SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Seniors David Castellanos and Alex Fitschen connected on a first-half goal for Santa Clara as the host Broncos beat Stanford 1-0 in the men's soccer season-opener for both schools Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Castellanos, who sat out the entire 2010 season with injury, subbed in late in the first half and immediately made his presence felt, setting up Fitschen for the game's only goal. Castellanos played a through-ball to a streaking and sliding Fitchen, who beat Stanford's keeper to the far post.
Santa Clara (1-0) – the reigning West Coast Conference Champions – is playing each of its first five games at home. Next up is No. 6 UCLA Friday, Sept. 2 and New Mexico Sunday, Sept. 4.
"For our first game your not exactly sure what is going to happen," said tenth-year Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast. "We did not have any preseason games, so we only did intersquads. The first time you step on the field against an opponent, and doing it against a team like Stanford who is going to be organized and wants to be competitive at the levels we want to be competitive, you are hoping we would play as well as we did tonight. I thought we came out and set a good tone."
Stanford (0-1) nearly tied the game in the closing moments, getting one if its best chances during a flurry of action at the six-minute mark. However, SCU senior goalkeeper Kevin Klasila made an outstanding save with a one-handed swat to deny the Cardinal on a breakaway.
Without Klasila's effort, the game would have been tied, but as it turned out, the Broncos countered on the offensive end, staying aggressive in the final moments to seal the win.
"Locking (Stanford) down and getting a shutout, that's what you want," added Rast. "You want a tough first game, you want to battle for it because you want to see that (our players) have what it takes to be a good team."
"We have a big weekend coming up. We'll enjoy this, but come Monday it will be back to work."
Pictured: Alex Fitschen (center) and teammates Murphy Campbell (left) and Erik Hurtado (right) celebrate what turned out to be the deciding goal Saturday in Santa Clara's 1-0 victory over Stanford at Buck Shaw Stadium. (Denis Concordel Photo)