Men's Soccer Begins WCC Season Friday Night Against Defending Champion
Oct. 10, 2001
This Week - Santa Clara vs. San Diego
Santa Clara will begin West Coast Conference play Friday night when the University of San Diego invades Buck Shaw Stadium for an 8 p.m. match. Both teams will be playing in their first of six conference matches this season.
Series Record vs. San Diego
The Broncos and Toreros have met 23 previous times entering Friday's contest, with Santa Clara holding a 15-7-1 advantage.The all-time series dates back to 1981 when Santa Clara defeated San Diego by a score of 4-0 in Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos have a 8-4-0 overall record against San Diego at Buck Shaw Stadium. Santa Clara has won 11 of the last 15 meetings, but have dropped the last three straight to the Toreros by 1-0 scores. Last season Santa Clara out-shot San Diego 16-12, but gave up a goal at the 26:19 mark of the first half which proved to be the difference in the contest. Over the 21-year history of the two school's meetings, Santa Clara has out-scored the Toreros 50-25, and has shut San Diego out eight times.
Sizing Up the Toreros
San Diego enters WCC play with a 7-1-0 overall record, and winners of their last four contests. The only loss the Toreros have suffered on the season came at the hands of Harvard in overtime by a score of 2-1. Most recently, San Diego defeated UCLA on October 5 by a score of 3-0 in front of 1,847 home fans. As a team the Toreros have out-shot their opponents 164-97, outscoring them by a 19-5 margin. Senior netminder Justin Neerhof has played all 720 minutes in goal for San Diego, and has a 0.62 goals-against average. Junior Ryan Coiner leads the San Diego attack with six goals and one assist for 13 points, while fellow junior Sy Reeves is second on the team in points (9), goals (3) and assists (3).
Santa Clara had a rough weekend, dropping both of its games 1-0 in overtime. The Broncos fell to No. 7 Washington on Friday night in Buck Shaw Stadium when the Huskies headed home the game-winner with only 90 seconds remaining in the first overtime period. Deja Vu hit the Broncos on Sunday afternoon against California when the Golden Bearns scored with only 78 seconds remaining inthe first overtime period. The Broncos out-shot their opponents by a combined 21-19 over the weekend, including a 14-7 advantage over Cal on Sunday.
Focus Turns to WCC
As is the case in most seasons, the Broncos will now focus all of their attention to winning the West Coast Conference. Friday night's contest marks the beginning of the 2001 conference schedule for the Broncos, a schedule that includes home matches against San Diego, Portland and Gonzaga. Head coach Mitch Murray is intent on winning the WCC and has given much needed experience to the younger Broncos early inthe season that should prove most beneficial in WCC action. "I think that we have really been gearing towards WCC play in the back of our heads all along. We have tried to get the younger players some experience and handle some of the injuries that we have had to deal with. Our season really comes down to conference play and we have to get out to a good start. We have drawn a match against the favored team first, but the good news is that we have them at our place and hopefully things will really come together. I really expect our guys to come to practice this week inspired and ready to play well."
Last Friday night's game against No. 7 Washington marked the first time all season that Santa Clara started four freshman in a game. Up until then the most that had started a contest all season was three. Steve Cronin got the starting nod between the pipes. Ryan Cochrane and Zach Knight each started on the defensive side, while Jason Pan roamed the midfield. All four players played every minute of the overtime affair, gaining valuable experience heading into WCC action. All in all this season, nine of the 11 freshman have seen action on the field with six of those freshmen getting a start in at least one contest. Ryan Cochrane is one of those freshmen, and is one of only six players onthe team to have started in all 10 contests this season.
The Broncos continue to out-shoot their opponents on the season, leading in that category 148-98. Santa Clara's defense has been stellar as usual, allowing only eight goals in 10 games, and limiting its opponents to a .469 shots on goal percentage. As a team the Broncos have a 0.75 goals-against average, while their opponents have a 0.56 GAA. Rusty Johnson leads the Broncos with a 0.69 GAA while freshman Steve Cronin has a 0.98 GAA in his 183-plus minutes of action.
Following this weekend's WCC opener with San Diego, the Broncos will travel to the University of San Francisco for the third time this season to take on the Dons at Negoesco Stadium on Friday night, October 19 at 7 p.m. Santa Clara played Oregon State and UCLA at Negoesco Stadium during the Diadora Classic hosted by USF in early September. Following the Broncos match with USF, they will return home to Buck Shaw Stadium to face Stanford on Sunday evening at 6 p.m.