October 13, 2009

Broncos Travel to Southern California, Face LMU and USD

Oct. 13, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's soccer team looks to find its offensive rhthym this weekend in Southern California. The Broncos are in the midst of playing six-of-seven conference matches away from home. LMU is next, Friday, October 16, at 3 p.m. at Sullivan Field in Los Angeles, followed by a date at the University of San Diego Sunday, October 18 at 2 p.m. at Torero Stadium in San Diego.

Santa Clara (3-6-2; 1-2-0 WCC) has played six teams that have appeared in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top 25. Finding the net against some of the nation's best teams has proven difficult; SCU ranks last in the West Coast Conference (WCC) in scoring offense. However, due to the caliber of its non-conference opponents, the Broncos' overall record may be misleading.

"We need to play against good teams to figure out where we stand, and that will continue to be our approach," said Santa Clara Head Coach Cameron Rast. "It's better to play against good teams to prepare yourself for this league - and you need to do that to make a run at a conference championship."

SCU has been in position to win most games, including its season-opener against then-No. 15 UC Irvine after Mykell Bates had scored two first-half goals. Brandon Zimmerman has provided three assists and recently secured SCU a WCC victory over Gonzaga, netting the game-winner with 45 seconds remaining.

Led by junior team captain and All-WCC midfielder Jalil Anibaba, the Broncos have established it can defend the net. Contributions in the back line from a number of young players, including freshman Danny Maeda, have helped the Broncos limit its opponents to three goals in the last four games. Rookie goalkeeper Larry Jackson has provided some game-changing stops. Jackson ranks second in the WCC with three shutouts.

"I truly believe we are as good and as talented as any team we are going face," said Rast. "But the inexperience side of things has had an influence as well. Our ability to play at our best for 90 minutes has been the difference in a few games. Our defense has been quite a bit better. Defense will keep you in games, and they have, but attacking and scoring goals will win them. That's what we're looking for this weekend."

LIVE COVERAGE: Live scoring for both matches will be available via GAMETRACKER on (www.SantaClaraBroncos.com). Additionally, a live audio feed will be available for Friday's match at LMU on (www.LMULions.com) and San Diego will be streaming live video Sunday on (www.USDToreros.com).

SCU HEAD COACH CAM RAST: Cameron Rast is in his eighth season at the helm of the Santa Clara men's soccer program. Three-times the West Coast Conference "Coach of the Year" (2003, 2006 & 2007), Rast has led the Broncos to five NCAA Tournament appearances and three WCC titles. He has coached 51 players who have earned All-WCC honors, 16 NSCAA All-Far West Region award-winners, developed 13 future professionals, and coached six All-Americans - all in just seven seasons. His overall career record entering the 2009 season stood at 87-38-24 (.664). During an outstanding player career, Rast scored 11 goals as the captain of Santa Clara's NCAA National Championship team in 1989. A two-time collegiate All-America honoree, Rast went on to captain the U.S. Olympic Team in 1992.

LMU: The Lions (6-5-0; 1-2-0 WCC) are returning eight starters from its 7-8-5 team from a year ago. Picked to finish third in the WCC preseason coaches poll, LMU won its conference-opener at home October 2 against USF 3-2 in overtime. Two losses in its recent Northwest road trip, a 2-1 overtime loss at Gonzaga and a 3-1 setback against then-No. 16 Portland has the Lions at 1-2-0 within WCC play. LMU beat two Top 10 opponents during its non-conference schedule, dropping then-No. 6 UCSB 2-1 on the road and knocking-off then-No. 5 Dartmouth on a neutral field in San Diego. LMU leads the WCC in corners (66) and ranks second in shots (130) while also allowing a league-worst 16 goals.

vs. Santa Clara... LMU blanked Santa Clara 3-0 in the last meeting November 14, 2008 in Los Angeles. The Broncos own the all-time series edge 22-8-2, dating back to 1981. More recently the matches have been very competitive - even in the last 13 (6-6-1) since Cameron Rast took over the SCU program in 2002.

SAN DIEGO: The Toreros (7-3-0; 3-0-0 WCC) are on a roll, moving up to No. 8 in the latest NSCAA West Region poll following a road sweep of Gonzaga and then-No. 16 Portland last weekend. Led by Seamus McFadden - who is now in his 31st season as USD head coach - the Toreros sit atop the WCC standings and are in position to qualify for the school's 12 NCAA Tournament in the past 14 years. USD leads the WCC in points (48), while boasting the best defensive numbers, limiting opponents to just eight goals in its 10 matches - posting six shutouts.

vs. Santa Clara... Santa Clara has dominated the series between the two accomplished WCC programs. The Broncos hold a 24-9-3 all-time series advantage and are 8-2-2 against USD under Cameron Rast. The two sides played a pair of low-scoring matches last season, with SCU winning 1-0 October 19, 2008, at Buck Shaw Stadium. The teams tied 1-1 in San Diego in the 2008 season finale November 16.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Explosive first-year forward Erik Hurtado has the potential to provide Santa Clara with the offensive spark it needs to win road games in the WCC. The two-time Oregon Class 6A `Player of the Year' has fired-off a team-leading 22 shots for the Broncos, putting 10 on goal. Hurtado came of the bench and netted an unassisted game-winner against Sacramento State on September 13. He dribbled through California's defense to bury an unassisted goal against the then-No. 7 Golden Bears on September 20.

All-WCC forward and NSCAA/adidas All-Region player Rafael Baca accounted for both of LMU's goals and 10 of their 25 shots last weekend in the Northwest. Born in Tuxpan, Michoacan, Mexico, Baca attempted 67 shots last season, the second-most in a single-season in LMU history. Baca leads the league in virtually every offensive category.

Senior Ryan Peterman anchors a stingy USD defense that has allowed just eight goals in 10 matches. Peterman, who won three national championships at the club level with Arsenal FC program in high school, has established himself as one of the WCC's best defenders. Peterman earned First Team All-WCC honors as a junior in 2008. Peterman and the Toreros have allowed just one goal in three WCC matches this season.

LAST TIME OUT: Bryan Burke's goal midway through the first half staked the University of San Francisco to an early lead and the Dons went on to beat visiting Santa Clara 2-0 Friday night.

It was a battle between two sides that are favored to contend for the 2009 West Coast Conference title. The Dons and Broncos ranked one and two respectively in the WCC 2009 preseason poll, voted upon by the league's coaches.

"We knew it was going to be a tough match for us," said Santa Clara Head Coach Cameron Rast. "USF is very comfortable at home in terms of their style of play. In the first 30 minutes we were equally as dangerous, if not more dangerous, in creating chances. But we went down 1-0 at half and that put us in a position where we were not very patient, had to press a bit too much. Credit to San Francisco for doing a good job 90 minutes long of not giving us a lot and what we did get we really had to earn."

Santa Clara (3-6-2; 1-2-0 WCC) generated five shots but the Broncos were shutout for the fifth time this season. Freshman keeper Larry Jackson had five saves for an SCU defense that allowed 14 shots.

Jonathan Levi assisted in Burke's go-ahead goal in the first half and provided another assist in the clincher in the 71st minute. USF (4-5-1; 1-2-0 WCC) won its first league match of the year after being swept on the road last week at No. 20 LMU and San Diego.

NATIONAL TV: The long-time rivalry between Santa Clara and San Francisco will resume Friday, November 6 at 7 p.m. at SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium. The match will be televised live in front of a nationwide audience courtesy of the Fox Soccer Channel (FSC).

RECENT RESULTS/UPCOMING SCHEDULE:
L, 1-0 vs. #21 PORTLAND (10/2)
W, 1-0 vs. GONZAGA (10/4)
L, 2-0 @ San Francisco (10/9)
@ LMU (10/16)
@ San Diego (10/18)
vs. ST. MARY'S (10/23)

CURRENT WCC STANDINGS: (WCC Record) Overall
1. San Diego (3-0-0) 7-3-0
2. Saint Mary's (2-0-1) 6-1-3
3. Portland (2-1-1) 7-2-2
T4. Santa Clara (1-2-0) 3-6-2
T4. Loyola Marymount (1-2-0) 6-5-0
T6. Gonzaga (1-3-0) 4-5-2
T6. San Francisco (1-3-0) 4-6-1

TITLE CONTENDERS: Santa Clara has been projected as the West Coast Conference runners-up according to the 2009 WCC men's soccer preseason poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches. The Broncos are one year removed from winning back-to-back WCC Championships and advancing into the third round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

"The preseason coaches poll shows there is a lot of respect for the quality of players we have in our program and the tradition of success we've had in conference play," said Rast. "Our preseason schedule should have us well-prepared to make a run for the conference crown later this season."

2009 WCC Preseason Coaches Poll
1. San Francisco - 36 (6)
2. Santa Clara - 24
T3. Loyola Marymount - 23 (1)
T3. Gonzaga - 23
5. San Diego - 19
6. Portland - 16
7. Saint Mary's - 6
Points (First place votes)

ALL-WCC DEFENDER: Bronco center defender Jalil Anibaba has been named to the 2009 WCC Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference team. Anibaba, a junior from Davis, California, is in the midst of a storied collegiate career. He was named the WCC "Freshman of the Year" in 2007. As a sophomore in 2008 Anibaba garnered All-America honors from Soccer America and was named to the All-WCC Second Team.

NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS - 20th ANNIVERSARY: The 1989 Santa Clara Broncos forever put the name `Santa Clara' on the men's collegiate soccer map, claiming a share of the NCAA National Championship. The last undefeated (20-0-3) team in Division I men's soccer, SCU had seven players earn All-West Coast Conference honors, including Jeff Baicher, the NCAA Championship Offensive MVP. 1989 team captain Cameron Rast, and current SCU head coach, was honored as an All-American.

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER AT SCU: The San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS have signed a three-year lease with Santa Clara University to use the Broncos' soccer facilities. SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium and its practice facility at Stanton Field have received major renovations and upgrades to the playing surfaces, press box, entrance, locker rooms and drainage systems this offseason.

ELEVEN BRONCOS PLAYING IN MLS: More than 50 Santa Clara players have gone on to play professional soccer, including 11 on MLS rosters entering the 2009 season. Four Broncos were chosen off the 2007 West Coast Conference title team in the 2008 MLS Draft - the most-ever from a single SCU class. Four-time All-WCC honoree Jide Ogunbiyi was selected No. 18 overall by the New York Red Bulls of the MLS in 2008, the second-highest MLS draft pick in program history.

NEXT HOME MATCH: Friday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. vs. St. Mary's. The match will be the second part of a men's and women's soccer double-header at SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium. The SCU women's team will be playing Pepperdine University at 5 p.m.