SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Perennial NCAA tournament qualifiers and 11-time West Coast Conference men's soccer champions, Santa Clara University, will host two important non-conference games this weekend at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos will face 3rd-ranked Creighton University Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. and local rival San Jose State University Sunday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.
Santa Clara (1-2-0) is coming off a two-game trip to the East Coast. Creighton (2-0-1) will be making its road debut at Buck Shaw, and will also play St. Mary's this weekend. The Bluejays tied No. 7 Akron 1-1 at home on Aug. 31. San Jose State (0-2-0) is off to a slow start and will be trying to rebound from last Sunday's 3-1 loss to Cal Poly at Spartan Stadium.
The tradition of excellent soccer is well established at both Santa Clara and Creighton. Both schools have made 19 NCAA tournament appearances. SCU has one National Championship and have qualified for the College Cup Final Four five times. Creighton made the College Cup Final Four in 2011, its fourth trip to the national semifinals.
"This group has a tremendous amount of talent," said four-time WCC Coach of the Year Cameron Rast about his SCU team Wednesday. "The thing that I'm most excited about is they have some great chemistry. We have started to see some moments of that, where they love being together, love hanging out, love training. They enjoy doing a lot of the things that are really important for us to grow and become better through a season."
"The thing that we are looking forward to on Friday is testing ourselves against one of the best teams in the country. This will give us a great measuring stick, a measuring stick that shows us where we need to be. I hope we can come out and really bring the game to them, dictate the opportunities, dictate the run of the play and then also be very tactical in our decisions and adjustments."
There will be live video and up to the minute live stats provided for every Santa Clara home game this season on SantaClaraBroncos.com - including this weekend's games against Creighton and San Jose State.
Season tickets for all 10 home games start at $50 for adults and $35 for youth and seniors. The SCU athletic department is also offering a season ticket 'Family Plan,' which includes five tickets to every home game for just $100. Fans can purchase tickets online (www.SantaClaraBroncos.com/buytickets), over the phone at 408-554-4660 or by visiting the SCU Ticket Office, located at The Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara campus, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Santa Clara players will be signing autographs near the main entrance to Buck Shaw Stadium following both games this weekend. Additionally, Sunday's match with SJSU is Youth Jersey Night. Kids 12 and under, wearing a soccer jersey, will be admitted FREE with a paid adult.
Santa Clara and Creighton have played and tied twice, first in 1994 and again in 2003. The teams matched up in Omaha in the 1994 season-opener, tying 1-1. More recently on a neutral field on LMU's campus in Los Angeles, SCU and Creighton played to a scoreless tie on Sept. 5, 2003. The Broncos team in 2003 finished the year 16-4-4, won the WCC title and advanced into the College Cup Final Four.
SJSU and Santa Clara have been traditional Bay Area rivals since 1967 – the first season of men's soccer at SCU. The Broncos hold a 23-19-4 advantage in the all-time series and won the last meeting at Buck Shaw Stadium, 2-1, Sept. 24, 2010. However last season at Spartan Stadium the two teams tied. SCU has not lost to SJSU since 2003 and the last time SJSU won at Buck Shaw came on Oct. 15, 1985.
SCU HEAD COACH CAMERON RAST
* 115-60-38 career record
* 59-17-22 at Buck Shaw Stadium
* No. 2 all-time in WCC wins (60)
* Santa Clara Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee - 2006
* NCAA National Champion at SCU - 1989
* US Olympic Team Captain - 1992
* NCAA All-America Player – 1989 & 1990
LAST TIME OUT
Santa Clara continued its tough non-conference schedule Sunday, wrapping up play at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational Tournament against unbeaten N.C. State. Santa Clara junior Carlos Montes scored in the fifth minute to give the Broncos an early advantage. However, N.C. State responded twice, including Alex Martinez's go-ahead goal just after the intermission, and the Wolfpack held on to win 2-1. N.C. State (4-0-0) remains unbeaten and was the only team at Duke's home tournament to win twice.
HURTADO BREAKS DOWN THE SOMBRERO VS. NC STATE
"I got a ball in behind on the wing and it was bouncing up in the air, so I chested it down, and the defender came, so I flipped it over his head – called a sombrero," said Erik Hurtado when describing his assist to teammate Carlos Montes on Sept. 2 vs. N.C. State. "Then I brought it down with my chest again, cut in behind another defender that was coming, took another touch and found Carlos (Montes). He was making a perfect run right at the top of the box, laid it off to him, great goal – top corner. We are roommates, really close on the team, like brothers. Whenever we can get a goal like that, assist one-another in a goal, it's great."
"New team, new chemistry," said SCU co-captain Mark Daus about the first two weeks of the season. "In these first three games we were not setting up easy ones for ourselves. We were setting up against Duke, N.C. State and Cal. Getting out there and playing tough opponents early gives us a good amount of confidence and a measurement of where we're going to be in conference. It gets us in the right state of mind, right away."
IN THE RANKINGS
Santa Clara is ranked No. 36 in the latest TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 48 Tournament Rankings. The Broncos have yet to appear in the NSCAA Far West Region Top 10 or NSCAA Top 25 (Creighton is ranked No. 3).
WCC STANDINGS (Sept. 5, 2012)
Portland 2-1-1 (7)
Gonzaga 2-2-0 (6)
St. Mary's 1-0-1 (4)
USF 1-1-0 (3)
Santa Clara 1-2-0 (3)
LMU 0-2-0 (0)
San Diego 0-2-0 (0)
WCC Men's Soccer
MASCH, JACKSON & HURTADO EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS
2012 John Rennie/Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team (Durham, N.C.)
NC State: Alex Martinez (MVP), Jon Ray, Gbenga Makinde, Fabian Otte
Santa Clara: Erik Hurtado, Larry Jackson, Ryan Masch
Duke: Sebastien Ibeagha, James Belshaw
Delaware: Mark Garrity, Ben Sampson
Three members of Santa Clara's No. 7-ranked recruiting class – all former U17 US National Team members - Ryan Masch, Max Ornstil and Jared Hegardt are already playing extended minutes for the Broncos. Masch netted the game-winning goal at Duke on Aug. 31.
Santa Clara returns eight final-year players: Erik Hurtado, Larry Jackson, Wes Culver, Murphy Campbell, Danny Maeda, Gabriel Romero, Takahide Kameya and Alex Fitschen. The first four players listed have each earned All-WCC honors during their SCU careers thus far.
SCU STOPS IN VERO BEACH FOR EARY-SEASON TRAINING
Santa Clara traveled to Florida's central coast Saturday, Aug. 25 through Wednesday, Aug. 29, spending the majority of the week training at the historic Vero Beach Sports Village prior to the Broncos two games at Duke's John Rennie/Nike Invitational Tournament in Durham, N.C. "Anytime you can get on to a dedicated training facility that's dedicated to performance it's great," said Rast during the team's stay in Vero Beach. "All the guys are in little apartments, close to the field, which has a really nice, brand new Bermuda surface. As much as we love (Stanton Field), it's great to practice on grass. We are being treated like a professional program and that is exactly the way we want our guys to feel."
CHECK OUT THE 2012 MEN'S SOCCER VIRTUAL GUIDE
Featuring an updated and fresh design with new videos and game-day action photos and snapshots of behind-the-scenes Bronco fun, Santa Clara Athletics released a new 2012 Men's Soccer Virtual Guide. The virtual guides, exclusive to SantaClaraBroncos.com take place of the traditional paper media guides and feature a number of new pages on the Mission campus and Santa Clara Athletics.
HURTADO PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN/ALL-WCC
The reigning West Coast Conference points-leader, Santa Clara Bronco senior forward Erik Hurtado, was named a 2012 Preseason All-American by College Sports Madness and was honored as a preseason All-WCC player. Hurtado has enjoyed a terrific collegiate career thus far, having drawn praise from the NSCAA as a 2011 All Far-West Region selection. He led the WCC in 2011 with 19 points and 85 shots as a junior. Hurtado has twice been named an All-WCC First Team player, along with earning WCC Player of the Month honors and three times being selected as the WCC Player of the Week. He was tabbed as the National Player of the Week by College Soccer News during his sophomore season in which he helped SCU win the WCC Championship.
"When we put a schedule together it is important to make it demanding of great soccer from our team," said Cameron Rast, who has guided SCU to four WCC titles in his 10 years as head coach. "We have to push our group for them to reach their potential. To do this we look to play the top teams in the country. This year I think we have done just that." Scheduling top 20 teams is nothing new for Rast and the Broncos. SCU went 6-1-3 to begin the 2011 season, beating Stanford and 14th-ranked Cal, while drawing with No. 6 UCLA. The Broncos owned the WCC's best overall record (11-5-4) and upped their all-time mark at home to 59-16-20 since Rast was elevated to head coach in 2002.
MLS STAR RETURNS TO BUCK SHAW
Mehdi Ballouchy, former SCU All-American and No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, was recently acquired by the San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes play their home games at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium.
"I feel very comfortable here," Ballouchy upon his return to San Jose. "I actually came back during the offseason and worked out with the (SCU) team. Just being around Leavey, Santa Clara, and the coaches was fun, because I remember I was in their shoes not so long ago."
Ballouchy was a First Team NCAA All-American while playing at Santa Clara in 2004 and 2005. He helped the Broncos advance into the NCAA tournament in both years, achieving a national ranking as high as No. 4 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He was named the 2005 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and was taken No. 2 overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake. He became the highest overall pick ever from Santa Clara and the sixth Bronco to be selected in the first round.
BRONCO TEAMMATES TAKEN IN 2012 MLS DRAFT
Santa Clara University teammates Mykell Bates and Brandon Zimmerman were taken in the Major League Soccer 2012 Supplemental Draft. Toronto FC selected Bates with the fourth pick of the second round (No. 61 overall). Zimmerman went to the Philadelphia Union with the 13th pick of round four (No. 108 overall).
2011 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
* Santa Clara enjoys 23rd winning season in past 25 years
* Broncos post WCC's best regular season overall record (11-5-4)
* Team ranked No. 18 by College Soccer News (Oct. 4), also ranked nationally by NSCAA and TopDrawerSoccer.com
* 2011 NCAA Men's Division I NSCAA All-Far West Team: Erik Hurtado (Second Team), Mykell Bates (Third Team)
* Eight Broncos garner All-WCC honors; First Team: Mykell Bates, Brandon Zimmerman, Erik Hurtado. Freshman Team: Glenn Vass. Honorable Mention: Eric Masch, Connor Mitchell, Larry Jackson and Wesley Culver
* Seniors Eric Masch and Kevin Klasila named WCC All-Academic
* Broncos shutout nine opponents, allow league-low 18 goals
* SCU goes 7-2-3 at home
* Santa Clara wins five consecutive matches to close out the season
* Brandon Zimmerman named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's National Team of the Week (Oct. 2)
* Mykell Bates finishes the year No. 22-ranked pro prospect among seniors by TopDrawerSoccer.com
* Three Broncos named WCC Player of the Week: Kevin Klasila (Aug. 29); Erik Hurtado (Sept. 12 & 19); Eric Masch (Nov. 7)
* Erik Hurtado named WCC Player of the Month (September) – leads league in shots (85) and points (19)
* Cameron Rast moves into second all-time in WCC coaching wins (60-29-19)
* Santa Clara defeats Stanford (Aug. 27), ties then-No. 6 UCLA (Sept. 2) and tops then-No. 14 Cal (Sept. 16) – win in Berkeley is SCU's first since 1980
SANTA CLARA MEN'S SOCCER BY THE NUMBERS
* 54 Broncos advanced to play professional soccer
* 57 All-WCC First Team honorees
* 31 WCC Honor Roll selections
* 28 Played on the USA Youth National team
* 23 Winning seasons in 25 years
* 19 NCAA Tournament appearances
* 17 All-Americans
* 13 WCC Players of the Year
* 13 Teams ranked in the top 5 nationally
* 11 WCC Titles
* 8 15-plus win seasons
* 7 WCC 'Coach of the Year' Awards
* 7 Played on the USA Senior National team
* 6 Academic All-Americans
* 5 College Cup Final Fours
* 5 Far West Region Coaches of the Year
* 4 Teams ranked No. 1 nationally
* 3 Players currently playing in the MLS
* 3 WCC Freshmen of the Year
* 1 USA Olympian
* 1 National Championship
Support Santa Clara University Athletics by making your tax-deductible donation to the Bronco Bench Foundation. For more information follow this link or call 408-554-5577. For additional involvement opportunities with Santa Clara Athletics, click here.