Oct. 19, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Preseason All-American forward Leslie Osborne netted her first career hat trick to lead the Santa Clara University women's soccer team to a 5-0 victory over seventh-ranked Pepperdine in women's soccer West Coast Conference action this afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The win puts the Broncos in the lead early of a competitive league season. The team improves to 9-3-4 overall, 3-0 in the WCC. Pepperdine falls to 12-3-0, 2-1 in league action. The all-time series favors Santa Clara now by an 8-2-0 margin.
"I was happy about my hat trick, but I was more excited at how awesome our team played," the junior from Menomonee Falls, Wis., said. "We are really coming together as a team and you could see everybody step up their level of play today. A lot of people contributed to this win; I'm happy I could play a part in that."
Osborne's accomplishment marked the second hat trick for a Bronco this season, following Bree Horvath's against San Jose State on August 31.
Santa Clara set the tone early, outshooting the Waves 13-2 in the first half, and taking six corner kicks. The Broncos went ahead in the 43rd minute on Osborne's first penalty kick. The play was set up by senior forward Veronica Zepeda, who was battling one-on-one with a Wave defender, then broke free to find freshman Lauren Zealear cutting to the baseline. Zealear's shot was blocked-but not collected-by Pepperdine keeper Anna Picarelli. Bronco freshman Tiffany Roberts was going for the loose ball when she was forcefully pulled to the ground, setting up Osborne's attempt.
After intermission, Pepperdine came out on the attack. Lacey Ubaldi's attempt from wide left was punched away by SCU keeper Julie Ryder, but collected and shot by Jenna Ainsworth, hitting the crossbar. The Broncos were able to diffuse the situation by playing the ball out of bounds.
Osborne added her second goal in the 54th minute. Zepeda played the ball through Kristi Candau and Megan Kakadelas, allowing Osborne to pass through the defense undetected and dribble through the box. She saw Picarelli commit to the near post, so Osborne went far for her second score of the contest.
The Broncos were awarded a second penalty kick in the 59th minute, when Kakadelas was pulled by her head toward the ground at the touchline. Candau was unable to convert and the score remained 2-0.
Picarelli was called for a yellow card in the 75th minute after taking down Bronco Tracy Hess in the box. Osborne converted her second penalty kick of the match for the 3-0 lead, marking her eighth goal of the season.
For the third straight contest, the Broncos netted back-to-back goals within minutes, this time a 1:19 span between Osborne's PK and Horvath's score. Ryder sent an outlet pass to Kakadelas, who was able to dribble most of the length of the field before passing to Horvath, who was racing down the right side.
Hess closed out scoring in the 82 minute when Kakadelas drew two Wave defenders and the keeper toward her before slotting a shot to Hess.
"Megan has a knack for knowing where her teammates are on the field," Hess said. "She held the ball perfectly long enough to draw everybody over before sliding the ball my way."
Ryder earned her fifth shut out of the season, collecting three saves. Picarelli had 13 blocks in the match for Pepperdine. Bronco sophomore Micaela Esquivel left the match late in the second half after suffering a sprain of her medial collateral ligament of her right knee.
The Broncos will remain in the Bay Area for continuing WCC matches, and will visit San Francisco and Saint Mary's. The Broncos lead both series: 19-0 against the Dons, and 21-3-2 against the Gaels.