Nov. 6, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The good news is that the fifth-ranked Santa Clara University men's soccer team remains in first place in the West Coast Conference with a chance to win the regular-season title next weekend.
The bad news is that it lost for only the fourth time in 18 outings and ended its six-match unbeaten streak as the Broncos dropped a 2-1 decision to Loyola Marymount in an afternoon match at Buck Shaw Stadium.
With the loss, Santa Clara fell to 12-4-2 on the season and 6-2-2 in the WCC. Loyola Marymount improved to 7-7-4 overall and 5-4-1 in league play. The Broncos lead LMU by one game in the win column of the league standings and are two games ahead of four other teams.
"It is really disappointing that on the day we could have clinched a share of the WCC championship that we lost the match," said SCU head coach Cameron Rast. "LMU played a good match. They had their backs up against the wall and I thought both teams really played with a great deal of energy and effort.
"I feel like Jerry Smith did yesterday in the women's team's (1-0) loss at Pepperdine. I felt that we did enough to win but we got caught a couple of times out of position and LMU took advantage of their opportunities. It is a game of chances and we just didn't take advantage of ours."
Santa Clara returns to action Thursday at 1 p.m. when it travels to Spokane, Wash. to face Gonzaga University. The Broncos conclude the regular season on the road Saturday night with a 7 p.m. match at the University of Portland.
Santa Clara outshot the Lions by a wide 16-9 margin in the match with nearly half of its shots finding frame. In the second period, the Broncos put 10 shots toward the goal. SCU led the match 7-5 in corners and committed 20 fouls to LMU's 14. SCU was offsides six times.
Unmarked LMU forward Tony Chinakwe put the Lions on the scoreboard first in the sixth minute when a long throw-in was deflected to the left side of the penalty area. He finished with a hard shot past SCU keeper Kevin Sweeney into the upper near side of the goal.
Just before halftime, Cameron Rast inserted reserve forward Ted Kristensson into the lineup and the Ludvika, Sweden native responded by scoring in his second-straight match and tied the score at 1-1.
Following a LMU foul in Santa Clara's offensive end of the field, sophomore Peter Lowry sent a long free kick into the penalty area. LMU keeper Robert Flores came out of the front of goal to collect the free kick. But, Flores was unable to recover when Kristensson headed the ball backward on a looping shot that went just over his outstretched hands and into the goal.
Kristensson nearly put the Broncos ahead in the 49th minute when a hard-hit one-time shot curled up and over Flores and missed the crossbar by inches.
In the 70th minute, LMU midfielder Armando Melendez sent a high corner kick to the far post where teammate Michael Ogletree found a seam in the Bronco defense and headed the ball into the goal for the game winner.
Over the next 20 minutes, Santa Clara peppered the Lions goal looking for the equaliser. Flores saved three of SCU's seven shots during that stretch and an apparent goal in the 87th minute was disallowed.
After a Mehdi Ballouchy corner kick was blocked out of bounds by the LMU defense, senior Jeff Scott sent another corner kick into the penalty area where several Broncos crashed into the front of the goal. With a number of players from both sides bunched in front of the goal, the sideline referee was unable to make a definitive judgement that the ball crossed the goal line.
The Broncos final chance came in the 90th minute when a hard shot by Lowry sailed over the top of the crossbar.
"Our seniors are just a really great group of guys," said Rast. "They put a lot of sweat into the team and into the program during their careers. They helped build upon the tradition of Santa Clara soccer and make our program what it is."