SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 11 Santa Clara women's soccer team picked up its second win of the weekend, taking down Utah, 1-0, on the final day of the Santa Clara Classic. For the second-consecutive game, a goal near the midway point of the game proved to be the game-winner.
The match opened slowly, with few solid scoring chances for either side until the last 15 minutes of the half.
"We played a little bit of a sluggish first half," said head coach Jerry Smith. "We spent a lot of energy in Friday night's game I thought it showed. We've been working with a little bit of a short roster due to some injuries but in the second half I thought we played well and created a lot of chances."
The Broncos first threatened the Utah goal in the 19th minute when senior Kendra Perry's low, hard shot nearly got through Utes' goalkeeper Hannah Turpen. Turpen made the initial save, but had to recover to pick up the rebound behind her.
In the 39th minute, junior Bridgett Miller fired off a shot that Turpen again struggled to handle. A Utah defender was able to clear the ball off the line before any Santa Clara player could get there.
The Utes' Lexi Krantz got a clean look at goal in the 42nd minute, shooting for the lower right corner, but junior goalie Bianca Henninger executed perfect footwork to get to the ball and push it wide.
Just before half, freshman Cali Reis received a through-ball and beat Turpen to the wide left, but the Utes defense recovered and with Reis' angle diminished, easily cleared the rookie's attempt on net.
The Broncos' goal was scored just under five minutes into the second half. Sophomore Meleana Shim hooked up with senior Amanda Poach near the left sideline and Poach fired a perfect ball to Miller, who was streaming in from the right side of the box. Miller deftly headed the ball in for her first career goal.
Santa Clara rattled off 10 shots in the second half (16 total in the game), and aside from Millers goal, the best attempt came from Poach in the 64th minute. Poach collected a ball about 35 yards out after a weak corner kick clearance by Utah and fired high. Turpen was able to get enough of a push on it to drive it into the crossbar and out for a corner kick.
At the end of 90 minutes, the 1-0 result stood up for the Broncos, who collected their sixth win of the season. Santa Clara outshot the Utes, 16-6, and Henninger finished with four saves in her fourth shutout of the season. Despite winning both games this weekend, Santa Clara took second overall in the tournament, as Stanford won on goal differential.
"I was happy with the second half and the shutout, and I was particularly happy about the energy from the players who came off the bench provided for us," said Smith."
"I'm really happy for Bridget Miller. Not only was it her first career goal, but anytime a substitute comes in and gets the game-winner and makes a difference in the game is a real positive for the team. Also I want to congratulate Bridgett, Bianca and Jenny [LaPonte] on getting selected to the all-tournament team. They were all very deserving."
"I think the biggest lesson we can take from this weekend is that we have to do a better job of finishing off our chances. We're creating enough chances, but in our last three games we've had 29 shots against Georgia and double-digit shots against Georgetown and Utah and we've only scored three. That is something we need to improve upon."
Santa Clara, now 6-1-2, finishes its current homestand this coming Friday against Oregon at 7:30 p.m. The match is part of a doubleheader with the men's team, who will take on San Jose State at 5:30 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium. Following the match against the Ducks, the Broncos will travel to Los Angeles for a Sunday showdown with UCLA.