Nov. 1, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 14 Santa Clara women's soccer team fell today in their home finale, 1-0, to West Coast Conference leader and the nation's second-ranked team, Portland. The Pilots scored early, and the two teams traded attacks but the Broncos were unable to overcome the one-goal deficit, dropping their sixth match of the year.
Portland grabbed the lead just three minutes into the game. Sophie Schmidt put a shot on frame that starting senior goalkeeper Lisa Lahman tipped, but her deflection hit the crossbar and went straight to Michelle Enyeart who followed it up with her head, directing it into the net.
"Lisa [Lahman] made a very difficult first save," said head coach Jerry Smith. "She has been playing well and it was a great first save, and it just caught the bottom of the crossbar and didn't go up and over and unfortunately Portland got on the end of the rebound."
In the 18th minute, Santa Clara committed a foul just outside the penalty area, and the Pilots' leading scorer Danielle Foxhoven nearly made it 2-0, but her strike hit the crossbar near the post and bounced inches from the goal line.
Junior Anessa Patton had the best chance of the half for the Broncos towards the end of the period after receiving a through-ball from senior Jordan Angeli, but goalkeeper Kelsey Davis made the save on the wide open shot and covered up the rebound to preserve the Portland lead.
Although the majority of play was in the Santa Clara defensive zone, the Broncos fired six shots towards the net in the period, forcing Davis to make three saves, while Lahman had one and sophomore Bianca Henninger, who played the last 37 minutes of the half, also registered one.
In the second half, the momentum changed slightly in favor of Santa Clara and the Broncos kept the Pilot defense busy. Santa Clara nearly tied it up in the 65th minute, but failed to convert. Patton nailed a low cross to junior Maxine Goynes. The pass drew Davis off her line, but Goynes touched it away from the keeper's reach. The ball ended up on the foot of freshman Olivia Klei, but Klei missed high on what many in the crowd thought would be the tying goal.
In the 89th minute, the Broncos in the midst of desperation almost tied it yet again when senior Kiki Bosio flicked Angeli's pass to Patton in the box. A Portland defender got there just in time to block Patton's shot, as the Fresno, Calif. native had much of the goal to pick her spot. The resulting rebound went to Bosio, who also had her shot blocked.
Santa Clara went on to out-shoot the Pilots 8-2 in the half, and 14-7 overall but couldn't find the netting, ending the game 1-0 in favor of Portland.
"I think we played well," said Smith. "The players stayed true to the tactics we wanted to use in the game, and our goal was to turn it into even soccer game. Portland has something like a plus-60 goal differential, puts in five or six a game, and last game scored eight times, so to limit them to seven shots is good effort. I think that's a combination of our team doing a good job of keeping the ball and creating chances and our defense did a good job of bottling them up in front of goal."
"In terms of dangerous chances it was pretty even. They had a follow up, we had a follow up, but they put theirs in. Tight games like this are always a matter of inches. I told the team afterward that clearly Portland is one of the top teams in country, ranked second and deservedly so, and they didnt outplay us and for stretches we looked better than them, so that's a good step for program right now."
The Broncos, now 12-6-1, will finish out the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 7 at Gonzaga. The NCAA selection show follows on Monday, Nov. 9.