. Separate tickets must be purchased to enter those matches.