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1. Santa Clara women put suspensions behind them
August 31st, 2006 1:55AM
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No. 2 Santa Clara will be depleted when it travels to No. 3 Notre Dame this weekend to face Harvard Friday and the host Irish Sunday (TV: ESPNU, live, 1:30 pm ET) at the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic, but it won't be anything like last weekend.

The Broncos are missing Amanda Poach and Jordan Angeli, who are representing the USA at the Under-20 World Championship in Russia. Veteran goalie Julie Ryder is rehabbing from knee surgery, and Tina Estrada, last year's No. 2 scorer, is perhaps lost for the season with a knee injury suffered during the offseason.

But those losses are nothing compared to what Coach Jerry Smith faced last weekend at the Broncos' adidas Classic. Santa Clara suspended 14 players for undisclosed violations. Seven players served their suspensions for the opener against Wake Forest, and the seven others sat out the second game against Utah. Both matches ended in 1-0 Santa Clara victories.

The San Jose Mercury News reported the violations involved alcohol, according to a source close to the situation.

"These players are good kids and I stand behind them," said Smith. "However, they made a mistake and they have acknowledged that. They all have accepted the consequences of their actions."

Smith has brought in back-to-back stellar freshman classes. Just as important this season could be a pair of transfers. Hillary Schwarzbach (USC) stepped in at right back and did a good job in her Bronco debut. Chioma Igwe (Cal) won a lot of balls in the midfield.

    Santa Clara's Schwarzbach and Igwe aren't the only transfers who have had an impact. Here's a look at key transfers at other women's top 15 schools:
  • No. 3 Texas A&M: Elisabeth Jones, who brings incredible speed, power and passion to the Aggie attack, started in the 1-0 win over North Carolina. She was a second-team All-SEC pick at Kentucky in 2004 and has a 4.0 GPA in A&M's pre-med program.
  • No. 7 UCLA: Molly Kruger, a 2005 All-Big Ten freshman pick as Indiana, started the first two games in midfield for the Bruins, who have five players at the U-20 World Championships in Russia.
  • No. 11 Marquette: Allison Mallams is another smart, speedy player who can really push the ball forward. She scored two goals in her Marquette debut against Bowling Green (3-0). She scored 41 goals in two seasons at NAIA school William Jewell.
  • No. 14 Florida: The Gators started three transfers in their 1-1 tie with defending champion Portland: Stacy Bishop (LSU), Erin Davis (Texas) and Shelley Lyle (VCU).
  • No. 15 Georgia: Former Virginia Tech star Ashley Stinson scored two goals in the Bulldogs' 5-0 victory over Mercer. Ali Yoculan (Vanderbilt) recorded an assist against Mercer.

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