Santa Clara Broncos
2012 Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #2 West Coast Conference
Santa Clara Team Page
The Santa Clara Broncos come into the 2012 season in the West Coast Conference as a typical Jerry Smith team with plenty of talent and a loaded non-conference schedule starting with national reigning champs, Stanford. The team should also be a team on a mission after losing in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in 2011 to Cal in penalty kicks. If the Broncos can navigate a difficult out of conference slate against the likes of Stanford, Cal, and Notre Dame, they should be in a nice position to make a run come conference play and then the postseason.
2011 Record: 13-2-6, 6-1-1
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jerry Smith
This Santa Clara squad had outstanding form defensively throughout the 2011 season, only giving up more than one goal in a match on just two occasions against Stanford and San Diego. If they can post similar numbers and hold opponents to around 14 goals in 2012, then the Broncos will be in position for a very special season. Julie Johnston and senior Meleana Shim anchor a very potent midfield for Santa Clara offensively as both led the team last year in assists with four apiece. The ability to not have to completely rely on Johnston to carry the scoring load will be a very important component for Santa Clara to achieve their desired results. Also, senior Lauren Matheson and junior Sarah Jackson will provide vital depth in the midfield and attack as they combined for five goals and five assists in 2011. Sophomore Cate Parchinski returns up front as well looking build on a solid freshman campaign where she had three goals and three assists for the Broncos.
How Molly Mettler adjusts to being the starting goalie will be a question that needs to be answered for Santa Clara during their preseason camp. Mettler played in seven games in 2011 so she does bring some game experience to the table, which should accelerate the transition from the graduated Bianca Henninger. The inability to be more explosive offensively in the second halves of games in 2011 is something that will need to be addressed in the upcoming 2012 season. The Broncos only outscored teams in the second half 15-8, versus 25-6 in the first halves of matches last season. If they can level that statistic out it should help immensely late in the season when goals become more of a premium. And the ability not to give up the late goal to avoid overtimes and the dreaded penalty kick shootouts will enhance Santa Clara’s ability to move on in November in their quest for their 11th College Cup appearance.
The Broncos will be without their all-American midfielder Julie Johnston for the first few weeks of the season as she will be off representing the United States at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan from August 19 to September 8. It will be very important for sophomore defender Sophia Huerta to step up and shoulder some of the scoring load like she did in 2011 when she scored eight goals from her defensive position. Coach Smith didn’t hesitate to utilize her in the attack during her freshman year in 2011. The West Coast Conference was the third toughest conference last season and should be right there again as BYU and Portland should have bounce back seasons. Look for the Broncos, if they can stay healthy, to end up being a threat to a be a top 16 seeded squad by the time the NCAA Tournament rolls around.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament
Goals: Julie Johnston, Junior, MF, 9
Assists: Meleana Shim, Senior, MF, 4 Julie Johnston, Junior, MF, 4
Shots: Sophia Huerta, Sophomore, D, 71
Saves: Molly Mettler, Junior, GK, 19
Madness 2012 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#24 Danielle Weatherholt
#55 Andi Tostanoski