November 23, 2002

Defense Pushes Women's Soccer into NCAA Quarterfinal

Nov. 23, 2002

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's soccer team defeated Nebraska 3-2 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament this afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos were led by their defense, who scored two of the three goals as Santa Clara improves to 18-4-1 overall. Nebraska's season ends with a 16-6-3 mark.

The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions, are the tournament's sixth overall seed, and will host the quarterfinal round of the 21st NCAA Championship at Buck Shaw next Saturday, November 30, with a 1 p.m. Pacific start time. Santa Clara will face Michigan, 2-0 winners over Pepperdine in another third-round contest. The Wolverines improved to 16-6-1 with their win.

Santa Clara went up ahead 1-0 on an own goal in the ninth minute. Bronco Lana Bowen threw the ball in from the near corner, finding Leslie Osborne. Osborne served the ball toward Aly Wagner, but Husker goalkeeper Erin Miller attempted a grab, that got by her. The ball hit Nebraska's Pam Karakusis in the inner thigh before bouncing in the goal.

Husker Christine Latham scored her 16th goal of the season to tie the game toward the end of the first half. A Bronco mistake allowed Latham to strip the ball in the penalty box and catch Bronco netminder Alyssa Sobolik out of place, and netting the equalizer.

Santa Clara kept the pressure going, outshooting Nebraska 22-6 overall, but it wasn't until the 54th minute that the Broncos took another lead. Skilled footwork from Bree Horvath gave Santa Clara a corner kick, which Wagner took. She sent a short give-and-go to Veronica Zepeda, and then served to defender Chardonnay Poole on the far side for a header, marking Poole's first tally of the season.

In the 76th minute, Nebraska tied the game again with a core by Nikki Baker off a set play. Santa Clara reacted quickly and scored once more on a corner kick just three minutes later. Wagner took a corner out to Micaela Esquivel, who passed it to Osborne for a serve into the box. Senior Devvyn Hawkins, a holding midfielder who received 11 stitches in her head during last week's game, headed the ball in for the game-winner.

The Broncos, ranked fourth in the country, are making their 14th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received an at-large berth in the 2002 Tournament after earning a share of the West Coast Conference Championship on November 9. Pepperdine, by virtue of a tiebreaker, earned the league's automatic bid. The Broncos have advanced to the College Cup on eight occasions.

The 2002 Women's College Cup will be held December 6 and 8 at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus the University of Texas at Austin.