Broncos and Bulldogs Face Off in Battle of WCC Unbeatens on Saturday Night
Oct. 24, 2001
Up Next - Gonzaga
Santa Clara will resume West Coast Conference play Saturday evening when they take on conference leader Gonzaga. The Broncos and Bulldogs each have two conference wins heading into the critical matchup, but the Bulldogs have played one more contest, a tie against San Diego, therefore having more points than the Broncos and sitting atop the WCC standings.
Series Record vs. Gonzaga
Santa Clara and Gonzaga have met eight prior times entering this weekend's contest. The Broncos hold a 4-3-1 advantage over the Bulldogs, but fell in the their last meeting by a score of 3-0 in Spokane last season. The two teams have squared off with each other one time in each of the last eight years, dating back to 1993 when Santa Clara handed Gonzaga a 4-0 loss in Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos are 3-0-1 all-time against the Bulldogs in Buck Shaw, having outscored Gonzaga 9-2 in those meetings.
Sizing Up the Bulldogs
Gonzaga enters Saturday night's contest with a 7-3-2 overall record, a 2-0-1 WCC record and a six-game unbeaten streak. The Bulldogs last loss came to Cal State Northridge on September 28 by a score of 1-0 that dropped Gonzaga's record to 3-3-0. Since then the Bulldogs have recorded wins over Valparaiso, Cal Poly, Portland and LMU to go along with ties against Western Washington and San Diego.
The Bulldogs are led offensively by Arni Pjetursson who has scored three goals and assisted on three others. Zach Scott and Abbas Faridnia have also added three goals for the Bulldogs. As a team , Gonzaga has scored 16 times and limited their opponents to only 10 goals. Mike McCarthy has played in all but one game between the pipes for the Bulldogs, recording a 6-3-0 record, a 0.79 goals-against average and 41 saves in just over 1,025 minutes of action.
Santa Clara improved its WCC record to 2-0-0 with a thrilling double-overtime victory over San Francisco on Friday night in San Francisco. Jeff Stewart got the Broncos started off right with his second goal of the season coming just four minutes into the contest. Stewart headed home the goal off a great penalty re-start kick from freshman Jason Pan who recorded the first collegiate point of his career with the assist. The Dons got the equalizer shortly thereafter as Anthony Medina tied the score at one apiece when he headed home a goal in the 26th minute of the contest. The scored remained tied at one at the end of regulation and the first overtime period. The game finally ended when Justin Canel scored his first goal of the season for the Broncos off a pass from netminder Steve Cronin in the 110th minute of the contest. Canel took the punted pass from Cronin and slipped the ball past the San Francisco netminder who rushed out to challenge the play.
It's Deja Vu All Over Again
The win on Friday over USF marked the second time this season that Santa Clara picked up a double overtime victory at San Francisco's Negoesco Stadium. Santa Clara picked up its first double-overtime victory of the year at Negoesco Stadium against Oregon State in the USF/Diadora Classic on September 7. The final score of that game was 2-1, with Scott McLain scoring the first goal and Jeff Stewart picking up the game-winner in the 114th minute.
Jack of All Trades
Freshman netminder Steve Cronin has done everything that has been asked of him this year, and he has done it well. The Bronco rookie has scored one goal this season and assisted on another while playing in seven games. Cronin's first collegiate goal came in Santa Clara's thrilling 2-1 win over then No. 8 San Diego. Cronin was inserted up front to use his height and athletic ability to generate shots, and that he did, scoring the game-winner with only :28 remaining in regulation. His first collegiate assists came on Justin Canel's game-winning goal against San Francisco. Cronin picked up his third collegiate point when he punted the ball, from his goalkeeper position, across midfield where Canel beat the USF keeper to give the Broncos the double overtime victory.
Santa Clara's top four scorers this season might not be whom you would expect. Defender Jeff Stewart leads the Broncos with four points on the season. Both of his goals have come at USF's Negoesco Stadium. Scott McLain and Kellen Gilmore each have three points from their midfield position, while back-up netminder Steve Cronin also has tallied three points on the year.
Defensively, the Broncos have been dominant as usual, allowing only 134 shots this season by their opponents, of which only 64 have been on goal. Of those 64 shots on goal, only 11 have made it into the back of the net giving the Broncos a team goals-against average of 0.79 which ranks near the top of the WCC.
Following this weekend's WCC game with Gonzaga, Santa Clara will square off with Sacramento State on Tuesday, October 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Buck Shaw Stadium. The game with the Hornets was originally scheduled for September 15, but was re-scheduled in response to the tragic events of September 11. Following the game against Sacramento State, the Broncos will play its final WCC home game of the year, taking on the University of Portland on Saturday, November 3 at 7:30 p.m in "The Shaw."
WCC Men's Soccer Standings
(Through games of October 21) WCC Overall Team W L T Pts W L T Gonzaga 2 0 1 7 7 3 2 Portland 2 1 1 7 8 4 1 Santa Clara 2 0 0 6 6 7 0 LMU 0 1 1 1 7 4 2 San Diego 0 2 1 1 7 3 1 San Francisco 0 1 0 0 7 5 1 Saint Mary's 0 1 0 0 5 5 1