SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Carlos Montes set up Erik Hurtado for a pair of goals Friday night at Buck Shaw Stadium as Santa Clara University earned a 2-0 home victory over regionally-ranked NJIT. Hurtado – a preseason All-American and NSCAA all-region player as a junior – upped his four-year goal total to 23, good for seventh all-time in Bronco history.
Santa Clara (3-4-0) also improved its home record to 60-19-22 under four-time WCC Coach of the Year Cameron Rast. The Broncos will possess home-field advantage next weekend when they open up conference play against San Diego (Friday, Sept. 28) and LMU (Sunday, Sept. 30).
"It's finally nice to get a couple wins in a row and gain momentum going into conference – and that's what we need to get a conference championship," said Hurtado, who passed former First Team All-American and MLS professional Peter Lowry '07 on the program's career scoring list. "I don't think that's thinking too far ahead. We expect to be competing for a title; we have a really good team this year."
Located nearly 3,000 miles apart, and having never met, Santa Clara soccer fans may not be familiar with NJIT (5-5-0). However, the Highlanders are ranked No. 9 by the NSCAA in the North Atlantic Region and had won three-straight.
"I think their soccer is quite good," said Rast when asked about his first impressions of NJIT. "They waited and were patient at times with the ball to see if we would unbalance ourselves, or get too extended, then move us around. So we had to be sharp 90-minutes long to make sure we did not give a goal away."
SCU out-shot NJIT 8-3 in the first half and did not settle in defensively despite possessing the lead throughout. Senior goalkeeper Larry Jackson posted his first shutout of the year and seven Bronco reserves came on to play extended minutes.
Giving Santa Clara the immediate lift was Hurtado's first goal - just four minutes into the contest. Montes served up a near-perfect ball on a free kick, and Hurtado used his head to flick it up and over the 6-foot, 6-inch NJIT keeper. Still leading 1-0 midway through the second half, Hurtado and Montes played off one another, resulting in a back-heel pass from Montes which found Hurtado in ideal position to put the Broncos up 2-0.
"We love playing with each other, he's my roommate, so we are with each other all the time," Hurtado said, explaining the on-field chemistry with Montes that has already produced four goals this season. "We are always talking, watching film together, seeing what we can do better in order to score goals. I had found him for a couple goals (earlier in the year) and he said he'd give some back to me."
"You know, Peter Lowry was a tremendous four-year player for us," said Rast, who developed Lowry into the WCC Player of the Year and an All-American by the end of his Bronco career in 2007. "He scored some incredible goals and led our teams to some unbelievably successful seasons. He is definitely one of the best players we've ever had in the program and Erik is amongst that caliber of talent and recognition.
"(Erik) is a player that can score goals and put defenses on their heels. Again tonight, he showed his versatility, jumping out of the sky and flicking a ball over a keeper that is well over six-feet. Factor in the arm-span and you start to understand the kind of player that (Erik) is … he just keeps getting better and better and can't wait to see what he is doing by the end of the season."
Santa Clara, who beat Stanford 2-1 on the road last week, will try to build on its two-match win streak next Friday against San Diego – the only team picked ahead of the Broncos in the WCC's preseason coaches poll. SCU will be going after its second WCC title in three years.
June 5, 2013 Hanley Has High Hopes for Men’s Soccer Next Season
March 7, 2013 Santa Clara Men's Soccer Announces 2013 Spring Schedule
February 5, 2013 Santa Clara Soccer Academy Announces 2013 Camp Dates and Schedule
January 24, 2013 2012 Season Highlights: 24 Winning Seasons in 26 Years
December 13, 2012 EYEBRONCO: Hurtado and Jackson Invited to MLS Combine
November 11, 2012 Santa Clara Wraps Up Regular Season with 3-2 Win at USD
November 9, 2012 Santa Clara Ties LMU, San Diego Goes on to Clinch WCC Title
November 9, 2012 Sophomore Glenn Vass Named to WCC All-Academic Team
November 7, 2012 Santa Clara and San Diego Playing for WCC Soccer Championship
November 3, 2012 Improbable Ending Moves Santa Clara to 7-2-1 in WCC
November 2, 2012 Carlos Montes Emerging as One of the League's Top Players
November 1, 2012 Halloween Night at Buck Shaw Has SCU-SMC Draw 0-0
October 29, 2012 National Team of the Week Honors Given to SCU's Erik Hurtado
October 28, 2012 Erik Hurtado's Hat Trick Allows SCU Eighth Win in Ten Games
October 27, 2012 Late Goal Lifts Portland Past Santa Clara Friday Night 2-1
October 26, 2012 Finishing Strong: Danny Maeda Reflects Back on His SCU Career
October 15, 2012 Keigo Kameya, Erik Hurtado Honored as WCC’s Top Performers
October 14, 2012 Broncos Blank Zags, Sweep Two-Game Trip to the Northwest
October 11, 2012 WCC Men's Soccer: Santa Clara Battles Portland for First Place
October 8, 2012 Erik Hurtado Scores Twice, Santa Clara Tops San Francisco 2-1
October 3, 2012 Overtime Goal Pushes St. Mary's Past Santa Clara 1-0
October 2, 2012 Santa Clara Men's Soccer Preps for Rivalry Games vs. SMC, USF
October 1, 2012 Erik Hurtado Earns WCC Men's Soccer's Top Weekly Honor
September 30, 2012 SCU Bronco Soccer Wins Again, Beating LMU 1-0 Sunday
September 29, 2012 Santa Clara Looks Sharp in WCC-Opening Win Over USD
September 20, 2012 Friday Night Soccer Doubleheader Begins with SCU-NJIT
September 17, 2012 Santa Clara Earns Key Road Victory Over Stanford, 2-1
September 17, 2012 Freshman Ryan Masch Named the WCC Men's Soccer Player of the Week
September 12, 2012 Santa Clara Aims to Capitalize on Chances Sunday Night at Stanford
September 10, 2012 San Jose State Gets Rare Win Over Santa Clara at Buck Shaw
September 8, 2012 No. 3 Creighton Breaks Through In Second Half, Tops SCU 1-0
September 2, 2012 SCU Topped by N.C. State; Return Home to Host No. 2 Creighton
August 25, 2012 Cal Edges Santa Clara 2-1 in Bay Area Classic
August 19, 2012 Broncos Ease Into 2012 Season During Exhibition with Mustangs
August 16, 2012 SCU Men's Soccer Hosts Exhibition Saturday Night vs. Cal Poly
August 1, 2012 Santa Clara, MLS Star Mehdi Ballouchy Returns to Buck Shaw