Aug. 29, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University men's soccer will open up its 2001 season Friday afternoon at San Diego State University, renewing a rivalry that hasn't been active since 1993.
Santa Clara and San Diego State have met 18 prior times heading into the 2001 season opener, dating back to 1976, with the Broncos holding a 9-7-2 all-time advantage. Over the history of the previous meetings only once has a team won by more than one goal, that occurring in 1981 when Santa Clara defeated the Aztecs 3-1. Santa Clara has outscored San Diego State 20-15 in the 18 previous meetings.
In addition to the history on the field between the two schools Santa Clara head coach Mitch Murray also has close ties to San Diego State. Murray's first major collegiate coaching job came as the top assistant for the Aztecs during the 1983 and '84 seasons. During Murray's time in San Diego, Santa Clara handed San Diego State two defeats, winning 1-0 in `83 and 3-2 in '84.
The Broncos have taken a different approach heading into the 2001 season over previous years, spending a full week in San Diego prior to its season opener. The Broncos have been training and bonding as a team since Saturday at the Olympic Training Center near San Diego.
"We feel that the time in San Diego will be extremely beneficial for the guys," said Murray. "The time will be invaluable for the guys as they will be living with each other, eating with each other, spending time with each other outside of practice, not to mention being able to train at an absolutely first-class facility."
The week down in San Diego will be critical for the players to become familiar with each other. The Broncos have 11 freshmen overall, 10 of which are brand new to the collegiate level. The returning players from last year will utilize this week to acclimatize the new players with the intricate facets of the Bronco program.
San Diego State enters the season opener having won the previous two season openers by a combined score of 11-0 over Christian Heritage and Concordia. The Aztecs return 11 letterwinners and seven starters from a year ago when they finished 6-12-1 overall and 2-4-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Headlining the Aztec returners is Brian Barnes who earned first-team all-conference honors as a sophomore for his league leading 90 saves. Joining Barnes is senior Enrique Tovar who led the Aztecs in scoring with four goals and six assists en route to a second-team all-conference selection.
The Broncos and Aztecs will kick-off their 2001 seasons at 4:00 p.m. at the SDSU Sports Deck.