Oct. 19, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Whether one wants to call it resiliency for bouncing back from an early one-goal deficit, determination for knotting things up soon after, hustle for outrunning a defender for the go-ahead goal, or grit in digging in and making a one-goal lead hold, the bottom line is that the No. 4 Santa Clara Broncos stepped up Thursday night with a high-octane 3-2 win over the No. 7 Portland Pilots at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Broncos (12-3-1, 2-1-1 WCC) continue their final homestand of the regular season with a 1 p.m. match Sunday afternoon against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Thursday night Santa Clara outshot the Pilots (12-3-2, 2-1-1 WCC) 14-7 in the win, and took five corner kicks to Portland's three. After coming out a little shaky in the first 15 minutes, the Broncos managed to settle in a find a groove, attacking the Pilots with confidence and standing firm against opposing attacks.
"I'm proud of my team today, I thought we played well for about 80% of the game, and I thought we created some good chances there," said SCU head coach Jerry Smith afterwards. "I think it was a really well-played game by both teams."
"It's an important win because it helps us in the WCC standings and also in terms of the NCAA Tournament, and also we just beat the defending national champs," said forward Meagan Snell, who scored her team-leading 11th goal Thursday night. "It's great motivation for us and its going to help us so much going on."
Snell stepped up when it mattered for the Broncos yet again Thursday night, having a hand in the team's first two goals. Portland took a quick 1-0 lead on a Michelle Enyeart goal in the 12th minute, as the WCC's leading scorer squeezed a shot from nearly a 180-degree angle through a sliver of light between SCU keeper Meagan McCray and the far corner. Yet eight minutes later, Snell exploded into the box in pursuit of a nice touch pass from Brittany Klein and drew a crucial foul to set up a penalty kick, which Marian Dalmy converted into the lower far corner to equalize the match.
Just over seven minutes later, Snell struck again, outrunning the Portland back line after defender Lauren Zealear lifted a long ball across the midfield stripe. Snell battled her way into position, won the foot race, then beat Portland keeper Cori Alexander with a chip-shot from the top of the penalty box.
"I was just making a `C' run, and it was a great ball over from Lauren, and I was glad it went in," Snell said of her team-leading 11th goal. "I was happy that I could just stay composed and put it in the corner."
Things stayed 2-1 in SCU's favor into the second half, until another great individual effort, this time by freshman Kiki Bosio. The rookie forward took possession at midfield and made a highlight reel run through the Portland defense, culminating the sequence with a laser beam past Alexander and into the lower far corner of the net for the 3-1 lead.
"Originally I was looking to pass it, but I turned and saw a bunch of open space so I just took it, I think the defense thought I was going to pass too because they shifted, and things opened up for me and I just took the shot," Bosio said of her game-winner.
Bosio's goal ended up being pivotal, as the Pilots rallied with a late goal, as Kendra Chandhoke buried an 83rd-minute corner kick into the net to cut the Bronco lead to 3-2.
But from there the defense took over, not yielding another opportunity to the Pilots in wrapping up Santa Clara's 15th consecutive home win.
"To score three goals against a great team like Portland feels very, very good," Smith added.