SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara opens the week ranked No. 16 in the country and is coming off its seventh consecutive season-opening victory by topping San Jose State 2-1 on Aug. 19. The win moves the Broncos' all-time record against the Spartans to an impressive 16-0-0.
This week the Broncos (1-0-0) travel to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo for two weekend matches. On Fri. Aug. 26 Santa Clara will take on UC Santa Barbara (1-0-1) at 7 p.m. Sun. Aug. 28 Santa Clara will be at Cal Poly (1-1-0) at 1 p.m.
**Jerry Smith is in his 25th season as SCU head coach (370-116-38)
**Under Smith the Broncos are 17-3-4 during the month of August
**Santa Clara is 9-7-4 all-time against UC Santa Barbara
**The Broncos are 14-2-3 all-time versus Cal Poly
**Goalkeeper Bianca Henninger has been added to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List
**Hennigner has also been nominated for the 2011 Lowe's Senior Class Award
**The Broncos are scheduled to play five teams ranked in the NSCAA Top 25
**SCU returns six players named to the WCC's 2010 all-conference teams
**Bianca Henninger and Marguerritte Aozasa have been named team co-captains
UC SANTA BARBARA: The last time the two teams met Santa Clara topped the Gauchos 2-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium in 2009. Santa Barbara is coming off a 1-1 tie vs. Idaho and a 1-0 win at UNLV this past weekend.
CAL POLY: The Broncos last meeting against the Mustangs came in 2008 when Santa Clara fell 2-1 in overtime. Cal Poly won its 2011 season-opener 2-1 at Cincinnati but fell two days later at Dayton 3-1 in the second game of its season.
SCU HEAD COACH JERRY SMITH: SCU Head Coach Jerry Smith enters his 25th season at the helm of the Santa Clara women's soccer program in 2011. Although he is most known for the development of his players and teams, Smith also produces success and is easily the winningest women's soccer coach in Santa Clara history, having compiled a record of 369-116-38 (.705). Since taking over the head coaching duties at Santa Clara in the spring of 1987, Smith has built the Bronco soccer program into a national power. For 19 consecutive seasons, his Broncos reached the NCAA Tournament prior to 2008 and have consistently ranked among the top 10 teams in the country. He has taken the Broncos to 10 College Cup Final Fours and a national championship in 2001. In addition, his Bronco teams have won nine West Coast Conference titles.
FRESHMAN REPEAT: For the second year in a row the Broncos will have the defending WCC Freshman of the Year on their team. Julie Johnston won the award in 2010, starting 16 games and totaling 1,519 minutes. She led the team with five assists and added two goals to total nine points. Allie Vernon was named co-Freshman of the Year in 2009 as she helped the Broncos advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
HENNINGER UP FOR MAJOR AWARDS: Preparing for what will be a stellar season, senior goalkeeper Bianca Henninger has been named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List as well as nominated for the Lowe's Senior Class Award.
Henninger has a 3.4 GPA as an accounting major and was named to the 2010 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Second Team. Henninger has also been selected to the WCC All-Academic Team twice and the WCC Commissioner's List three times. She has also worked extensively with BAWSI whose goal is to get elementary school girls outside and moving. She was part of the BAWSI Sportspalooza in Spring 2011.
On the field Henninger was named the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 2010 and was a 2010 All-America selection. In addition to being All-WCC in 2010 she was named to the preseason All-WCC team in 2011. In 2010 she collected eight shutouts with a 0.63 GAA and led the WCC with 90 saves and a .865 save percentage.
SISTER SISTER: The 2011 Broncos feature a set of sisters in sophomore midfielder Ellie Rice and freshman forward Brooke Rice. The Rice sisters grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and both played club soccer for the Utah Avalanche. They have a third sister, Nicole, who currently plays soccer at the University of Wyoming.
If the season-opener is an indication of what the Rice girls do when they are on the same team then Bronco fans are in for a treat. Ellie scored both goals in the Broncos' 2-1 victory over cross-town rival San Jose State on Aug. 19. Rice's performance landed her on TopDrawerSoccer.com's Women's College Team of the Week for the week of Aug. 16.
NATIONALLY RANKED: After the first week of play, Santa Clara is ranked 16th in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
2011 NSCAA TOP 20 (As of Aug. 23, 2011)
1. Notre Dame*
3. North Carolina
7. Ohio State
9. Florida State
10. Boston College
11. Oklahoma State
13. UC Irvine*
14. Wake Forest
16. Santa Clara
17. West Virginia
18. Texas A&M
*Santa Clara opponents in 2011
2011 WCC PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Portland - 61 (6)
2. Santa Clara - 53 (2)
2. BYU - 53 (1)
4. San Diego - 47
5. LMU - 33
6. Pepperdine - 31
7. Saint Mary's - 20
8. Gonzaga - 13
8. San Francisco - 13
(First place votes - rankings by NSCAA)
2011 WCC PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE
Cloee Colohan, Portland
Danielle Foxhoven, Portland
Natalie Garcia, San Diego
Bianca Henninger, Santa Clara
Kendall Johnson, Portland
Julie Johnston, Santa Clara
Olivia Klei, Santa Clara
Jordan Marada, Saint Mary's
Tawni Martino, LMU
Stephanie Ochs, San Diego
Michelle Pao, Pepperdine
Carlee Payne, BYU
QUOTABLE: "Overall it was a great start," said midfielder Ellie Rice about the Broncos first game of the season, a 2-1 win at San Jose State. "There are definitely things we need to work on but I thought it was a great way to start our season and we had a lot of great things happen out there."
BRONCOS WELCOME TOP FIVE RECRUITING CLASS: The Santa Clara women's soccer recruiting class of 2015 was recognized as the fourth-best nationally, according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. By welcoming in nine freshmen the returning players and coaches know that it will take a total team effort to make the new players feel at home. "We're excited about the challenge of coming together as a new team," said Smith. "That's what preseason is about: working together and coming together. We know that if we put in the work and find a way to come together, we will enjoy a wonderful payoff at the end of the season." The class features both attacking players who will help with the loss of three starting forwards and players who can excel at several different positions.
BRONCOS ADVANCE INTO NCAA'S SECOND ROUND: After beating defending Mountain West Conference champion San Diego State 1-0 and defending WAC champion San Jose State 2-1 to open the 2010 the Bronco women, who finished the 2010 season ranked No. 19, were awarded for their fantastic season by once again playing in the NCAA College Cup tournament. They beat Long Beach State by a score of 1-0 in the first round but fell to Stanford for the second straight year. Stanford went on to the championship game but ended up losing for the second consecutive year.