The city of Santa Clara plays host to one of the biggest women’s soccer tournaments in the U.S. this weekend and the home team, Santa Clara University, is hoping to capture another championship. The Broncos will take on BYU, their rival in the West Coast Conference, Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the College Cup at Stevens Stadium on the SCU campus. If they can pull off the victory, they will have a chance on Sunday to win what would be back-to-back women’s NCAA soccer championships.
The other semi-final match at the Stevens Stadium starts at 4 p.m. when Florida State takes on Rutgers. If Florida State happens to win that game and Santa Clara beats BYU, the College Cup Final Sunday at 5 p.m. would be a rematch of last year’s final when Santa Clara, as underdogs, took down Florida State in a penalty shootout. That championship game happened later than usual in May because of season delays due to the pandemic. “There are no secrets. We played them three times in one calendar year,” senior Kelsey Turnbow told KPIX.
It’s been more than a decade since an NCAA women’s soccer team has had a chance to win back-to-back championships. “It would be a good trivia question because it would be two national championships in the same calendar year which has also never happened,” Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith told KPIX.
But, getting past BYU in the semifinal is going to be a challenge. Either way, the West Coast Conference is coming out as a winner. “We think the WCC is an awesome women’s soccer conference and I hope the winner of our game goes on to win the national championship to just put an exclamation point on just how good the WCC is,” Coach Smith told Mercury News.
It’s not very often that there’s a home team advantage in college championship games like there will be this weekend. “It adds a level of pressure,” senior Alex Loera told KPIX. The city of Santa Clara is expecting around 8,200 fans to watch the two games Friday evening at Stevens Stadium so there could be extra traffic and it could be a challenge to park. If Santa Clara wins the championship happens Sunday at 5 p.m. But, if BYU beats Santa Clara in the semifinal the championship game would be moved from Sunday at 5 p.m. to Monday at 5 p.m. due to BYU’s rule that does not allow their teams to play on Sundays.