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Women's Soccer Closes Season At Home Against Santa Clara

Nov. 1, 2006

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The Saint Mary's women's soccer team will close the 2006 season at home on Saturday, November 4 against the No. 4 ranked Santa Clara Broncos at 1 p.m. in Saint Mary's Stadium. The Gaels are 3-12-4 overall and are coming off an 0-1-1 week. SMC opened the week with a 1-1 tie with UC Santa Barbara then lost to San Diego 4-0 on Sunday, dropping to 1-4-1 in WCC play. Santa Clara enters the game riding a three-game win streak and has a 14-3-1 overall record. The Broncos have a 4-1-1 mark in conference play and are tied with Portland for first place in the WCC.

When the Gaels play Santa Clara on Saturday, it will mark the final game for three Saint Mary's seniors McKenna Belzer, Sarah Churchill, and Joelle Gizzi. Saint Mary's will honor the three seniors in a pregame ceremony that will take place on the field before the announcement of the game's starting lineups.

In Thursday's game against UC Santa Barbara, freshman forward Kira Copinga netted her second goal of the season for the Gaels. Normally a reserve, Copinga made her first start of the season and scored SMC's only goal of the game in the 69th minute.

Santa Clara comes into the week with a 14-3-1 overall record and will play California on Wednesday before meeting the Gaels on Saturday. The Broncos are currently in first place in the WCC with a 4-1-1 record against conference opponents. SCU is coming off a 4-0 win over San Francisco on Sunday. The Broncos have out scored their opponents 40-11 this season, while posting seven shutouts on the year. The Broncos have also out shot their opponents by a 267 to 171 mark. Santa Clara has played 11 games against ranked opponents have a 8-2-1 against ranked teams.

Megan Snell is the team leader in points and goals with 25 and 11, respectively. Marian Dalmy and Brittany Klein are second on the team with five goals each. Kiki Bosio leads the team with eight assists and Jordan Angeli is second with seven helpers. Meagan McCray has logged nearly 1300 minutes in goal and has a 0.63 goals against average. McCray has allowed nine goals while stopping 57 shots.

When Saint Mary's and Santa Clara take the field against each other on Saturday, it will mark the 22nd meeting between the two schools. The Broncos hold a 16-3-2 advantage in the series. SCU has won four of the last five games, with the teams playing to a 0-0 tie in 2003. The last win for SMC was a 4-2 victory during the 2000 season.

Freshman midfielder Jessica Menzhuber was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Week on October 9 after scoring three goals in two SMC wins. Menzhuber scored both goals in SMC's 2-0 win over UC Davis and then scored her third goal of the week just six seconds in to the match against USF. The six second goal by Menzhuber matched the second fasted goal in NCAA women's soccer history.

In the wins over UC Davis and San Francisco, Nikki Schrey collected five points scoring two goals and dishing out one assist. Schrey scored twice against San Francisco to move her team-leading goals total to five. Schrey's five goals this season ranks seventh in the WCC in goals scored in 2006. Schrey is just one goal off her pace from last season when she scored six times as a freshman.

Heading into this weekend's two games, fifth-year senior defender Sarah Churchill has played in 79 games in her Saint Mary's career, and is tied with Chelsea Montero and Jill Anderson for the school record of 79 games played in a career. Churchill has started 77 of 79 games in her career.

McKenna Belzer has played in 72 games in her career and has scored a total of 10 goals in her career. Belzer scored a career-high four goals during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. She had her best year in 2004 when she led the team with 13 points on four goals and a career best five assists. She has 34 career points with 10 goals and 14 assists. She also has taken 84 shots in her four-year career.

Sarah Churchill will play in her 80th game on Saturday, which will break the SMC record for games played in a career. Churchill started her SMC career in 2002 when she played all 20 games as a freshman and led the team with eight assists as a midfielder. The fifth-year senior then redshirted the 2003 season before changing to a defensive player for her final three years. She has two career goals, both coming in the 2005 season. She has 11 career assists and has 33 total shots.

Joelle Gizzi is also a fifth-year senior who plays on the defensive line. Gizzi has played a total of 64 games in her career and has 11 career points with two goals and seven assists. Both goals came during her junior campaign in 2004. She then redshirted the 2005 season and returned for her final year in 2006 when she dished out a career-high four assists.

Last week the Gaels posted a 0-1-1 record after games against UC Santa Barbara and San Diego. Saint Mary's opened the week with a 1-1 tied against UCSB as Kira Copinga scheduled her second goal of the season. The Gauchos scored the game-tying goal with three minutes to play. Against the Toreros on Sunday, the Gaels suffered a 4-0 loss in a WCC contest. USD led 1-0 at halftime before scoring three goals in the final 15 minutes of the game.