Ryder, Zealear Named SB Freshman of the Year Finalists

Nov. 20, 2003

NEW YORK - Santa Clara University women's soccer freshmen Julie Ryder and Lauren Zealear have been named two of 12 finalists for Soccer Buzz Magazine's Freshman of the Year award.

Zealear, a midfielder from Nevada City, Calif., was named the West Coast Conference's Freshman of the Year last week, becoming the sixth Bronco in the last eight seasons to earn the honor. A first-team All-WCC honoree, Zealear has started 20 contests and has seen action in all 22. 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.

Ryder, of DeKalb, Ill., is also a first-team All-WCC honoree, and with that recognition, became the first freshman goalkeeper to garner first-team honors since 1997. She has started 15 contests and currently ranks third in the country with a 0.46 goals-against average. She has eight shut outs, including two in the NCAA Tournament, and boasts a 12-1-2 record, her only loss to second-ranked Notre Dame. Ryder has made 43 saves on the season.

Awarded annually since 1996, the 2003 Freshman of the Year will be the eighth recipient recognized by the online magazine devoted exclusively to women's collegiate soccer. The winner is based on a vote open to all 299 Division 1 head coaches and Soccer Buzz staff. In 2002, Soccer Buzz named Lindsay Tarpley of North Carolina as National Freshman of the Year.

Lauren Zealear is the 2003 WCC Freshman of the Year.

On Sunday, Santa Clara will face conference rival Portland in a rematch of last year's NCAA Championship match. However, this year's contest won't be played at the College Cup, it will be a third-round battle at Merlo Field in Portland, Ore. The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions and 2002 College Cup finalists, are the tournament's ninth overall seed, while the Pilots are seeded eighth. Santa Clara is currently riding a 13-match unbeaten streak.

The Broncos, ranked third in the country with a 14-3-5 record, is 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 WCC Championship on November 8. The Broncos have advanced to the College Cup on nine occasions.

Portland is 18-3-2 on the season and earned an at-large berth into the tournament. Santa Clara defeated the Pilots 2-1 in double overtime on Nov. 2 en route to an undefeated conference season. SCU leads the all-time series against the Pilots by a 12-9-1 margin.

Soccer Buzz Freshman of the Year Finalists

Name PositionSchool
Melanie Booth D Florida
Jen Buczkowski MF Notre Dame
Ali Christoph MF Tennessee
Courtney Foster MF Clemson
Stephanie Lopez D Portland
Jessica Maxwell D North Carolina
Heather O'Reilly F North Carolina
Julie Ryder GK Santa Clara
Becky Sauerbrunn D Virginia
Christie Shaner D Notre Dame
Rosa Ann Tantillo F USC
Lauren Zealear MF Santa Clara
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