Keigo Kameya's Heroics Gives Santa Clara Control of First Place in WCC
PORTLAND, Ore. – Keigo Kameya rescued Santa Clara University Friday night in Portland, netting the game-winning goal in overtime after the Pilots forced extra time by scoring with 24 seconds left in regulation. The 3-2 overtime result in favor of SCU gives the Broncos control of first place in the West Coast Conference standings.
Santa Clara (7-5-0; 4-1-0 WCC) has won four of five to open league play. Bronco All-America candidate Erik Hurtado - a product of Portland, Ore. - scored twice in the first half to position SCU for the win before the Pilots tied it in the closing moments.
"I'm completely drained," said Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast following the win from a rain-soaked Merlo Field Friday night. "Conference matches mean so much. As we go through (the schedule) your trying to set yourself up for a championship. There were so many moments tonight that threw our emotions from one side to the other."
Portland (5-6-1; 3-2-0 WCC) was down to its final push, with just seconds on the clock, and was awarded a free kick just outside the box. The penalty sent SCU's Phillip Muscarella to the sidelines with a red card as he tugged the jersey of Steven Evans trying to slow his sprint towards the SCU net.
Evans buried the free-kick in dramatic fashion, sending the game into overtime tied 2-2, and swinging the momentum of the match to Portland who would then play with a man advantage the rest of the way.
"Keigo puts in a tremendous amount of work for us," said Rast. "He has been working to get in the right position but had not been able to finish. Tonight he found the right position and Erik played him a great ball and Erik was pretty much unstoppable in the first half. He is picking the right moments to play and picking the right moments to connect with his teammates."
Hurtado and Evans – the two most dangerous forwards in the league and former teammates growing up in the Portland area – both upped their season goal-totals to nine, which is tied for the most among any players in the WCC.
The Broncos will look to continue their hot start in WCC play when they play the Bulldogs of Gonzaga University Sunday afternoon in Spokane.