November 3, 2005

Sweeney Named WCC Player of the Month

Nov. 3, 2005

SAN BRUNO, Calif. - As a high school goalkeeper, Kevin Sweeney was used to success. After all, he helped lead nearby Bellarmine Prep to a Northern California record 71-match unbeaten streak and number one national ranking.

So, it is only a mild surprise that the Santa Clara University senior was named the West Coast Conference Men's Soccer Player of the Month after several stellar performances in October.

Sweeney, a native of San Jose, Calif., is ranked sixth nationally in goals against average and is tied for the WCC lead with seven shutouts. He has led the Broncos to a 12-3-1 overall record and number five national ranking. Santa Clara hosts San Diego and Loyola Marymount this weekend and, with two wins, can clinch the WCC championship.

"Kevin has done a great job for us," said SCU head coach Cameron Rast. "His performances have been exemplary and he has anchored a defensive unit that has been rock-solid for us. He has come up with a number of big saves and has earned several shutouts. He is certainly deserving of this award."

After sitting out the first three matches behind then-starter Christopher Moreo, Sweeney saw his first collegiate action in the final 34 minutes of a 4-0 shutout of previously undefeated Georgetown at the Maryland adidas Classic. He faced three shots from the Hoyas anda registered two saves.

Since that time, Sweeney has started each of Santa Clara's 10 matches and has recorded an 8-1-1 record. He has three seven-save performances and was named the WCC Player of the Week after posting consecutive shutouts against the University of San Francisco.

He enters this weekend riding a five-match shutout streak and has seven this season. Sweeney has allowed just five goals in more than 933 minutes of play.

When he arrived at Santa Clara in the fall of 2001, Sweeney found himself third on the depth chart behind veteran Rusty Johnson and 2000 Parade Magazine national high school player of the year Steve Cronin.

So, after one season of working out with the Broncos, Sweeney decided to put his soccer career on hold in order to focus on his demanding electrical engineering major.

During the course of those three seasons, Johnson graduated and is now the Broncos' goalkeeper coach. Cronin departed school after his junior season to turn professional and was selected in the first round of the Major League Soccer draft.

With just two seasons of eligiblity remaining and the Broncos thin on experience between the pipes, Sweeney rejoined the team last fall and expected to compete for playing time and maybe earn a few starts.

He quickly returned to his old form and is now one of the top goalkeepers on the West Coast and is poised to lead the Broncos to their second College Cup appearance in the last three years and the sixth in school history.