Santa Clara is among the nation’s best, says Sports Illustrated

Santa Clara Athletics ranks fifth in the nation for the ’06-’07 season.

Thanks in large part to having three fall sports ranked in the top 10 of their respective polls, Santa Clara Athletics was ranked fifth in the nation by Sports Illustrated in the magazine’s first set of all-sports rankings for the 2006-07 athletic year. SCU was also the highest-ranked non-football school on the list—an even more significant accomplishment, since SI calculates its rankings based on all fall sports, but gives additional weight to football.

So how did the Broncos rise to such heights? Santa Clara’s women’s soccer team led the way at No. 3 in the country, with men’s soccer at the No. 7 spot in the polls, and women’s volleyball, which reached the Final Four last season, kicked off the year ranked No. 8. “To have three teams in the Top 10 is a phenomenal accomplishment,” said Dan Coonan, director of athletics and recreation. “And we are happy to be recognized by Sports Illustrated for our efforts.”

The 2006-07 athletic season also got underway with Santa Clara student-athletes establishing themselves as some of the best in the West Coast Conference, capturing a bevy of player of the week awards in volleyball and women’s soccer.

…as for women’s soccer, make that the best

After the first weekend of the soccer season, Soccer Buzz released its poll of national rankings: coming off a pair of quality wins over Wake Forest and Utah, Santa Clara took over the top spot. “We put the schedule together so that we may play against the best teams in the country,” said head coach Jerry Smith. “We hope that we bring in great talent and highly-ranked teams, because it forces our team to deal with that pressure and to prepares us for the NCAA Tournament.” AJ

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