Nov. 21, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- In each of the last seven occasions that Santa Clara and Cal have faced each other in men's soccer, the result has been decided by one goal or fewer.
Considering that the two teams have played each other seven times in the last five seasons and in three of SCU's last four postseason appearances, there is no reason to believe that familiarity won't play a key factor in Tuesday's NCAA College Cup second round match in Berkeley, Calif.
After knocking-off Ohio State by a score of 1-0 last weekend at Buck Shaw Stadium, unseeded Santa Clara travels to play at seventh-seeded Cal in a 1:30 p.m. (pacific) kickoff at Edwards Stadium. The winner advances to the tournament's third round to face the winner of Tuesday's Wake Forest at 10th-seeded Old Dominion match next weekend at a site and time to be determined.
Santa Clara, which received an at-large invitation to the College Cup after finishing second in the West Coast Conference, enters the match with a 13-6-2 overall record. The Broncos ranked as high as fourth in the nation during the season but went 0-3-1 prior to Friday's win over the Buckeyes.
Eight different Broncos were named to the various all-WCC teams, while junior midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy was selected the league's player of the year and is a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy that is awarded to the nation's top player.
Senior keeper Kevin Sweeney, the WCC's Player of the Month for October, is ranked seventh nationally in saves and eighth in goals-against-average. He has 65 saves on the season and eight shutouts, which both rank among the top-10 single season performances in school history.
Cameron Rast, who has led his team to the NCAA Tournament in three of his four seasons as SCU's head coach and took the 2003 team to the College Cup semifinals, has participated in the NCAA postseason tournament in three different capacities -- as a player, an assistant coach and head coach. The 1992 Olympic Team captain as a defender, Rast owns a 54-24-7 record as a head coach and a 4-2-1 mark in the College Cup.
Cal, which ranked ninth in two final regular-season national polls, enters the match with a 13-3-2 mark after finishing second in the Pacific-10 Conference behind UCLA. Senior forward Calen Carr, who scored the 86th minute game-winner against the Broncos earlier this season in Berkeley, was named the league's player of the year and coach Kevin Grimes was honored as the coach of the year.
Cal owns a 24-11-4 record against Santa Clara since the first meeting between the two schools in 1967. The Bears won 10 of the first 13 meetings and 16 of the first 23 before the series starting evening out. Since 1989, Cal owns a narrow 9-7-1 series margin.
In postseason play, Santa Clara and Cal have played three times. Santa Clara won a hard-fought 1-0 decision in the 2001 College Cup first round in triple overtime at Stanford. Last season, Carl Acosta connected on an 18-yard shot off an assist from Nick Hatzke (the brother of SCU sophomore defender Matt Hatzke) in the 93rd minute for a 2-1 win at Edwards Stadium.