Aug. 26, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - It is pretty well known that the fifth-ranked Santa Clara University women's soccer team typically starts slow then builds throughout the season expecting to have a chance for a national title.
However, in its season opener tonight in front of 838 fans in a beautiful evening at Buck Shaw Stadium, the first since the facility became a soccer-only venue, the Broncos earned a 2-0 shutout victory over an experienced Arizona State squad.
"It was a typical first game of the season," said SCU head coach Jerry Smith, in his 19th season at SCU. "Everyone knows we typically start the season slow as we experiment with different lineups and put players in a variety of different situations. We started out the game that way for about the first 25 minutes. Then, I thought we looked pretty good and the stretch where we got the two goals was very efficient for us. We got a little out of shape just after the two goals. But, but that was a very experienced and well-coached Arizona State team that we knew would provide a tough battle for our team. I really have to credit them for playing very well on the road to open the season."
Junior Elyse Shelger (Sugarland, Texas) came off the bench in the second half to assist on two almost identical goals less than three minutes apart to provide the margin of victory.
Don't miss the showdown of the season on Friday, Sept. 9 when SCU hosts defending national champion Notre Dame at Buck Shaw Stadium. click here for tickets.
Less than three minutes later, in the 68th minute, Shelger found space on the right side of the goal in nearly the exact opposite spot as the previous cross and found sophomore Jordan Angeli (Lakewood, Colo.) coming across the penalty area. Angeli dove at the ball and sent a perfect header past Arizona State goalkeeper Kim Bingham into the net from six yards in front of goal.
Arizona State had a chance to pull back a goal late in the game when senior Elizabeth Bogus broke free on a long pass at the top of the SCU penalty area. Bronco senior defender Micaela Esquivel (Albuquerque, N.M.) tracked back quickly to make a key tackle and break-up the ASU scoring opportunity.
Bronco junior goalkeeper Julie Ryder (DeKalb, Ill.) earned the win with six saves, three in each half of the game. She earned her first shutout of the season and the 34th of her career, just seven shy of school record-holder Crystal Gordan (1997-00).
The two teams were evenly matched statistically with the Broncos outshooting Arizona State by a narrow 12-10 margin. SCU registered 16 fouls to the Sun Devils' nine and Bronco junior Marian Dalmy received a yellow card from match referee Bob Martinez in the 76th minute of the game.
Santa Clara returns to action on the road Friday against host Wake Forest in the Wake Forest ACC/WCC Challenge. The Broncos also face Virginia Tech on Sunday before returning home for a Sept. 9 battle against defending national champion and top-ranked Notre Dame.