Santa Clara Rally Falls Short Against No. 25 Cal

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - No. 25 California scored two first-half goals and was able to escape Buck Shaw Stadium with 2-1 victory over local rival Santa Clara Thursday night as part of the 2010 Bay Area Soccer Classic.

With Santa Clara (2-3-0) trailing midway through the second half, Erik Hurtado gave the Broncos new life, when he split a pair of Cal defenders to create a breakaway, then blasted a shot past charging Bears' goalkeeper David Bingham. 

Hurtado's goal - his first of the year - cut Cal's lead down to one, 2-1, with 32 minutes remaining - part of a noticeable resurgence for the homestanding Broncos following the intermission.

"I'm really pleased with the second half and the resilience of this young group," said Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast, who started four freshmen Thursday night. "We continued to fight through 90 minutes and that is a sign of a team that has bought in and wants to be better."

The Golden Bears (3-1-1) - ranked 25th nationally by the NSCAA - looked sharp in the opening period, using its team speed to generate a series of scoring chances. Cal cashed in twice to take the early lead, the first courtesy of Hector Jimenez in the 28th minute, the second by Anthony Avalos just before halftime.

"It was a tale of two halves really," said Rast. "(Cal) was able to stretch us out and break us down in the first half. Punting it so well put pressure on us and when they got in that area of the field they moved the ball well."

Santa Clara was the aggressor in the second half with Hurtado continually running at the Cal defense and firing off a series of shots which just missed their mark. Alex Fitschen also forced Bingham to make a late-game save as SCU would out-shoot the Bears 14-12 on the night.

Next up for Santa Clara is a date with Stanford, Sunday at 6 p.m. in Palo Alto as the 2010 Bay Area Classic continues.