Oct. 4, 2000
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara men's soccer team will begin its quest for a seventh West Coast Conference title in the last 12 seasons Friday when it travels to Spokane, Wash. to face Gonzaga in the league opener for both teams. The match is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start at Martin Field.
Santa Clara enters the match with a 5-3-0 overall record following last Thursday's 1-0 overtime loss to No. 1 ranked UCLA at Buck Shaw Stadium. The two teams battled to a scoreless tie in regulation highlighted by back-to-back point-blank saves in the final 10:00 by Bronco junior goalkeeper Rusty Johnson (O'Fallon, Ill.). Johnson recorded six saves in the match, including three in the final minutes of regulation. Bruin senior Shaun Tsakiris scored on a penalty kick at the 100:26 mark of overtime to end the game.
"I think our team is prepared to enter the conference part of the season," said Bronco head coach Mitch Murray. "We have been playing well the last few matches and I think our guys are coming together better as a team. Gonzaga will be a good test for us, particularly because it is a conference match. This is an important match because every conference match means more in terms of putting ourselves in a position to compete in postseason."
Gonzaga is 5-4-0 on the season following its 5-0 shutout of Western Washington last Saturday. The Zags have scored nine goals in their last two matches and are led offensively by senior Jason Kuska's eight goals and 19 points. Kuska is currently second in the WCC in virtually every offensive category.
Following the Gonzaga match, Santa Clara will play its second nationally-ranked team in three games. The Broncos travel down the road to play at seventh-ranked San Jose State Sunday at 7 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.