LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's soccer team won the school's eighth men's soccer conference crown Saturday with a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, Calif.
Senior Anthony Chimienti scored his fourth goal of the year and third consecutive game-winner with just over five minutes remaining in the match to secure the Broncos' first West Coast Conference title since 1997. Santa Clara (11-8-0, 5-1-0 WCC) also picks up its first win at Sullivan Field since 1995 and earns a return ticket to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year hiatus.
Chimienti's goal came off a pass from Burke Ewers who sent the penalty re-start from the far right of the field all the way across the penalty box and into the waiting feet of Chimienti. The San Jose native then took the ball after a one touch and beat the Lion netminder with a hard shot to the roof of the goal.
Loyola Marymount (9-6-2, 2-3-1 WCC) came very close to tying the contest with a hard shot with just under one minute remaining that required freshman netminder Steve Cronin to make a diving save to secure his second career shutout.
"This is what we have been pointing to all year long," said head coach Mitch Murray. "This year we focused on winning the WCC title which assures us of a place in the tournament and we seem to be peaking at the right time now."
The Broncos will find out who and where they are playing in NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament during the selection show that will be held on Monday at noon. The first and second rounds of the tournament will be held on November 23 and 25 at sites to be announced on Monday. The third round and the quarterfinals will be played on December 2 and 9, respectively, with the College Cup being held in Columbus, Ohio on December 14 and 16.
Up Next - NCAA First and Second Rounds
Santa Clara earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the West Coast Conference title Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount. The Broncos drew a first-round match with Bay Area rival California on Friday at 4 p.m. on Stanford's Maloney Field. The winner of the Santa Clara-Cal match will face the tournament's No. 3 seed Stanford on Sunday at Maloney Field.
Series Record vs. California
Santa Clara and Cal have met 34 previous times entering Friday's match, but never before in postseason play. The Golden Bears hold a 21-10-3 all-time advantage over the Broncos, including this year's 2-1 overtime victory in Berkeley, Calif. Since 1986 the two teams have posted a 6-6-2 record against one another.
Sizing Up the Golden Bears
California finished the 2001 season with a 10-8-1 overall record and a 3-5-0 mark in the Pac-10. The Bears are led offensively by Austin Ripmaster who has scored six goals and assisted on five others for a team-leading 17 points. Josh Saunders has played all but seven minutes between the pipes for Cal, making 81 saves while registering a 1.17 goals-against average. As a team the Bears have lost three of their last four games, but were 8-2-1 in the 10 games prior to the recent skid.
Series Record vs. Stanford
If Santa Clara defeats Cal on Friday, the Broncos will face the tournament's No. 3 seed on Sunday, the Stanford Cardinal. Santa Clara and Stanford have met 39 prior times in the two school's history, with the Cardinal holding a slim 18-16-5 advantage, including a 1-0 victory over the Broncos in Buck Shaw Stadium earlier this year. The Broncos and Cardinal have met twice in postseason play with the Broncos winning both contests, including the memorable four overtime match that Santa Clara won in penalty kicks during the first-round of the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
Sizing Up the Cardinal
The Cardinal enter the NCAA Tournament as Pac-10 Champions after posting a 16-1-1 overall record and a 6-1-1 league mark. Stanford is led offensively by Roger Levesque who leads the team in points with 29, goals with 10 and assists with nine. Andrew Terris has taken the majority of the time in net for the Cardinal, making 44 saves and allowing only seven goals in 1287 minutes of action, good for a 0.49 goals-agasint average. As a team the Cardinal have outscored their opponents 47-8 while taking 109 more shots than their opponents.
Santa Clara won its eighth West Coast Conference title Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, Calif. Senior Anthony Chimienti scored his fourth goal of the year and third consecutive game-winner with just over five minutes remaining in the match to secure the Broncos' first West Coast Conference title since 1997. Santa Clara (11-8-0, 5-1-0 WCC) also picked up its first win at Sullivan Field since 1995 and earns a return ticket to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year hiatus. Chimienti's goal came off a pass from Burke Ewers who sent the penalty re-start from the far right of the field all the way across the penalty box and into the waiting feet of Chimienti. The San Jose native then took the ball after a one touch and beat the Lion netminder with a hard shot to the roof of the goal. Loyola Marymount (9-6-2, 2-3-1 WCC) came very close to tying the contest with a hard shot with just under one minute remaining that required freshman netminder Steve Cronin to make a diving save to secure his second career shutout.
Murray Registers Fifth Straight 10-Win Season, and 10th
The win over San Jose State on November 14 gave head coach Mitch Murray his fifth consecutive 10-win season, and his 10th overall in the 11 years he has been at Santa Clara. Murray improves his overall record to 142-57-17 in those 11 years, including a remarkable 43-14-6 mark in West Coast Conference play. Sunday's win over Loyola Marymount also gave Murray his fifth conference title in 11 years and first since 1997. Santa Clara has never finished below third place in league play since Murray took over the program in 1991.
WCC Player of the Week
Santa Clara University senior forward Anthony Chimienti was selected as the West Coast Conference Player of the Week Tuesday for his two game-winning goal performances last week against San Jose State and Loyola Marymount. The senior from San Jose, Calif. began the week on Wednesday when he scored his third goal of the season at the 97:38 mark in overtime to lift the Broncos to a 2-1 victory over San Jose State. He would end the week on Saturday by scoring his fourth goal of the season at the 84:59 mark of the second half to lift the Broncos to a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount. Chimienti has now scored the game-winners in each of the Broncos last three games, dating back to November 11 when he headed home a first half goal to lift the Broncos to a 1-0 victory over Saint Mary's. Chimieni's late season scoring spurt is truly mind-boggling in that just before the Broncos' match with Cal on October 7, he went under the knife for knee surgery. Since returning to the field on October 30, he has registered three goals and one assist.
Just Call Him Mr. November
Santa Clara secured their place in the postseason with a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount Sunday in Los Angeles, Calif. Including Sunday's win at LMU, head coach Mitch Murray has accumulated a .700 winning percentage in the months of November and December with a 36-15-3 overall record during his 11 years at Santa Clara. In the last five years alone he has guided his teams to a 19-5-2 mark during the final two months of the season, including a 16-3-2 mark in the month of November.
WCC Earns Five Tournament Berths
The Broncos, who earned the automatic berth into the tournament by winning the league title, were one of five WCC teams selected to the tournament. The five teams from the WCC tied for the second highest conference total in the tournament with the ACC, trailing only the Big East by one team. Joining the Broncos from the WCC are Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Portland and San Diego. San Diego earned a first-round bye and will face the winner of the LMU-UCLA match on Friday, while Portland and Gonzaga will face each other in the first round for an opportunity to take on Washington.
Santa Clara Versus NCAA Tournament
Santa Clara has faced a total of 10 teams in this year's tournament, combining for a 4-6-0 record in those matches. All six of the losses were by one goal, including two that went to overtime. The Broncos recorded a 2-0 win over James Madison, a 2-1 victory over San Diego and a 1-0 win at LMU for their three wins against 2001 tournament participants. Friday's first round opponent is one of the teams that defeated the Broncos by one goal during the regular season. Cal handed Santa Clara a 2-1 overtime loss in Berkeley on October 7. Since that loss, the Broncos have combined for a 7-2-0 overall record, including a 5-1-0 conference mark.
2001 Final WCC Standings - (Regular Season)
WCC Overall Team W L T Pts W L T Santa Clara 5 1 0 15 11 8 0 Portland 4 1 1 13 11 5 1 Gonzaga 4 1 1 13 9 4 2 San Diego 3 2 1 10 11 3 1 Loyola Marymount 2 3 1 7 9 6 2 Saint Mary's 1 5 0 0 6 11 1 San Francisco 0 6 0 0 7 10 1