SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off a trip to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, Santa Clara women's soccer is gearing up for another deep postseason run. The journey begins Friday at Stevens Stadium as the Broncos play a Red and White scrimmage at 7:30 p.m.
"It's exciting whenever you turn on the stadium lights and play a game with people in the stands," Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith said. "The scoreboard will be on, fans will be in the stands, and referees on the field. We'll make it fun and competitive with the players playing for something. The team is looking forward to getting on the stadium field."
The Broncos return several key players, including sophomore Maddy Gonzalez who finished second on the team in goals and assists in 2016. Kellie Peay, 2016 Second Team All-WCC, and Gudrun Arnardottir, the WCC Freshman of the Year and a Third Team All-West Region pick, are also back to anchor a backline that didn't allow more than two goals all year.
In net, Melissa Lowder returns after posting a 0.68 GAA a season ago. She made 74 saves for a .841 saver percentage and picked up eight shutouts en route to being named All-WCC honorable mention.
Santa Clara also welcomes a strong freshman class of nine and some important transfers. Maria Sanchez looks to provide a spark on offense after transferring from Idaho State and Kelcie Hedge will help solidify the midfield after joining the Broncos from Washington.
"We've had a great week of training and the girls are working very hard," Smith said. "We're learning about ourselves. Players are establishing new roles on the team and establishing new relationships. We're really impressed with the group and how focused they are."
The success in 2016, along with such promising newcomers, has the team ready to make a push to the program's 11th College Cup.
"Any time you have a successful year its motivating," Smith said. "A lot of our players went to the College Cup in our backyard last year and realized that very easily could have been them. That concept and experience has motivated this group. We have a great group of leaders, a great group of returners, and a great group of newcomers. Everyone is excited about what will happen this year."
The regular season kicks-off Aug. 18 as Santa Clara hosts local rival San Jose State at 7:30 p.m.
FOR FANS: Admission to the scrimmage is free with general admission seating. There will be no concessions or merchandise available. The Leavey Center lot, located on Accolti Way off El Camino Real, is free beginning at 7:30 p.m. Any other parking facility on campus will be subject to normal daily rates or restrictions, including the main structure, located adjacent to Stevens Stadium on Palm Drive. During the weekend, campus parking facilities are free (except for permit required locations). Click here for a campus map and parking restrictions.
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