Nov. 12, 2003
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Santa Clara University junior midfielder Leslie Osborne was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, the league announced this afternoon in conjunction with its annual awards. Freshman midfielder Lauren Zealear was named the conference's Freshman of the Year, while seven other Broncos also earned All-WCC honors.
Osborne's selection of Player of the Year marks the sixth time in the last seven years that the Player of the Year award has been received by a Bronco. Similarly, Zealear becomes the sixth SCU player in the last eight years to receive Freshman of the Year honors. Additionally, Osborne becomes the only the 10th three-time All-WCC honoree.
Senior defender Chardonnay Poole and freshman goalkeeper Julie Ryder join Osborne and Zealear on the All-WCC First Team. Ryder becomes the first freshman goalkeeper to garner first-team honors since Portland's Angela Harrison accomplished the feat in 1997. Junior defender Jessica Ballweg was named to the league's second team, while honorable mention honors were received by junior Megan Kakadelas, sophomore Micaela Esquivel and freshmen Tina Estrada and Tiffany Roberts.
Osborne, of Menomonee Falls, Wis., is a team captain for the Broncos. A preseason All-America candidate by Soccer America and Soccer Buzz magazines, she earned All-Tournament team recognition at the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic and SCU adidas Classic. She is one of three players that has started all 20 contests and boasts a team-leading 11 goals and six assists for 28 points on the season. She earned her first career hat trick against No. 7 Pepperdine and scored in the 24th minute against Portland, becoming only the second opponent to notch a first-half goal against the Pilots. Osborne has 103 career points, becoming only the eighth Bronco, and 14th WCC player, to notch 100 career points.
Zealear, of Nevada City, has started 18 contests and seen action in all 20 matches. She began the season at defense, but has since moved to the midfield and has two goals and three assists for seven points this season.
The WCC Defensive Player of the Year went to Portland's Imani Dorsey, while Gonzaga's Shannon Stiles was selected by her peers as the WCC Coach of the Year after leading a much improved Bulldogs' squad to its best year in program history.
Santa Clara will face Bay Area rival Stanford in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions and 2002 College Cup finalists, are the tournament's ninth overall seed.
The Broncos, ranked third in the country with a 12-3-5 record, will be making its 15th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received the West Coast Conference's automatic berth into the Tournament after winning its third straight league Championship last weekend. The Broncos have advanced to the College Cup on nine occasions.
Please Click Here for a PDF of the WCC Release that lists all honorees.