Oct. 12, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Fresh off of a 2-0 conference-opening win over San Diego last Sunday, the fifth-ranked Santa Clara women's soccer team returns to Buck Shaw Stadium to host two local conference rivals this weekend.
The Broncos (11-2-1, 1-0-0 WCC), who have posted three consecutive shutouts and have not allowed a goal in the last 336:01 of action, will be looking to pick up two important conference victories as they host the Saint Mary's Gaels (7-4-1, 1-0-0 WCC) Thursday night before finishing the weekend with a noon match on Sunday opposite San Francisco (2-10-2, 0-1-0 WCC).
"We're really not looking past Saint Mary's, they've given us problems in the past on their field and on our own home field," said head coach Jerry Smith, alluding to a 4-2 home loss to the Gaels in 2000 and a scoreless tie between the two teams two seasons ago in Moraga. "Reminding the team of that helps keep us focused on Thursday, and once we get past the Saint Mary's game then we'll start talking about San Francisco."
The Broncos are 22-3-3 all-time against the Gaels, including last season's 2-1 win in Moraga, and will seek to open Thursday's match with the same relentless attack which helped them control much of the win against San Diego. Jordan Angeli, the team's leading scorer with nine goals and 21 points, will add pressure to the Saint Mary's backline along with the opportunistic duo of Tina Estrada and Meagan Snell.
Meanwhile, in a rather quiet but coldly efficient manner, the Santa Clara defense has gelled into an impregnable shield for which opposing attacks have had no answer. Central defenders Lauren Zealear and Danielle Potts have continually locked down enemy forwards, allowing zero goals in the last three-plus matches. The play of Zealear and Potts has also freed the left and right backs, co-captains Micaela Esquivel and Marian Dalmy, to become attacking threats on the flanks as shown on Sunday when Esquivel's cross was headed in by Tiffany Roberts for the match's first goal.
"Certain aspects of the team have really started coming together, we're connecting our passes and keeping possession of the ball better," added Smith. "I think if we do that it helps us have an opportunity to dominate our opponents in terms of geography, possession and chances in the game. I think that's been happening for us over the last four games so we're hoping to keep that trend going."
Saint Mary's is coming off of a 3-1 win over San Francisco last Sunday on the WCC's opening day of play. Senior forward Katie Frattone netted a hat trick against the Dons and leads the team in goals scored with five. Fellow forward Nikki Schrey provided a game-winner in a 2-1 win over Sacramento State and is tied with Frattone for the team lead in points with eleven on four goals and three assists.
The Dons are looking to bounce back from Sunday's loss as they first travel to San Diego for a Friday night match before heading back north for Sunday's match at Buck Shaw. Forward Chelsea Hunt has been a bright spot for San Francisco this season, pacing the team with 16 points on the strength of seven goals and two assist.
Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. Thursday night against the Gaels, while Sunday's match against San Francisco is set to begin at noon. Tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660.