Written by Monica Griffith '10
Santa Clara junior goalie Bianca Henninger was awarded the prestigious Adidas Golden Glove at the conclusion of the FIFA U20 Women's World Cup in Germany on Sunday, honoring her as the best goalkeeper in the tournament. Henninger played for Team USA who was defeated by Nigeria in a shootout during the quarter finals on July 25.
Prior to its loss, Team USA finished first in its group, Henninger conceding only one goal (in a tie vs. Ghana) during the group stage of the tournament. FIFA.com describes her as "a calming presence," and commends her on her goalkeeping ability and team leadership: "she is also rock-solid when it comes to catching crosses, and communicates well with her defenders."
The 5-6 Los Gatos, Calif. native led the Broncos to the Sweet 16 in 2009, losing 1-0 to eventual NCAA runner-up Stanford. Last season she was named to the NSCAA All-West Region Third Team and earned a spot on the WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention Team. She started 17 of the 19 games played and recorded six shutouts on the year.
She earned first career NCAA Tournament shutout in a 1-0 victory over Michigan State in the first round. She then saved two penalty kicks and scored one in a 6-5 shootout victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament over Oklahoma State.
Henninger took the time to speak to SantaClaraBroncos.com to talk about her experience and what the Golden Glove award means to her.
SCU: What was your experience in Germany like?
Bianca Henninger: Really awesome, it's hard to describe. It was definitely unforgettable. It was rough when we lost, but it was an awesome experience and I will never forget the people I was there with or the places we got to go.
SCU: What kinds of things are going through your mind when you're about to block a shot?
BH: You know, I just try to relax, and just know that I've done the work that needs to be done in order to perform and make the save.
SCU: What did you learn during your experience that you will be able to carry over to your upcoming season at Santa Clara?
BH: I learned that every game matters. Every game is important. You have to compete your hardest every time you play.
SCU: What did winning this award mean to you?
BH: I was really happy to win it. Really it's a thank you to my coaches—Curtis (McAlister) and my coaches for the USA. They worked with me whenever I needed them to and I really wanted to get that because I didn't want all their hard work to go unrecognized.