Nov. 27, 2002
Santa Clara University will face Michigan in the quarterfinal of the 2002 NCAA Women's Soccer Championships this Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. It will mark SCU's seventh straight trip to the quarterfinal round. The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions, are the tournament's sixth overall seed, and hosted the first three rounds of the 21st NCAA Championship, topping Creighton and Arizona State, both at 5-1 finals, and Nebraska with a 3-2 score.
The Broncos, ranked fourth in the country with an 18-4-1 record, is making its 14th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received an at-large berth in the 2002 Tournament after earning a share of the West Coast Conference Championship on November 9. Pepperdine, by virtue of a tiebreaker, earned the league's automatic bid. The Broncos have advanced to the College Cup on eight occasions.
On the Michigan Wolverines
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between Michigan and Santa Clara. The two squads faced three common opponents during the 2002 schedule, in Notre Dame, Florida and Pepperdine. The Broncos went 1-1-1 while the Wolverines went 2-1. Michigan is 16-6-1 on the season and earned an at-large berth into the tournament. The Wolverines are ranked 25th and have not been scored upon in the tournament, with shutouts against Oakland (1-0), Miami of Ohio (4-0) and third-seeded Pepperdine (2-0) en route to their first quarterfinal appearance in six NCAA berths. The team is led by Abby Crumpton, who has posted 35 points this season.
The Rest of the Field
Of the 64 teams selected, 12 were from the West Coast, with California and Stanford joining SCU as the other Bay Area teams selected. Additionally, West Coast Conference opponents Portland, Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Pepperdine were placed in the draw. SCU went 6-4 against the tournament field during the regular season. Stanford is the tournament's top seed, followed by North Carolina, Pepperdine, Connecticut, West Virginia, the Broncos, UCLA and Portland.
Advancing Through the Championship
The quarterfinals will be played November 29-December 1. The 2002 Women's College Cup will be held December 6 and 8 at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus the University of Texas at Austin.
More on the NCAA Tournament
North Carolina has captured the title 16 times, but in the 2001 championship game, it was Santa Clara who defeated the Tar Heels 1-0 for the Broncos' first National Championship. All-America midfielder Aly Wagner scored the game-winning goal and returns to the team after spending much of the regular season competing with the U.S. National Team. This is the second year of the NCAA Championship's 64-team field. Four seasons ago, the women's bracket was increased from 32 to 48 teams. In the championship, 29 conferences were awarded automatic berths with 35 teams receiving at-large selections.
Leading the West Coast
Santa Clara is the only team west of the Mississippi to have won an NCAA Women's Soccer Championship, achieving the feat in 2001. North Carolina has won 16 of the previous 20 championships, with George Mason, Notre Dame and Florida as the only other schools to capture the College Cup.
Match Tickets on Sale
Individual match tickets for the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal are on sale through the Department of Athletics' official website www.SantaClaraBroncos.com, and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660, between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In conjunction with its exclusive Internet partner, Official College Sports Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase individual matches via the official athletic website. The price is $8 for adults, $6 for youths, seniors, faculty and students.
Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's entire home schedule returned to the Internet, as a live audio broadcast has been available for a second season on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, Buck Shaw contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on SCU's official athletic website. By logging on, fans receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official scoring computer, allowing users to listen to the audio broadcast and keep up with the statistics simultaneously. Ram Fletcher returns as the voice of the Broncos with SCU men's soccer alumni Mark Wojciechowski adding color commentary.
Wagner Named MAC Hermann Finalist for Third Straight Year
For the third consecutive year, Aly Wagner has been named a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top player in NCAA Division I soccer. This year's honorees will have the distinction of being the first to receive the newly-unified award. This summer's announcement of the unification of the M.A.C. Award and the Hermann Trophy completed the merging of NCAA Division I soccer's three top honors. In 1999, the M.A.C. and the NSCAA came together to create a single award recognizing the top DI players. The winners of the M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy will be decided by a vote of current NSCAA members at the NCAA Division I level. Winners of the Hermann Trophy will be announced at a news conference in Dallas, Texas, on Dec. 12 in conjunction with the NCAA Men's College Cup and the announcement of the NSCAA/adidas All-America teams. The winners will be feted at a dinner in St. Louis on Friday, Jan. 10, 2003. Mandy Clemens became the first Bronco to be honored with the Hermann, when she was announced as the 1999 winner. Christie Welsh of Penn State has the opportunity to join an elite list of soccer players with the announcement of the 15 finalists, joining Mia Hamm and Cindy Parlow, both of North Carolina, as the only women to earn back-to-back M.A.C. honors. Welsh is joined by three other candidates from last year's list of finalists: Wagner; Hope Solo, a senior goalkeeper from Washington; and Christine Latham, a senior forward from Nebraska.
Candau Counts in NCAA Tournament
Junior Kristi Candau has scored eight NCAA Tournament goals in three postseasons for the Broncos, putting her in a four way tie for the top mark in Santa Clara records. Including in that list is current senior Aly Wagner, 1999 Player of the Year Mandy Clemens, and WSUA player Jacqui Little. Additionally, Wagner has posted seven NCAA assists, good for second in SCU postseason records, and leads the list in game-winning goals, with five. Candau is right behind her, posting her third game-winner of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday against Arizona State.
Championship Earns Smith a New 'Do
Last season, the Broncos turned head coach Jerry Smith into a blonde after winning the West Coast Conference Championship. Beginning last season, the WCC adopted an award that rewards the athletic programs within the league that have the top overall performances in conference play. The "Commissioner's Cup" is an all-sports award that utilizes a point system reflecting the finish of each team in conference standings to determine the top overall athletic program in the WCC. At the end of the year the league will present men and women's all-sports awards as well as the overall Commissioner's Cup to the top performing athletic program. The points are awarded based on regular-season or conference championship finishes in the league's 13 sponsored sports, with eight points for the champion, seven for second-place and so on.
With that in mind, Smith challenged his player to win the conference championship not just for their team, but for the good of the entire athletic department. The girls requested some fun and Smith agreed to comply, not knowing what he was agreeing to until after the team captured the title. The Broncos gave their coach a dye job and an ear piercing. He repeated the bet in 2002 and arrived on the sideline for the NCAA Tournament with a Bronco red Mohawk. Like last season, he has promised to maintain the coif through the season.
The Broncos at Buck Shaw Stadium
Santa Clara posted a 151-21-9 record at the 6,800-seat Buck Shaw Stadium over the last 16 seasons, including an 11-0-0 record in 1999. Over the last seven seasons, the Broncos are 74-7-3 (.899) at Buck Shaw.