SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After Santa Clara men's soccer split its first two games of the 2016 season, it will compete in UNLV's Johann Memorial Classic in Las Vegas on Friday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 4. On Friday, the Broncos take on UC Riverside at 9 p.m. PT on Peter Johann Memorial Soccer Field.
Santa Clara is 2-0 all-time against UC Riverside, winning in 2014, 1-0 and in 2015, 2-1.
"We have two good Big West opponents this weekend," head coach Cameron Rast said. "The Big West has been a very good conference the last number of years so we know we're going to have our hands full. UC Riverside is a team that we battled with even last year at Buck Shaw (Field) and it was a tough, tough game. In the end, we were good in the right moments and ended up running away with the game for a 2-1 (win)."
Scoring goals is not coming easy for Santa Clara (1-1) at the moment, as Rast said after the Northwestern match, but the team willed its way to victory.
"The offensive part of the game, a lot of times, takes a little while for it to come together," Rast said. "The understanding, the rhythm, the timing and sometimes you don't want it coming together too early. Sometimes it needs to come together a bit later. I'm not worried about that, I just think we're finding ourselves in some good spots so I'd like us to be a little sharper. I think that would take some pressure off."
On the defensive end, however, SCU has been sharp. An experienced back line in front of sophomore Dakota Havlick has allowed just 14 shots, seven each from Wisconsin and Northwestern and one goal in 180 minutes. Of those 14 shots only six have been on target with Havlick making four saves and the team being credited with the other.
"The good part for us is we only conceded one," Rast said. "That part, I think is the most important to be solid early in the season because it carries you through the tough times and the big games. Defensively, us being right early in the season is the most important piece. Now that I think we're pretty much on that page we can really start to focus on the attacking part of the game."
The lone goal of the season thus far came from senior Edson Cardona's left foot at the penalty spot. The goal in the 83rd minute of the Northwestern match was the 11th overall of Cardona's career and the fourth game-winner.
Senior midfielder Romario Lomeli has 12 assists in his career, the second most in program history, and two fewer than Otis Earle's ('14) UCR career record of 14.
Since the 2011 season, the Highlanders are 32-1-1 when they score two or more goals in a match. Their lone loss was a double-overtime, 3-2 defeat at the hands of Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 20, 2012.
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