Santa Clara Begins Practice Today to Kickoff Season

Jan. 10, 2006

Santa Clara, Calif. - The Santa Clara softball team has about a month before it takes to the field in its first game of the year, but today officially marks the beginning of the 2006 season, with practice slated to start this afternoon.  Under the guidance of first-year head coach Steve Rianda, the Broncos will be searching for their first Pacific Coast Softball Conference title since 2004 and the winner of the league will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.  After graduating five seniors, there will be many gaps to fill in the line-up this season, but Rianda feels that his team is up to the task.

"We are excited to get the season started. Having worked so hard this Fall, we are eager to show our talent on the field," commented Rianda, who came to the Mission Campus from nearby Notre Dame de Namur after spending four seasons with the Argonauts. "We have depth at every position as well as players who have stepped up to help out in areas they typically have not played. It is a great group of hard working, intelligent, and determined ladies."

Led by outfielder Jessica Clee and second baseman Jenny Brown, the Broncos will rely on the senior duo to guide them to victory, as the pair earned All-PCSC Second Team honors last season. In addition, All-PCSC honorable mention selections Liz Courter and Shannon Linerud return for their final year in a SCU uniform. Catcher Kate Goethals rounds out the Class of 2006.

Although Rianda has only been at Santa Clara since June, he has done an excellent job prepping his team for the upcoming season and has proven to be an asset to the athletic department in his short time as a Bronco.

"My move to Santa Clara has been everything I could have wanted: a team that is willing to work hard, that wants to win and is ready for the season to start," said Rianda, who took over the coaching reigns from former SCU standout Jaime Forman-Lau. "Additionally, the support of the administration and fellow coaches is unbelievable. I look forward to growing with the program and the department."

Santa Clara's first series of the year will be on February 11, when it travels up to Stockton, Calif. to battle with the University of the Pacific in a doubleheader, with game times at noon and 2 p.m. The first home game for Santa Clara will be against Pac-10 power Arizona State, at 6 p.m. at Marsalli Park.