Oct. 29, 2006
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.
Santa Clara continued its strong play in the second half and began to break down the Lions defense. After a flurry of activity 20 minutes into the half that included two great scoring chances, DeVey put the Broncos up with a great individual effort in the 69th minute. The two-time All-WCC honoree broke around his defender at the top of the box and fired a shot to the far post past Flores to put SCU up 1-0. The goal gives DeVey 19 for his career, placing him into a four-way tie for 10th place all-time in program history. He is now tied with Peter Cochran (1991-93), Alberto Cruz (1989-91) and Derek Brownell (1992-95).
With the Lions desperately putting numbers forward in an attempt to tie the score, Ogunbiyi iced the game with a breakaway goal in the 87th minute. Junior defender Jamil Roberts sent Ogunbiyi through with a clearance that allowed him to turn his defender and get in one-on-one with Flores. Ogunbiyi then slotted the ball home to clinch the game and the title for the Broncos. The goal was Ogunbiyi's first of the season.
Buttitta made a final save with two minutes remaining to preserve his seventh shutout of the year and fourth in the past seven games. The sophomore goalkeeper made five saves on the afternoon.
Santa Clara has now won nine WCC titles in its history and the title is the second during Rast's tenure at the school. The win was also Rast's 65th victory at SCU, moving him past Steve Sampson and into second place all-time in Broncos history. Mitch Murray leads with 143 victories.
The Broncos return home next weekend for a two-game set at Buck Shaw Stadium beginning Friday, Nov. 3 with a match against the University of Portland Pilots at 7:00 p.m. PT. The team then celebrates Senior Day on Sunday, Nov. 5, hosting Gonzaga at 1:00 p.m. PT. Seniors Keith DeVey and Erik Ustruck will be honored before the match for their contributions to the program.