SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Wrapping up the non-conference portion of its schedule, 17th ranked Santa Clara University (7-1-4) beat San Diego State (5-5-3) by a final score of 5-0. It was the Broncos third win in a row and the third game in a row in which they scored at least three goals.
"We are where we want to be entering conference play. We've only lost one game in our non-conference schedule. We try to put together a demanding schedule and we had another quality opponent today in San Diego State," said Bronco head coach Jerry Smith. "We're very happy with how the team played today and we're very happy with the progress we've made since the beginning of the season. We feel like our team is in a good position to be ready to open conference play next weekend."
The Broncos struck first with a goal in the eighth minute off the head of Cate Parchinski. Sofia Huerta ran down a ball just before it went out the end line and centered it to the middle of the box. Parchinski dove for the ball and headed it past the Aztecs' goalkeeper. The goal was the second in Patchinski's collegiate career and put the score at 1-0 in favor of Santa Clara.
Three minutes later Santa Clara extended the lead to 2-0. From a few yards outside the top of the box Julie Johnston played a through ball to Huerta who took a dribble and blasted her shot into the back of the net. The goal was the first point of Huerta's Santa Clara career.
Meleana Shim took a through ball at the top of the box and fired a shot that was saved by Rachel Boaz but she was unable to secure the ball and Johnston was there on the rebound to make the score 3-0 Broncos. The goal was Johnston's team-leading seventh.
San Diego State's first good scoring chance game in the 38th minute when Sarah Halverson took a shot from inside the box that went just over the crossbar. The Aztecs had another chance with two minutes left in the half when Haley Locker fired a shot over the cross bar and the half ended with the score 3-0 Santa Clara.
Despite slowing down the pace considerably in the second half the Broncos scored in the 65th minute to make the score 4-0. Shim played a long ball that Huerta ran down and gained control of at the top-right of the box. She rocketed a shot that flew past the goalie for her second goal of the game.
Minutes later Parchinski played a ball to Huerta in almost the same spot and with a nearly identical shot she completed the hat trick and put Santa Clara up by a score of 5-0. The hat trick was the first of the season for the Broncos and the sixth time a Santa Clara player has scored multiple goals in a game this season.
Locker of the Aztecs had a scoring opportunity in the 73rd minute when the Broncos were unable to clear the ball from the box but Molly Mettler made the save to preserve the shutout. San Diego State was able to muster a few more scoring chances but one shot hit the crossbar and Mettler was able to make another save. Mettler, making her second start in a row for injured Bianca Henninger, ended the game with six saves.
Huerta nearly made it a four-goal performance when she took a through ball on the ground and tapped a shot to the right of the goalkeeper but her shot went just wide of the left post.
"I've kind of been in a slump and haven't been able to score. It feels good to get one in and not only did I get one in but I got two more. It feels good, especially the support of my teammates. That's the best feeling," said Sophia Huerta. "Because I had so many shots and hadn't scored I was trying too hard instead of just going with the flow and letting the game come to me. Finally today I decided to just play and focus on the team because it's not just me who can score, it's everyone."
Santa Clara begins conference play next week with only one game on the schedule. The Broncos will play Saint Mary's at 1 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 9 at Buck Shaw Stadium.