Oct. 29, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 14 Santa Clara women's soccer team hosts its final home game of the season on Sunday, taking on No. 2 Portland on national television (Fox Soccer Channel) at 2 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium. The West Coast Conference title is on the line on Senior Day for the Broncos, and if they can manage the win and pull off another victory against Gonzaga next week, Santa Clara will win the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
"If we were to win our next two games and Portland was to win their last one, technically we would be co-champions with Portland," said head coach Jerry Smith. "But in terms of the automatic qualifying bid, it would go to us with the head-to-head tiebreaker. At 4-1 in the WCC we're still in the hunt, and that's one of the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the season. For that to happen we have to beat Portland who is one of the best teams in the country and we are looking forward to that challenge."
Even if the Broncos fall on Sunday and win against Gonzaga, an NCAA at-large bid still looks to be the result for Santa Clara. If they do in fact make the post-season, it would be the 20th time in 21 years.
The Bronco offense is averaging 1.39 goals per game (25 total goals), while the defense has earned eight shutouts. Redshirt senior Jordan Angeli (Lakewood, Colo.) is leading the team in goals with six, while six others have found the net at least twice and three others have registered one goal each. Angeli also leads the team in points (15), followed by senior Kiki Bosio (Mission Viejo, Calif.) with 11, and junior Maxine Goynes (Modesto, Calif.) with nine. Sophomore goalkeeper Bianca Henninger (Los Gatos, Calif.) started 14 contests before falling victim to an injury, keeping five clean sheets and carrying a goals-against-average of 0.94, and could return for the match against the Pilots. Reserve senior goalkeeper Lisa Lahman (Santa Cruz, Calif.) has been stellar in Henninger's place, earning three shutouts in four starts and holds a GAA of 0.62 in six total games.
"We as coaches will have a difficult decision to make on who gets to play in net on Sunday," said Smith. "To have two goalkeepers battling for the starting position down the stretch of the season is a great problem to have and it will absolutely be a game time decision. Lisa is hot right now, but at Portland last year Bianca put together an incredible goalkeeping performance. She saved a penalty kick and made a ton of big plays. It will be a tough decision for us to make."
Santa Clara is 6-2-1 on Buck Shaw this season and Smith thinks a home-field advantage may play a part in the game. "I think so, I hope so, and I want to challenge our students to come out on that day and really help us and be the 12th man for us. It's going to be a great game and a dogfight like several of the past Portland-SCU matches have been. They are a great team scoring by bunches, it's on national television, and the conference championship is on the line. I hope we can gather a great crowd and a great atmosphere."
LAST WEEK'S WRAP UP
Santa Clara earned two one-goal victories over Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount at home to improve to 12-5-1 overall and 4-1-0 in WCC play. The contest against the Waves went into double-overtime, but freshman Allie Vernon (Homer Glen, Ill.) headed in the game-winner for the Broncos fourth overtime victory of the season. Against the Lions, Jordan Angeli also scored on a header, this time just before the halfway point as the defense went on to keep donut on the scoreboard.
GAME DAY FESTIVITIES
Sunday's match will see a lot of activity not just during the game, as it is also Senior Day, Alumni Day, and Autograph Day. Santa Clara's ten seniors (Lisa Lahman, Lexi Orand, Hayley Siegel, Kiki Bosio, Dani Potts, Alyssa Chun, Amanda Poach, Courtney Lewis, Jordan Angeli, and Katherine Reynolds) will be honored in a pre-game ceremony. At halftime, women's soccer alumni in attendance will be honored as well as the 2009-10 men's and women's basketball teams introduced for the upcoming season. After halftime, the basketball teams will be signing autographed posters near the marketing area. Post-match, the 2009 Santa Clara women's soccer team will be available for an autograph session near the north gate of the stadium next to the merchandising area. Members and players of the FC Bay Area Gold Pride will also be in attendance to promote their upcoming season.
The Pilots, at 16-1-0, have only one blemish on their record having fallen to Texas A&M on the road on Sept. 18, losing by a score of 3-1. Aside from that, Portland has been dominating their opponents, winning every game save for two by at least two goals and outscoring them 69-7. The Bronco defense, which has been solid for a majority of the year, will need to play its best game of the season to contain the Pilots, who have averaged 4.06 goals-per-game, and they will have to do it without starting sophomore outside back Jenny LaPonte who must miss the game after taking her fifth yellow card of the season against Loyola Marymount. Danielle Foxhoven, this past week's TopDrawerSoccer.com's National Player of the Week and nation's leading goal scorer, has 21 goals and eight assists for 50 points. Michelle Enyeart (12) and Sophie Schmidt (10) are also in double-digit scoring totals and the Pilots have had 11 different goal scorers. Senior Kelsey Davis will most likely get the start in net. Davis has only surrendered five goals in 13 games for a GAA of 0.42 and has a 10-1-0 record with eight shutouts.
BRONCOS GETTING NATIONAL AND CONFERENCE RECOGNITION
Santa Clara has had numerous players recognized nationally by several different media outlets this season. The Broncos have had five CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performers of the Week selections [Angeli (9/8, 9/14), Vernon (9/14), Bosio (9/22), Reynolds (9/22)], one TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week selection [Henninger (9/14)], and two WCC Players of the Week [Angeli (9/14), Bosio (9/21)]. In the polls, Santa Clara checks in at No. 14 in the NSCAA National Rankings, No. 20 on SoccerTimes.com and CollegeSoccer360.com, No. 24 on Soccer America, and No. 35 on TopDrawerSoccer.com's Tournament Rankings.
Santa Clara returned 17 letterwinners and lost four, only one of which was a starter (goalkeeper Meagan McCray) ... the Bronco freshman class of 10 players was named TopDrawerSoccer.com's best in the nation ... senior Katherine Reynolds is on the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List.
FOLLOW SANTA CLARA ONLINE AND ON TV
Live stats for the Portland match will be available on CBS College Sports' Gametracker. Live video on Broncos All-Access will not be available due to a live television broadcast by Fox Soccer Channel. FSC is located on channel 619 on DirecTV, 401 on Comcast in the South Bay Area, and 149 on Dish Network.
TURN BACK YOUR CLOCKS
Daylight savings time will officially end on Sunday Nov. 1 at 2 a.m. Fans should turn their clocks back one hour to ensure they arrive at the game on time.
Santa Clara will close out its regular season schedule on Saturday, Nov. 7 at Gonzaga at 1 p.m.