SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off two double overtime games against top-12 opponents, No. 20 Santa Clara women's soccer wraps-up non-conference play with games vs. Kansas and Cal Poly this week. The Broncos will face Kansas Fri., Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. and Cal Poly Sun., Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. Last week Santa Clara tied No. 12 Cal 1-1 and fell to No. 2 Stanford 3-2 in double overtime. With an attendance of 3,252, the Stanford game was the 20th largest crowd in women's soccer history at Buck Shaw. The Broncos are now 4-3-1 on the season with all three losses coming to top-10 teams. Because of the tough schedule, Santa Clara is No. 9 in the RPI.
"I think we're getting really close to where we want to be," said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith. "I feel that we've made huge strides in our ability to score attacking dead balls and I feel very good about that. We've also been able to create a number goal scoring chances. We created a number of chances last week but our finishing wasn't very good so we'll continue to work on that. Often times finishing is the last piece that comes together. Now we're just trying to reduce the mental mistakes that is takes to win against the top-10 teams in the country."
This will be the first meeting between Santa Clara and Kansas in the programs' histories.
The Broncos are 15-2-3 all-time vs. Cal Poly with the last meeting coming in 2011. Santa Clara won the game 3-0 behind a pair of goals from then-sophomore Julie Johnston. The last meeting between the two teams at Buck Shaw was in 2008 when Cal Poly came away with a 2-1 overtime victory.
Against Kansas and Cal Poly the Broncos will focus on the areas that Smith feels are still lacking.
"Every week we set different goals for the team and this week finishing will be a big one," said Smith. "More specifically we're going to work on getting our shots on goal. You want to get a shot on goal percentage of 50-60% and we didn't have a high enough percentage. We need to continue to work on that and just reduce the mental mistakes."
Julie Johnston leads Santa Clara with five goals and 12 points while tying for the team-lead with two assists. Morgan Marlborough also has two assists and is second in goals with four and points with 10. Sofia Huerta is the only other Bronco with multiple goals, as she has scored two. Three other Broncos have one goal each while Julie Vass has two assists. Andi Tostanoski has made 42 saves for a .808 save percentage while collecting three shutouts.
"We'll be focused mainly on ourselves again this weekend," said Smith. "Cal Poly has one of the top scorers in the country so we're going to have to pay attention to that. In the Kansas game it's more about us taking care of the things we need to take care of. Kansas is a very good team but I don't see any reason to focus one specific thing that they do."
Kansas is 5-4-1 in 2013 and 2-2 on the road. The Jayhawks are yet to play a ranked team. Last week they beat South Dakota State 2-1 on the road and Illinois State 2-0 at home.
Kansas sports a balanced offensive attack with eight players having scored at least one goal and no one having more than three. Caroline Kastor leads the team with three goals and three assists for nine points. Liana Salazar is tied for second in goals and assists with two each for six points. Ashley Williams and Courtney Dickerson each have scored twice and added an assist each. Jamie Fletcher is tied for the team-lead with two assists while find the back of the net once. Kaitlyn Stroud has played every minute in net and has a 1.08 GAA. Stroud has made 44 saves for a .800 save percentage and has three shutouts.
Cal Poly enters the week with a 4-4-0 record but are on a four-game losing streak. After opening the season with four wins, the Mustangs have fallen to a pair of ranked opponents in No. 10 Baylor and No. 20 Texas A&M as well as Oregon State and Seattle, all on the road. They are just 1-4 on the road in 2013.
Elise Krieghoff leads the team with 10 goals and has added one assist for 21 points. She tied for fourth in the country in goals scored. No other Mustang has more than one goal but five others have scored once each. Kacey Held leads the team with four assists while four others are tied for second with two assists apiece. Alyssa Giannetti has seen the most minutes in goal and has allowed 15 goals for a 2.17 GAA. Giannetti has made 37 saves for a .712 save percentage and has two shutouts.