Men's Soccer is College Cup Bound
Dec. 6, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Two goals from Kelechi Igwe sparked the sixth-ranked Santa Clara University men's soccer team to a 3-1 victory over Michigan in the Elite Eight Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium. With the win, the Broncos advance to the 2003 College Cup in Columbus, Ohio, the fifth trip to the national semifinals in program history. Santa Clara improves to 16-3-4 overall while Michigan's season ends with a 14-7-1 mark and a quarterfinal appearance in only the fourth year of the program's existence.
Igwe scored SCU's first goal at the 10:15 mark of the first half as he slid the ball past Wolverine netminder Peter Dzubay for a 1-0 lead. Igwe's fifth goal of the year was setup off a throw in from Matt Upton whose toss was flicked on by Kirk Fonseca to the waiting feet of Igwe.
Michigan responded at the 28:31 mark when Mychal Turpin netted his 14th goal of the season on a one-touch goal off a deft crossing pass from Ryan Sterba.
From there both teams remained physical on the field as the rain continued to pour on an already soaked Buck Shaw Stadium surface. As the end of the first stanza approached both teams seemed destined to enter the locker rooms tied at the intermission. However, a costly handball inside the penalty box by a Michigan player gave Jason Cunliffe a free kick from the mark and he gave the Broncos' a 2-1 lead on the penalty kick at the 42:33 mark.
Both keepers had one save at the break and both teams managed five shots apiece while Santa Clara held a 12-10 advantage in penalties.
In the second half Santa Clara came out as the more aggressive team despite the disparity of time of possession early in the second stanza. The Broncos were whistled for 11 second-half penalties, while the Wolverines committed only four fouls.
As time went on and Michigan continue its pressure forward, the Broncos mounted more and more counter attacks and it finally paid off in the 81st minute as Audren Cashman sent a ball into the 18-yard box where Keith DeVey had his shot deflected off the keeper. The ball bounced off Dzubay's hands right to an oncoming Igwe's who calmly headed home the insurance goal that the Broncos were looking for. His seventh goal of the season and second of the match gave SCU a commanding 3-1 lead with less than 10 minutes to play.
Michigan never really mounted any threatening attack after the third goal was scored by the Broncos, leading many of the 1,917 rowdy fans at "The Shaw" to storm the field when the clock hit triple zero.
With the win, Santa Clara Head coach Cameron Rast can now boast of trips to the College Cup in three different capacities. He led SCU to the Co-National Title with Virginia in 1989 as a sophomore defender for the Broncos and returned again in 1991 when his team was defeated in the Championship match by Virginia, 3-1 on penalty kicks.
As an assistant coach he helped the Broncos to back-to-back appearances in the College Cup in 1998 and 1999. Santa Clara was ousted in both the 1998 semifinals and the 1999 championship match by Indiana University.
Ironically enough, Santa Clara's first opponent in the 2003 College Cup will be Indiana who upset top-ranked UCLA by a 2-1 score Saturday night in Westwood, Calif. The Broncos and Hoosiers will square off Friday, December 12th at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio State University is serving as the host of the 2003 College Cup.