Oct. 16, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Winning easily and winning hard have one thing in common... winning.
And, that's exactly what the ninth-ranked Santa Clara University men's soccer team achieved today in a 1-0 West Coast Conference victory over Gonzaga University on a warm, sunny day at Buck Shaw Stadium.
A sun-drenched crowd of more than 1,200 watched forward Ryan Wolfe (Laguna Beach, Calif.) score the only goal of the match in the 10th minute to help Santa Clara improve its record to 10-3-0 overall and move into sole possession of first place in the WCC with a 4-1 mark. Gonzaga fell to 2-6-1 on the season and 0-3-1 in league play. Santa Clara returns to action in next weekend with consecutive matches against the University of San Francisco on Thursday and Saturday. Both matches will feature live Internet coverage on SantaClaraBroncos.com, while tickets for Saturday's match at Buck Shaw Stadium are available by calling 408/554-4660 or by clicking here.
"It sounds cliché, but that was really a hard fought match," said SCU head coach Cameron Rast. "It was a tough afternoon and both teams really battled hard. I wouldn't say we played our best, but we showed the composure to overcome that with very good effort. Gonzaga played well and prevented us from having many chances at the goal. I say it often, but anytime you get a win in our league you have to be pleased with the result regardless of how the game looks."
At the 9:07 mark in the match, Gonzaga keeper Vito Higgins moved to his right to cover an expected shot from Kelechi Igwe (Belmont, Calif.) in the penalty area. Instead, with his back to the goal, the Bronco senior passed to his left and found Wolfe, who easily deposited the ball into the lower right corner of the goal. It was Wolfe's second goal of the season, the fifth of his career and his second career game-winner this year.
Santa Clara outshot the Bulldogs by a 9-4 margin and forced eight corner kicks, compared to Gonzaga's two. The Broncos registered 14 fouls to Gonzaga's eight and there were no bookings from referee Joe Pimentel in the match.
After Wolfe scored early, the two teams both played inspired defense for the remainder of the match. Bronco junior All-American Mehdi Ballouchy pressured the Bulldogs several times and registered six total shots, five of which were on frame. Higgins had an excellent day between the pipes for the Bulldogs, registering six saves.
The match was not decided until :17 seconds remained on the clock. SCU freshman defender Jide Ogunbiyi stopped Luke Miller on a one-on-one situation inside the penalty area and forced the Bulldog forward to push the ball toward goal where it was cleanly collected by SCU keeper Kevin Sweeney.
Sweeney (San Jose, Calif.) moved to 4-1-0 on the season with his fourth shutout. He has allowed just five goals in eight games and more than 643 minutes of action.