Broncos record best season since 2001 team
The Santa Clara
November 8, 2018
Santa Clara Women’s Soccer team blew out Pacific 7-0 Saturday to close the regular season with a 16- 3-1 record, having most wins since 2001 (17-2)—the season the team won the national title. Against opponents outside of their conference, they achieved a 9-1-1 record, which is also the team’s best since going 10-1 in 2001.
The Broncos clinched their postseason berth for the 28th time in program history, earning the third seed in the NCAA Tournament. Santa Clara is in full force for the playoffs, with notable regular season performances by members of the team.
During Saturday’s win, senior Maria Sanchez tied the school’s Women’s Soccer program record with four assists in the game for the second time this season. The record is shared with Mandy Clemens of the 1999 team.
Finishing the regular season with 14, Sanchez documented the most assists in a season since Megan Kakadelas produced the same statistic in 2002. Sanchez’s contributions, including five goals of her own, have led the team’s offense to 15th-best in the nation.
The high ranking is also thanks to scorers like junior Maddy Gonzalez, who is currently the team’s leader in goals scored with eight this season. Sophomore Kelsey Turnbow and junior Kelcie Hedge each had seven on the year, and first-year Skylar Smith scored six.
Senior goalkeeper Melissa Lowder started all 20 of the regular season games on the defensive end. She secured seven shutouts and recorded 68 saves in the net.
Santa Clara will begin their run in the NCAA tournament this upcoming Saturday when they host Milwaukee in the first round.
“It is so great to be home and play on our home turf with an undefeated season here,” Lowder said, according to Santa Clara Athletics.
Women’s Soccer Head Coach Jerry Smith compared the current team to his 2001 national championship team.
“Both teams were capable of beating the best teams in the country during the regular season,” he said. “That ability to beat the best in the country during the regular season gives a team some additional confidence when playing great teams in the NCAA Tournament.”
Coach Smith has been head coach of the program since 1987, and since then, he has brought national success to the program, from leading the Women’s Soccer team to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance to bringing 28 of his 32 teams to the postseason.
Smith was asked if his coaching experience will prepare him for this year’s playoffs.
“Each year is unique,” Smith said. “Coaching is more art than science, so it’s really tough to know. We feel our coaching staff is very experienced, and that is certainly helpful.”
He then regarded the preparation of the team as a whole, explaining that their regular season has prepared them well for the possibility of winning one or more matches in the tournament. Smith feels they are prepared, however the results of the tournament depend on the matchups, as each game is also unique.
“We have never played Milwaukee, nor have I ever seen them play,” Smith said. “They have only one loss on the season, so they are very good. We will use the next couple days to try and figure out how well we matchup with them and hopefully come up with a good game plan for our team.”
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