Santa Clara Clinches 2006 West Coast Conference Title
Broncos Claim West Coast Conference Title With 2-0 Victory Over LMU
Los Angeles, Calif. - The 10th ranked Santa Clara Broncos men's soccer team captured its first West Coast Conference championship since 2003 on Sunday with a 2-0 road win over Loyola Marymount. The Broncos' win at Sullivan Field coupled with San Francisco's loss to Gonzaga Sunday clinched the championship for SCU. Senior Keith DeVey and sophomore Jide Ogunbiyi scored second-half goals to give Santa Clara the win. The win also gives Santa Clara (11-3-4, 7-1-2 in WCC) an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, which begins in two weeks.
Santa Clara has won four games in a row and now has an eight-game unbeaten streak, posting a 6-0-2 record in that span. The unbeaten streak began following a loss on Sept. 29 to the same Loyola Marymount squad that the Broncos defeated Sunday. The win snapped a three-game losing streak against the Lions as well.
Early on in the match, it appeared that the Lions would be the team taking home three points as LMU applied constant pressure to the Santa Clara goal and created excellent scoring opportunities. The Lions fired 10 shots at the Bronco net in the opening 20 minutes of the game, but the defense held strong forcing hurried shots or blocking them before the ball could reach the net.
Broncos goalkeeper Joseph Buttitta also continued his phenomenal play with two saves and a number of clearances in that opening flurry to keep SCU in the match.
After the Lions opening push, the Broncos got back into the game and began to assert themselves offensively. With just over 10 minutes left before halftime, both Peter Lowry and Brian Martin had opportunities to give the Broncos the lead. However, Lions goalkeeper Robert Flores came up with a save each time to keep the match scoreless heading into the halftime break.
Cameron Rast's squad had a number of individuals among the WCC's league leaders in the regular season. Senior Keith DeVey and Amaechi Igwe tied for eighth in points with 13, while DeVey tied for sixth in goals with six. Junior Peter Lowry and Igwe tied for ninth with five goals each. Sophomores Brian Martin and Jide Ogunbiyi tied for eighth with four assists. Goalkeeper Joseph Buttita now led the league in shutouts with seven and goals against average (0.79).