No. 1 Men's Soccer Opens 2008 In Chicago
Aug. 27, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's soccer opens the 2008 soccer season on the road in Chicago. The Broncos begin the weekend against the Ramblers of Loyola University-Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 30. The Broncos will remain in the Windy City for a Labor Day contest against the Flames of UIC on Sept. 1. Both games are schedule for a 5 p.m. PT first kick.
Loyola returns 10 starters from a team that went 10-5-4 in 2007 and captured the program's first-ever outright regular-season Horizon League crown. Junior Michael Ferguson, who returns as a forward in 2008, earned All-America honors. Ferguson led the Ramblers with 15 goals and 32 points.
All-Time vs. Loyola-Chicago
Saturday marks the second meeting against the Ramblers. The two teams last met on Sept. 12, 1999 when the Broncos posted a 3-0 victory at the USF Classic in San Francisco.
The Flames open the 2008 season against UMKC before hosting the Broncos on Sept. 1. UIC is ranked for the second straight year in the Soccer America Preseason poll, checking in at No. 21. UIC's highest preseason ranking comes from the NSCAA/adidas Coaches Poll in which the Flames are No. 16. UIC returns eight starters from its 2007 squad that posted a 13-6-6 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight. Among those starters are preseason All-American goalkeeper Jovan Bubonja. He posted an 0.56 goals-against average in 2007 and 12 shutouts.
All-Time vs. UIC
Monday's contest marks the first meeting between the Broncos and Flames.
SCU returns to action on Sept. 5-7 at the Middleton Sport & Fitness Invitational hosted by the University of Wisconsin. The Broncos being tournament action against the Badgers of Wisconsin on Sept. 5. First kick is scheduled for 3 p.m. PT. SCU then takes on UW-Milwaukee on Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. PT.
Broncos Boast No. 9 Recruiting Class
College Soccer News named the 2008 Santa Clara recruiting class No. 9 in the nation. The class boasts midfielder Chance Bennett who was an NSCAA Youth All-American and a member of the Cal-North and Region IV ODP teams as well as Parade All-American defender Brandon Zimmerman. Midfielder Brian Brungger and forward Alex Fitschen were members of the Cal-South and Region IV ODP teams, while forward Connor Mitchell was a four-time All-State selection and also a member of the Region IV ODP team. On the club front, midfielder Murphy Campbell played for the Crossfire and defender Keith Cowdrey played for the highly regarded Casa Mia Bays. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Robert Kempf gained valuable experience at the Shattuck St. Mary's residency program.
Bennett, Fitschen Among 100 Top Freshmen To Watch
College Soccer News announced its Top 100 Freshmen to Watch last week and included on the list were rookies Bennett and Fitschen. Bennett was an NSCAA Youth All-American, while both he and Fitschen was a member of the Region IV ODP team.
Top Bronco Returners
Head coach Cameron Rast returns seven starters from his 2007 WCC Championship squad including All-WCC honorees Jalil Anibaba, Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Klasila, Jide Ogunbiyi and Kellen Wantulok. The group combined for 7,586:51 minutes, 15 goals, 9 assists and 43 saves.
In The Polls
The Broncos begin the 2008 campaign ranked in all five major polls. Santa Clara claims the top spot in the nation in Top Drawer Soccer's preseason poll, while ranked third by Soccer Times and fifth by the NSCAA and College Soccer News.
SCU Picked To Finish No. 1 In WCC
The Broncos were selected as the preseason favorite to take home the 2008 WCC regular season title as voted on by the head coaches in the conference. This marks the fourth time in the past five years that Santa Clara has been voted the preseason favorite.
McCarthy Named To M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List
Santa Clara midfielder McCarthy compiled a big sophomore campaign in 2007 and his efforts were acknowledged in August as he was named to the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy watch list by the NSCAA. McCarthy scored six goals for the Broncos in 2007, helping Santa Clara to its second straight West Coast conference title with an unbeaten 10-0-2 record. Three of his goals were game-winning performances, including lifting the Broncos to a 3-1 victory over UCLA in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. McCarthy earned All-WCC and All-Far West Region second team honors.
Anibaba Earns Preseason All-America Honors
Sophomore captain Anibaba was named to the 2008 Preseason All-American list by Soccer America, it was announced on Aug. 27. Anibaba, the 2007 WCC Freshman of the Year, started all 22 games and led team in minutes played with 2,035. Anibaba spent the majority of the season in central defense. The Broncos posted a 13-1-4 record when he would start at central defense. Anibaba scored the game-winning goal with two seconds left in regulation with an incredible side-volley against San Francisco on Oct. 12 and for his efforts was named to CSN's National Team of Week on Oct. 15.
SCU finished the 2007 season with a 16-2-4 record and a 10-0-2 mark in the West Coast Conference. The Broncos captured their 10th WCC title and earned their fifth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Santa Clara entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed and earned a first-round bye for the second straight season. After defeating UCLA, 3-1 in the second round, the Broncos fell 2-0 to Notre Dame.
The Broncos were led by senior All-American and WCC Player of the Year Peter Lowry, who scored a team-beast eight goals and dished out seven assists. He finished his career seventh all-time in goals (22).
Santa Clara compiled an 18 game unbeaten streak that was snapped in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The streak stretched from Sept.9-Nov. 28, 2007 and the Broncos were 14-0-4 in those games. It is the second longest unbeaten streak in the school history.
Unbeaten on the Road
Santa Clara finished the 2006 conference season 5-0-1 away from home to go unbeaten on the road in conference play for the first time since the double round robin format started in 2004. The Broncos did it again in 2007, posting a perfect 6-0-0 road mark in conference games.
Opening Up Strong
Santa Clara has been known for their fast starts during the past few seasons. Last year, SCU got off to a 4-0-1 start to the season on the way to a 13-5-5 overall record. The team posted a 7-1-2 record in 2003, an 11-1-0 record in 2004 and an 8-2-0 mark in 2005 to get the season started on the right foot. 2007 was no different, as SCU got out to a 16-1-4 start.