September 18, 2005

No. 7 Broncos Drop Heartbreaker At Cal

Sept. 18, 2005

Final Stats

BERKELEY, Calif. - When Santa Clara plays Cal in men's soccer, it is always a classic battle. Sunday's match at Edwards Stadium was no different.

Much like last year's NCAA Tournament first round game on the same field, the Bears scored a dramatic goal with the clocking winding down to register a 1-0 victory over the seventh-ranked Broncos.

Cal forward Calen Carr headed in a long throw by Luke Sassano in the 87th minute to snatch the game-winner for the sixth-ranked Bears. Cal improved to 5-0-1 on the season, while Santa Clara fell to 4-2-0.

Each of the last seven matches between the two teams have been decided by one goal or less.

"I thought both teams maintained flow to the game in spurts," said Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast, who's team dropped a 2-1 overtime loss at Cal in last year's NCAA tourney. "Both teams played well in spots and didn't play as effective in others. Cal did a better job of taking advantage of their chances, particularly in the end when it counted.

"This loss stings a bit. But, our team will learn from this and, hopefully, continue to improve. This is why we play matches like this before we get into league play. These are postseason-feel type of matches and should give our guys a similar feeling to what it will be like when they count the most."

The Broncos return to action Friday at 5:30 p.m. against Florida International in the annual adidas Classic in Buck Shaw Stadium. The match will be followed by the SCU women against Saint Louis University at 8 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling the SCU Athletic Ticket Office at 408/554-4660.

The two teams played fairly evenly throughout the game, with each side registering 11 shots apiece and three that were on frame. Cal forced eight corner kicks in the game, while the Broncos were held without a corner through the entire 90 minutes.

The game was accented by a total of 19 fouls and four yellow cards. Cal's Pieter Berger and Carr earned bookings, while SCU's Kelechi Igwe was shown the yellow in the 52nd minute then red-carded for a dangerous tackle in the 86th minute.

The two teams battled to a scoreless draw through the first 45 minutes, but the half wasn't without a number of chances by both sides. The Bears jumped out early, applying pressure to the Bronco defense and forcing three corner kicks in the first four minutes of play.

The Broncos survived a threat in the sixth minute of the game as Cal had three near-point-blank chances in front of the goal. Five minutes later, Carr broke open in front of SCU keeper Christopher Moreo on a long throw but missed the header high over the crossbar.

In the first period, SCU's Erik Ustruck nearly found the back of the goal when he caught Cal keeper Erik Kronberg out of position. He flicked a high lob over the Cal keeper's head and the ball bounced into the underside of the crossbar but was ruled to have not completely crossed the goal line.

Ustruck narrowly missed on another chance in the 28th minute when Igwe dribbled to the right side and sent a pass high across the penalty area. Ustruck one-timed the ball and sent a powerful blast just over the crossbar.

Minutes later Carr missed a chance just right of the goal when Jamil Roberts' strong defensive pressure forced the Cal forward to rush his shot.

In the 39th minute, Igwe sent a shot into the lower left side of the goal off a free kick by Mehdi Ballouchy, but the play was negated by a foul call in the penalty area.

A highlight for the Broncos in the 76th minute was a neat combination in SCU's offensive end of the field. Ballouchy nutmegged a Cal defender and slid the ball to Igwe on the right side. The Belmont, Calif. native took a shot which deflected off a Bear defender and ended up at the feet of Keith DeVey, who crossed it across the box where Igwe narrowly missed giving the Broncos a 1-0 lead.

Three minutes later Igwe powered a shot from 25 yards that caught Kronberg off guard and went inches left of the goal.