Oct. 25, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 16 Santa Clara women's soccer team improved its shot at a West Coast Conference title today, taking down visiting Loyola Marymount, 1-0, at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos scored near the end of the first half on yet another header and held on in the second period for the win.
Santa Clara dominated the first half; taking 13 shots compared to the Lions' three, but couldn't find the back of the net until late in the half.
Several chances went just high or wide, then junior Anessa Patton finally got one goal with a clean look but couldn't steer her shot away from goalkeeper Allyssa Clark at 33:08.
Another opportunity presented itself when the ball ping-ponged between several LMU defenders and ended up at the feet of sophomore Jenny LaPonte. LaPonte barreled down on Clark from 18 yards out down the center, but put her shot right in the gut of netminder.
Minutes later LaPonte got another break, this time creating her own luck down the left flank. LaPonte dished the ball to Patton, who was streaking through the left side of the box and carried the ball towards the end line. Patton tried to center the ball back to senior Lexi Orand on the run, but the Lions kicked it away out of danger.
At 42:25, the Broncos earned a corner kick. Matheson jettisoned the ball, and senior Jordan Angeli got on the end and headed it towards the goal. Orand, who was posting up on the goalie, took a touch, spun and fired, but Clark was there to deflect it aside. Santa Clara kept the pressure up, not letting the ball out of the zone, and it ended up as a goal for the Broncos.
LaPonte ended up with the ball near the left sideline and this time connected Matheson to find Angeli, who did not return to the defensive line after the corner kick. The Lakewood, Colo. native rose up above her defender and put it into the right corner for her sixth goal of the season.
Senior goalkeeper Lisa Lahman ended the half with one save, which came rather easily, while two of LMU's shots were just barely off the mark.
"I thought in the first half we played some of the best soccer we've played all year long," said head coach Jerry Smith. "I thought we combined well, moved the ball, and created a lot of great chances; more chances than a one-goal half. We should have scored more and had two or three goals, but our finishing was lacking."
After the break, freshman Amanda Webster had a great chance as a ball played from the back released her on the run. Fortunately for the Lions, Clark was on top of the play, successfully sliding through the ball as Webster tried to nudge it past her.
At the other end, about 14 minutes in, LMU's Kelley Lawson got the ball on her foot on the right corner of the box and walked in all alone on Lahman. LaPonte, who had been initially beaten on the play, recovered speedily to body Lawson off the ball before she could take the shot, thwarting the tying goal.
In the 63rd minute, Lahman made an important save to keep the Lions scoreless. Erin Rementer's shot from 20 yards out deflected off a Santa Clara defender, forcing Lahman to change directions mid-strike and make the low stop at the post.
Neither team had any really dangerous chances on net after that as the game played out and Santa Clara finished victorious. Lahman completed 90 minutes with two saves and shutout number three for the season while her teammates ended the game with a 16-4 advantage in shots.
"We had such a great first half, but I think we let the foot off the accelerator a little bit," said Smith. "Our players made the mistake of coming out with a `we've got it now" mentality and relaxed and it let LMU back into game. Fortunately our end-of-the-match tactics were solid and while it's good to practice that, I think our performance could have been better and I was disappointed with our finishing."
With two games left in the conference season against second-ranked conference leader Portland and struggling Gonzaga, the Broncos, now 12-5-1 overall and 4-1-0 in conference, have a chance to earn the WCC's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament if they can win both. The 2 p.m. match against the Pilots on Sunday, Nov. 1 at Buck Shaw will be televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel.