Santa Clara University

Santa Clara Magazine

Bronco Sports


Bronco athletes of the year

Peter Lowry '08 of the men’s soccer team and Crystal Matich '08 of volleyball were named the 2008 Santa Clara Athletes of the Year.

Lowry was named the MVP of the West Coast Conference after scoring a career-high eight goals and recording seven assists this season. He finished his career with 22 goals, seventh all-time at Santa Clara. He was drafted 26th in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by the Chicago Fire.

Matich was also named WCC Player of the Year, the fourth setter ever to receive such honors. Considered the “quarterback” of the volleyball team, Matich helped lead the Broncos to their fifth WCC title and their 10th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.


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Shining on the diamond

Thain Simon '11
Thain Simon ’11 on the mound
Photo: John Medina
In baseball, the Broncos compiled their best season in 11 years and the most successful under head coach Mark O’Brien, in his seventh year at the helm. The team racked up 33-22 record overall and finished third in the WCC. Pitcher Thain Simon was named the West Coast Conference’s 2008 Freshman of the Year. Simon also received Louisville Slugger, NCBWA, and Baseball America Freshman All- America team honors. Nine more Broncos joined Simon in receiving All-WCC honors, the largest group of SCU honorees since the 1996 season.

Simon made nine mound appearances in WCC play, posting a 2-2 record and recording a pair of saves, while brandishing a 2.85 ERA in league play. Simon tied for second in the conference with a 9-2 record. He was also named to the All-WCC and All-Freshman teams.

This summer Simon, who was born in Toronto, joined the Canadian team for the fourth annual university world championship, where eight teams squared off in a series hosted in the cities of Brno and Ostrava in the Czech Republic.


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Making the grades


Corey Utsurogi '08
Corey Utsurogi '08
Photo: David Gonzales
Bronco student-athletes raised their cumulative grade point average to 3.025 this spring. The spring term alone, SCU student-athletes compiled a 3.08 GPA, which matches the previous single term high from Spring 2005. Leading the way for Santa Clara in the spring quarter was the women’s golf team, which posted a team GPA of 3.7.

Through the 2007-08 academic year, Santa Clara had 15 student athletes earn WCC All-Academic honors. Five members of the women’s golf team were named to the National Golf Coaches Association All-Scholar-Athlete team. A dozen men’s water polo players received WWPA All-Academic honors. Mitch Henke '08 and Elizabeth Doran '08 of Bronco basketball received ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VIII honors as well as Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete accolades, and Matt Hatzke '08 of the men’s soccer team earned ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America honors.

For the second straight year, two SCU athletic programs were recognized by the NCAA for their Academic Progress Rate scores: women’s soccer and women’s water polo.

Five Santa Clara student-athletes won places on the WCC All-Academic teams this spring: Hilaire Fouts '08 and Corey Utsurogi '08 of women’s golf; junior Alex Bon of men’s golf; senior Heather Lynch of women’s crew; and junior designated hitter and catcher Geoff Klein of baseball.


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Meet Mountain

Santa Clara's new women's basketball head coach, Jennifer Mountain, gives the scoop on coaching, playing, and volcanoes.

Interview conducted, edited, and condensed by Lisa Taggart

Jennifer Mountain
What life lessons have you learned from basketball?
Lessons and basketball go hand in hand. You have ups and downs, like there are every day in life. Overall, what you learn is teamwork—that’s huge. In basketball and life, you’ve got to be able to work with others, and adapt.

When you’re out recruiting, what do you say about Santa Clara?
We appeal to someone who is academically strong and wants to participate in athletics at a high level. Santa Clara takes care of the whole person. That’s really important to me. My team sells the program. Once students get on campus here and see how beautiful it is, it’s easy.

You were a stand-out player at Gonzaga, scoring 1,422 points overall, including 465 your senior year before graduating in 1991; how has the game changed since then?
The game is much more athletic now. The plays are mostly the same, but athletes overall have improved. And the resources for kids have improved. Now kids are so sport specific, they’re playing just basketball from age 7. Being so specific is not necessarily good. I think the more well-rounded an athlete is, the better.

Since you were a Gonzaga player, earned two degrees there, and worked as the top assistant basketball coach for the Bulldogs, how do you expect you’ll feel facing the team as SCU head coach?
I will be extremely anxious and intent on winning. I helped recruit those kids, so we’ll be facing people that I love. I’ll be competing against one of my best friends. But that’s not going to detract from the fact that I’m going to beat them.

What are your greatest priorities going into the 2008-09 season?
I want to make sure this year’s team can get our system started. We’ve been injured, we’re a little bit behind. We have a really good nucleus here though, and strong kids coming in. And this year everything is new for everybody.

You’ve coached men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball. How is coaching women different from coaching men?
The overall coaching experience is not different. I expect the same things of the girls and the guys. It’s not a gender thing at all. It’s a personality thing. Coaching is teaching, and to teach, you have to learn the personalities of your students. Some people can handle getting yelled at, some can’t. And there are sensitive guys just as much as sensitive girls.

What's the most common mistake players make?
Four years go by so fast. If you don’t put forth the effort from the get-go, you lose time—and it’s gone. Most women are not going to play professionally. Until you’re in a position where you’re no longer competing, you don’t realize what you have. Students can get out of school and then think, "Oh I should have worked harder." By then, it’s gone.

You have an interesting last name for a basketball player; has it generated any nicknames?
I grew up in Portland, during the time that Mt. St. Helens erupted. And I remember being young and getting mad about something and my friends teasing me, saying, “Look out, she’s gonna blow!” Other than that, no, no nicknames.


For a recap of spring sports, visit www.santaclarabroncos.com.