Oct. 13, 2002
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Santa Clara University men's soccer squad opened up its West Coast Conference season with a heartbreaking 2-1 double-overtime loss to the University of Portland Sunday afternoon at Merlo Field in Portland, Ore.
The pace of the first half was dictated by the Pilots who spent the majority of the half in the Bronco half of the field and out-shot the Broncos by a 9-4 margin. Alejandro Salazar got the scoring started for Portland in the 32nd minute, taking a Jarrod Weis pass and slipping it past Bronco netminder Kent Harkness for a 1-0 lead.
Harkness made five first half saves to keep the Broncos in the game, including a sliding stop on a Nate Jaqua breakaway halfway through the first half. Despite breaking down defensively several times in the half, Santa Clara capitalized on one of its four shots in the 40th minute when Jason Cunliffe notched his second goal of the season, slipping a loose ball into the lower right corner of the net from 16 yards out to tie the score at one apiece.
The second half slowed considerably from the first with only five shots between the two squads, of which only two were taken by the Broncos. Neither team could find any rhythm in the second stanza as fouls and sloppy passes forced a lethargic pace. At the end of regulation the scored remained tied at one forcing the Broncos' second overtime match of the season and Portland's third.
The first overtime began more spirited for both teams as the action went back-and-forth across the midfield stripe. Just over three minutes into the period Portland's Jaqua had a breakaway in which Harkness forced his shot wide, prolonging the match. The Pilots had another golden opportunity at the 3:12 mark of the first overtime when Sean Babcock took a crossing pass and sent it in on goal where Harkness made his seventh save of the game.
Santa Clara got off its only shot of the first overtime with less than 10 seconds remaining when Audren Cashmen fired it in on goal from 25 yards out where Pilot goalkeeper Curtis Spiteri made his third save of the game forcing the second overtime period.
The second overtime period started with both teams limping and gasping for air after 100 minutes of hard-played soccer action in which the Broncos committed 20 fouls to Portland's 17. The Pilot's game-winner came just 50 seconds into the second overtime period when Salazar got the ball on a breakaway and slipped it past Harkness for the golden-goal.
All in all the Pilots out-shot the Broncos by a 15-7 margin in the game but it was the Santa Clara defense that kept them in the contest, forcing Portland off sides nine times while being caught off sides themselves only once.
The Broncos will continue its WCC season on the road next Sunday as they take on Gonzaga University at 2 p.m. in Spokane, Wash.