Nov. 12, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's soccer team's mood was as gloomy as the Portland weather Saturday night.
On a cold and rainy night at Merlo Field, Santa Clara dropped a 1-0 decision at the University of Portland Saturday night, preventing the Broncos from winning the West Coast Conference regular-season title, an honor that was earned by the University of San Francisco by virtue of its 2-0 victory at Gonzaga earlier in the day.
The Broncos fell to 12-6-2 on the season and 6-4-2 in the West Coast Conference. Portland improved to 6-11-2 overall and 3-8-1 in league play. Santa Clara ended the season with 20 total points in the league standings, one points behind the Dons, which won their second-straight league title and earned the WCC's automatic berth in next weekend's NCAA Tournament.
The Broncos will gather in The Bronco, SCU's on-campus hangout located in the Benson Memorial Center, at 1 p.m. Monday to watch the NCAA"s announcement on ESPNews to find out their postseason fate.
"Portland played well tonight and we didn't step up like we needed to," said SCU coach Cameron Rast. Certainly, we are disappointed to have lost the match and lost the conference title, that's for sure. You have to really credit San Francisco for regrouping, coming back from down in the standings and winning the league.
"Portland put in a really great effort tonight, particularly since they really were playing mainly for pride. They had a good crowd in the rain and they played hard. That's not to say we didn't control the flow for much of the time. We competed hard as well. But, we need to be more dangerous toward the goal if we are going to win matches in the NCAA Tournament. We'll be watching the pairings on Monday and I'm hopeful that we have a good shot at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament."
For the 17th time this season and the fifth in its last six matches, Santa Clara outshot its opponent. The Broncos launched 16 shot attempts toward the goal as compared to just seven by the Pilots. However, just three were on frame and were stopped by Portland keeper Luis Robles, including a hard-hit attempt at goal in the 89th minute by SCU sophomore Brian Curry.
Sophomore midfielder Peter Lowry led the Broncos with five shots in the match, while freshman Jide Ogunbiyi added four and senior forward Hector Guzman added three. Curry and Mehdi Ballouchy registered two shots apiece. Senior goalkeeper Kevin Sweeney registered three saves.
Portland scored its only goal in the 40th minute of the match as Alex Elliott took a pass from Brian Cotlove and found himself in a one-on-one confrontation with Sweeney. The Portland reserve deposited the ball into the left corner for the game-winner.
After starting the season 12-3-1, Santa Clara has registered a 0-3-1 record in its last four starts with each of those results and seven of the last eight have been decided by one goal or less. The Broncos have going into overtime five times this season and have a 2-1-2 record in those matches.
Overall, Santa Clara has outscored its opponents by a 33-18 margin and has allowed just 10 percent of its opponents' shot attempts to find the back of the net.