Men's Soccer Opens NCAA Tourney with a Victory

Nov. 21, 2003

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The sixth-ranked Santa Clara University men's soccer team kept its perfect home season intact with a 1-1 double overtime tie against 15th-ranked SMU to open the 2003 NCAA Championship tonight at Buck Shaw Stadium, prevailing in penalty kicks 4-1.

Junior goalkeeper Steve Cronin kicked home the game-winning score in the shoot-out, as Santa Clara's home record improved to 6-0-2 this season at the Shaw, and 10-0-2 in its last 12 home matches. The Broncos' overall record improves to 13-3-4.

Santa Clara will face West Coast Conference rival Loyola Marymount in the second round of the tournament, to be held Wednesday, November 26 at 2 p.m. at Sullivan Field in Los Angeles. The Lions are the Tournament's 13th seed and received a first-round bye. It will be a rematch of last week's regular-season finale, a 3-0 loss for the Broncos.

The match was physical, with four yellow cards and 54 fouls shared between the teams. The first half was played evenly, as SCU only had a 4-3 shot advantage at intermission.

Santa Clara opened scoring in the 65th minute when Kirk Fonseca's cross was redirected by Erik Ustruck to the far post. It was his fourth goal of the season.

SMU had a strong opportunity just a minute later, when reserve Dario Saintus took a sharply-angled shot from the right that rolled in front of the goal mouth and just wide of the left post. The Mustangs kept attacking and scored 10 minutes later, at 76:31, when Juke Hashimoto's cross drew Cronin out of the goal. Colin Clark beat Cronin to the ball, and netted his shot into the lower left corner to even the match.

The match went into overtime, with Saintus taking a shot that required a diving stop by Cronin midway through the first extra period. Santa Clara took two shots in the second overtime, including a direct kick by Jason Pan with just under a minute left. His shot was saved by Erick Foss, sending the match into penalty kicks.

Ryan Cochrane took the first shot of the shootout, scoring with his right foot to the left corner. Cronin then stopped David Chun's attempt, catching a waist-high attempt to his right. Eric Irvine put the Broncos up 2-0 in the shoot-out with his right-footed shot to the upper right corner. His goal was countered by SMU's Mynor Gonzalez, who scored high with his left foot. Foss didn't attempt to guess Fonseca's shot, a grounder to the left corner that put SCU ahead 3-1 in the shoot-out. Cronin then stopped his second ball, diving low and to his left. Cronin then went on the offensive for the game-winning score.

Santa Clara's win tonight also marked the second over the Mustangs this season, as the Broncos defeated SMU 3-1 in September. The Mustangs end their season with a 13-6-3 record. Santa Clara now holds a 4-1-1 advantage in the all-time series.

The Broncos, the 2003 West Coast Conference champion, are making their 14th NCAA postseason appearance. The third round will be played Nov. 28-30 and the quarterfinals will follow on December 5-7. The 2003 Men's College Cup will be held December 12 and 14 and is hosted by Ohio State University at the Columbus Crew Stadium.

Santa Clara will play the match at LMU without Cronin and Cochrane, who will join the U.S. U21 National Team tomorrow in the United Arab Emirates.