Oct. 13, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - The No. 17 Santa Clara University men's soccer team came out firing right from the start, but could not find the back of the net in a 0-0 tie with Saint Mary's College in a West Coast Conference tilt at Buck Shaw Stadium Friday night. The Broncos took 19 shots and held the Gaels to zero but walked away with just one point. With the tie, Santa Clara (7-3-4, 3-1-2) pushed its unbeaten streak to four games and maintained its spot near the top of the WCC standings.
In the first half, sophomore Brian Martin helped spark the offense with his aggressive play on the left flank. The transfer from Furman University created a number of good chances starting in the 24th minute as he dispossessed a defender 40 yards from goal. Martin then took on a defender and beat him to the left before firing a low shot that was deflected wide of the near post.
He was involved in the action again four minutes later. Martin received a pass at midfield and made a 40-yard run down the sideline before whipping a low ball across the face of the goal. Just before Sean Danzeiser could reach the ball, the Saint Mary's defense was able to clear the ball out of danger.
Stephen McCarthy set up Amaechi Igwe for a chance with under 12 minutes to play in the half. McCarthy got a pass from Jide Ogunbiyi in the middle of the field and the freshman midfielder then found Igwe at the top of the box. Igwe turned on his defender and ripped a low shot that Saint Mary's goalkeeper Brian Mason knocked down before pouncing on the rebound.
Saint Mary's best chance of the half came on a cross from the right wing. However, Broncos goalkeeper Joseph Buttitta was up for the challenge as he came out to punch the ball away.
Matt Hatzke had one final shot in the final moments of the half. An Amaechi Igwe corner kick was headed back to the top of the box for Hatzke. He ripped a left-footed shot but his effort was deflected wide of the goal.
Martin came out hard in the second half and created three more chances with excellent work on the left wing. First, he beat his man and drilled a low cross in that Mason smothered just before Erik Ustruck arrived. Martin then fired a shot high over the night before testing Mason with a hard shot to the near post. Mason dove to his right to make the save and keep the game scoreless.
Freshman Chris Sauter made a sterling defense play 23 minutes into the second half to keep the game scoreless. Matthew Fitzgerald stole the ball in midfield and slotted a pass through for Carlos Diaz behind the defense. Sauter recovered well enough to knock the ball away from Diaz and Buttitta came off his line to pick up the loose ball.
Ogunbiyi nearly broke through for the Broncos with a wicked blast in the final 15 minutes. He picked up the ball in midfield and drove to the top of the box before unleashing a rocket that appeared earmarked for the back of the net. Mason dove to his left, however, and just tipped the ball over the bar.
With the game scoreless at the end of regulation, the Broncos headed into overtime for the fourth time this season.
After a tepid first overtime, it appeared that Igwe had found the winner for the Broncos just two minutes into the second overtime. The freshman forward picked up the ball 35-yards out and beat a defender to the left before shooting low to the far post. The ball skipped past the goalkeeper but slammed off the post and out of bounds.
Saint Mary's had the apparent winning goal in overtime, but the goal was called back for a foul in the box. The Gaels played a free kick into the box and defender Alex Christlieb rose up and nodded the ball into the back of the net. However, he was whistled for a foul on the play, nullifying the goal.
The Broncos travel to Moraga on Sunday, Oct. 15 for the second game of the home-and-home series against the Gaels. Sunday's match kicks off at 2:00 p.m. PT from Saint Mary's Stadium.