Aug. 28, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara-Cal men's soccer rivalry is starting to heat up these days, especially after the two teams battled it out once more Sunday night at Buck Shaw Stadium, ending in a 1-1 stalemate after 110 minutes of furious action. Following the equalizer by Jeff Cosgriff in the 39th minute, the two squads engaged in a bruising, scoreless affair for the final 71 minutes.
SCU now heads down south next weekend for the UC Irvine Challenge, as the team faces off against Northwestern at 5 p.m. Saturday evening before closing out tournament play with an 11 a.m. Labor Day engagement against Niagra.
In such an evenly-matched contest (the shots were 14-13 in favor of SCU) timely breaks tend to decide the outcome, and Sunday night's affair was no different, as each team saw a few major opportunities go for naught due to either a nice save, a strategically-placed crossbar (or post), or about a single square inch of the ball not getting over the goal line.
"It's early in the season and I think we played fairly well at times," said head coach Cam Rast. "Cal is a good team, but I think we created enough opportunities to probably win the game. Its just a good game for us to battle through and see what an overtime game is like and we'll just have to continue to work from here to get a little bit sharper."
Cal got on the board first in the 12th minute as Chris Cortez headed in a well-placed corner kick from Nick Hatzke, the Golden Bear brother of current Bronco Matt Hatzke. Yet the Broncos battled back, finding the next gear later in the half. This effort culminated in a fortunate mixture of skill, precision, and simply being in the right place at the right time.
Keith DeVey got around his defender on the right side and whistled a bullet on net, only to have it carom right into the center of the box and to the foot of Cosgriff. The San Bruno native simply struck a soft line drive into the open net from about 15 yards out to knot things up at 1-1.
The Broncos got their next best chance in the 70th minute, when Brian Martin walked in and blasted a shot right into the chest of Cal netminder Stefan Frei. The richochet came right back to Martin, who nudged the ball past Frei and seemingly heading into an open net.
But Frei scrambled to his feet and dove towards the line, somehow preventing the ball from completely going over the line.
Amaechi Igwe had a chance to tie it a minute later but was stopped, while it would take a little longer for the Golden Bears to level a fright of their own.
"I think we had some good chances to score, and those are the opportunities you want in these games," said Rast. "Then its just up to the players to finish it, to execute and make the play. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't, especially early in the season, but I'm optimistic about it."
That came in the 96th minute, when Cal's Javier Ayala-Hill gathered up a pass and tried to go top-shelf from about 10 yards out. Ayala-Hill put everything behind the shot, but it caught the bottom half of the crossbar on and upward plane. As a result, the ball bounced straight down about a foot and a half in front of the goal line, and the Broncos scrambled to clear.
From there the two worn-down squads spent the second overtime period looking for that second wind, but none was forthcoming. It was just like the 2005 NCAA Tournament match the two squads played in Berkeley, yet this time a shootout wouldn't decide it. In the end, just another rematch to look forward to.