Broncos Blank Zags, Sweep Two-Game Trip to the Northwest

SPOKANE, Wash. – Ryan Masch, a true freshman from San Jose's Bellarmine Prep, netted his fourth goal of the year with help from senior star Erik Hurtado as Santa Clara University's men's soccer team topped Gonzaga University 1-0 Sunday in Spokane.

Having now won seven of their last eight contests, Santa Clara (8-5-0; 5-1-0 WCC) has control of first place in the West Coast Conference standings. The Broncos went up to the Northwest and defeated Portland in overtime Friday night before getting another result Sunday against Gonzaga (4-9-0; 0-6-0 WCC).

"The Northwest swing is a great challenge for anybody," said Santa Clara head coach and four-time WCC Coach of the Year Cameron Rast. "For us to come up here and get two results is tremendous. This game today was challenging. Gonzaga had nothing to lose and went for it. They have the ability and were well organized. Our guys responded nicely."

Despite entering the match 0-5-0 in league play and winless in their last six against SCU, the homestanding Bulldogs played the Broncos tough. Tied at half 0-0, Masch broke through with the eventual game-winner in the 66th minute. It was Hurtado gathering and passing from the endline, finding Masch up top for a great look on goal.

Carlos Montes had six shots (four on net) to keep the pressure on GU. On the day, Santa Clara out-shot Gonzaga 13-7 and held a 7-3 edge in corner kick chances. Senior all-league goalkeeper Larry Jackson earned his fourth shutout  - all coming during SCU's recent resurgence spanning the last seven matches.

Hurtado upped his season-point total to 26, distributing his third assist on the year to Masch Sunday. Rast described Hurtado's play Friday night in Portland as 'unstoppable.' Hurtado - a native of Beaverton, Ore. - scored twice Friday, playing in front of family and friends on the Portland campus.

The Broncos will have the coming week off, before returning to the field Friday, Oct. 26 when SCU hosts Portland in front of a national television audience courtesy of Fox Soccer.

"The break for us will be good for the guys to reset a little bit; we've had have some guys dinged up," Rast said about the extended prep time for Portland. The Broncos went without a number of key players Sunday, including Wes Culver, Gabriel Romero, Phillip Muscarella and Dylan Autran. "The great part of this break is getting together to refocus on the second half (of the WCC season)."

CHECK OUT A RECENT COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS ARTICLE ON SCU

2012 WCC Men's Soccer Standings
Team WCC PTS Overall
Santa Clara 5-1-0 15 8-5-0
San Diego 5-1-0 15 7-6-0
Saint Mary's 3-2-1 10 7-3-3
San Francisco 3-3-0 9 5-5-2
Portland 3-3-0 9 5-7-1
Loyola Marymount 1-5-1 4 3-10-2
Gonzaga 0-6-0 0 4-9-0