SANTA CLARA -- The No. 16 Santa Clara women's soccer team starts a difficult stretch Friday night at Buck Shaw Stadium against No. 25 Notre Dame -- the first of four-ranked opponents this month.

Besides the Irish, Santa Clara this month will play No. 12 Cal, No. 4 Stanford and No. 23 Long Beach State, all on the road.

The Broncos (2-1) are led by Mexican international midfielder Sofia Huerta, who has three goals in three games. Notre Dame (2-2), which has lost its last two games, also plays Sunday at Stanford (3-0).

Coach Jerry Smith signed a three-year extension in February to stay in Santa Clara after Notre Dame recruited him to succeed Randy Waldrum, who joined the Houston Dash of the National Women's Soccer League.

Smith, a South Bay native, is in his 28th season with the Broncos.

Notre Dame eventually hired Teresa Romagnolo, a Stanford assistant from 2008-10, who played three years for the San Jose CyberRays in the now-defunct Women's United Soccer Association.



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