Youth Highlights Women's Soccer's 2017 Season

Youth Highlights Women's Soccer's 2017 Season

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara women's soccer finished the 2017 season ranked No. 20 in United Soccer Coaches poll and No. 21 in the RPI after making a run to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. With their appearance in the national quarterfinals in 2016, the Broncos made at least the third round in consecutive seasons for the first time since going 11 years in a row from 1995-2005.

In typical Santa Clara fashion, the Broncos faced one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2017. They played eight teams (Cal, UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, Stanford, Pepperdine, South Carolina) that were in the top 25 during the season. The Broncos also faced both teams in the national final (Stanford, UCLA) and another that made the College Cup (South Carolina).

After a season-opening 2-1 victory over San Jose State, the Broncos hit a rough patch, going 2-5-1 over their next eight games but did pick up a win over Washington State who made the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

On Sept. 17, the Broncos hosted No. 2 Stanford and had the sixth-largest crowd in Stevens Stadium history. It was the biggest home crowd since 4,017 fans attended the UCLA matchup on Sept. 22, 2006. Despite the loss to the Cardinal, Santa Clara became the first team to shut out Stanford in a half when the match was scoreless after 45 minutes. The Cardinal were averaging more than five goals per game and tied a then-season-low output against the Broncos.

After the loss, Santa Clara won 12 of 13, including nine in a row, with the only defeat coming at the hands of WCC champion Pepperdine, who the Broncos finished just one point behind in the conference standings.

During their nine-match winning streak that lasted until falling at top-seeded No. 5 South Carolina 1-0 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, the Broncos outscored opponents 26-8, picking up three shutouts and scoring multiple goals in each game.

Santa Clara opened the NCAA Tournament with tough road test at No. 19 Cal who had beaten the Broncos 2-1 in Berkeley in the second game of the season. Santa Clara avenged the loss with a 2-1 victory of its own and became the only team to scoring multiple goals against the Bears who entered the match with just nine allowed all season.

In the second round, the Broncos traveled to South Carolina and took down Vanderbilt 3-1.

A tremendous group of young talent led the way in 2017, with 39 of Santa Clara's 51 goals coming from underclassmen and 22 from freshmen. The Broncos 2.22 goals per game were 15th nationally and they led the West Coast Conference in goals (51), assists (37), and points (139).

Kelsey Turnbow finished second in the conference with 13 goals, five game-winners, and 31 points while adding five assists. She became the first Santa Clara freshman to score 10+ goals in a season since Leslie Osborne also tallied 13 in 2001, the year the Broncos won the national title.

Turnbow's WCC Freshman of the Year nod highlighted a list of five Broncos to bring home all-conference honors. Turnbow was also named First Team All-WCC and WCC All-Freshman in addition to First Team All-West Region. Julie Doyle nabbed first team honors and all-freshman as well with Alex Loera being named to the second and freshman teams. Sophomore Maddy Gonzalez was named to the second team with Gudrun Arnardottir nabbing honorable mention.

Gonzalez finished with 10 goals, second on the team, and four assists with Maria Sanchez' six assists tying for the conference lead. Sanchez also added five goals with eight others scoring at least once.

Doyle ended the season with eight goals, third on the team, and three assists despite missing the final five and a half games. Against San Francisco on Oct. 27, Doyle went down with a season-ending injury. If not for her season being cut short, the Broncos had a chance to have the top two freshmen in the league with both scoring double-figure goals.

In net, Melissa Lowder finished the year with 69 saves and a .734 save percentage in 18 matches. Courtney Ogren made six appearances and 17 saves for a .680 save percentage. Lowder finished with four shutouts and Ogren had one.

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