Nine Former Broncos in WUSA Playoffs

Nine Former Broncos in WUSA Playoffs

Aug. 12, 2003

ATLANTA - The Santa Clara University women's soccer program will be represented by nine former Broncos when the Women's United Soccer Association playoffs kick off this weekend. Leading the way is 2002 NCAA Player of the Year Aly Wagner, who will compete for the second-seeded San Diego Spirit.

The top-seeded Boston Breakers will host the Washington Freedom on Saturday at 1 p.m. Pacific time on PAX TV, while the second-seeded Atlanta Beat will host the Spirit on Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPN2. The winners will advance to San Diego, Calif., for an Aug. 24 showdown for Founders Cup III.

Heather Aldama and Devvyn Hawkins play for Boston, and will face fellow Bronco graduates Emmy Barr and Jacqui Little of Washington. In the other semifinal, Nikki Serlenga and Kylie Bivens compete for Atlanta and will face Wagner, Jennifer (Lalor) Nielson and Kim Pickup of San Diego.

The nine SCU representatives mark the second-most from one university. North Carolina leads a group of 30 represented colleges and universities with 12 players. Stanford and Connecticut tie for third with four former players each.

Since the WUSA was founded in 2001, 19 Broncos have been selected to teams over the past three seasons. Twelve of those athletes played in the 2003 season, the league's third. Santa Clara also has the distinct honor of producing the last two No. 1 draft picks, in Danielle Slaton and Wagner. As a rookie, Slaton led the Carolina Courage to the 2002 Founders Cup, while being named the league's Defender of the Year. As SCU's most famous alumni, Brandi Chastain led a group of four former Broncos to win the inaugural WUSA Championship.

San Diego's Kim Pickup played for the Broncos during the 1996-99 seasons.

The Breakers match against the Freedom will showcase two offensive teams. Washington is led by the league's top two scorers-Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach-have outscored all other WUSA teams this season, tallying 40 goals in 21 matches. Boston features the always-deadly international pair of Dagny Mellgren and Maren Meinert. Facing the high-flying attackers will be two of the best goalkeepers in the league, as Washington's Siri Mullinix and Boston's Karina LeBlanc will be playing for the USA and Canada, respectively, in this fall's Women's World Cup.

In the other semifinal, Atlanta's cohesive defense, led by USA goalkeeper Briana Scurry, will be tough to get past. The Beat allowed just 19 goals all season, a league record. Atlanta also features a potentially devastating attack led by Charmaine Hooper, who scored 11 times this season. San Diego counts on Julie Fleeting and Christine Latham, a creative midfield anchored by U.S. national team stars Julie Foudy and Wagner, and an organized back line featuring U.S. veteran Joy Fawcett.

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