SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's soccer team laid claim to its ninth West Coast Conference title with its 2-0 victory over the University of San Diego Saturday night in front of a loud and wet crowd of 512 fans in Buck Shaw Stadium. With the win the Broncos' improve to 13-2-3 overall and 5-0-0 in the WCC while the Toreros fall to 12-4-2 overall and 4-1-1 in league action.
Constant rain soaked the field at "The Shaw" Saturday night leading to sloppy play at times and a very physical match. SCU was whistled for 17 fouls on the evening and four yellow cards while USD had 16 fouls called against them while being booked for yellow cards three times.
San Diego controlled the ball and the match early on, but Santa Clara gained its composure after all four of their yellow cards were assessed in the first 25 minutes of the match. From that point on the Broncos controlled the tempo and style of play in the first half, leading to a scoreless first stanza of play.
In the second half the Broncos came out as the aggressors, pushing the ball forward and taking advantage of the knowledge of their home field. Santa Clara looked more in tune with what the ball would do in the wet conditions. This paid off in the 52nd minute as Will Weatherly was able to anticipate a ball that skipped past the USD defense and was taken down inside the penalty area. After the whistle came, he calmly knocked in the penalty kick to give SCU a 1-0 lead.
Just eight minutes later a long ball went towards San Diego netminder Lance Friesz that stopped dead in the water. With the keeper way out of position after he had slipped in the water, freshman midfielder Tannen Wels sent a ball in from 30 yards out that made its way into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
From there the Bronco defense would hunker down and not allow many good looks at the net for the Toreros. The sixth-ranked defense in the nation allowed seven shots on the night, but only two of which were on net. SCU keeper Steve Cronin made two saves to secure his seventh shutout of the season and the team's 10 overall.
Final 2003 WCC Standings (Regular Season)
Santa Clara Broncos (13-3-3 / 5-1-0 WCC)
Santa Clara will be making their 14th post-season appearance as they will host Southern Methodist at Buck Shaw Stadium on Friday evening...The Broncos dropped their season finale, as they were shut out 3-0 by Loyola Marymount on Saturday...Santa ClaraÂs five wins in WCC contests ties them with five other squads for the most in conference history...Their 13 victories are the most for an SCU team since the 1999 team claimed 16 wins...Cameron Rast has won eight conference contests in his two years at the helm, placing him in sole possession of ninth place on the WCC all-time conference wins chart...Junior Steve Cronin became the second Bronco in three seasons to lead the WCC in goals against average, posting a 0.61 GAA...The Broncos will take on SMU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. SCU defeated the Mustangs by a score of 3-1 in September at the LMU Fall Classic.
San Diego Toreros (12-4-3 / 4-2-0 WCC)
San Diego has advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season. The Toreros earned a #14 seed in the tournament and will face the winner of the UMKC-Creighton matchup in the second round...San Diego battled to a 2-2 draw with #1 ranked UCLA at Torero Stadium on Thursday night. The result broke a two-match losing streak to the defending national champions...Freshman Michael Caso scored a goal and assisted on the second score in the contest...Senior Eric Wunderle finished the season tied for the conference lead with eight assists. He also finished third in the conference with 16 points...The Toreros led the conference in shots for the fourth straight season, pelting opposing goals with 322 shots...San Diego fell to Creighton in their only previous meeting and have never met UMKC on the pitch before.
San Francisco Dons (9-10-1 / 3-2-1 WCC)
The Dons ended their season with a 2-1 win over Gonzaga, improving their conference mark to 3-2-1, the first time since 1995 that San Francisco has finished over .500 in WCC play...USF got the game-winner from senior Tyler Renaghan, who scored his first career goal in his last game in the green and gold...Chris Schwarze and the DonsÂ defense surrendered their first goal in 253 minutes when Gonzaga scored in the 73rd minute of SaturdayÂs contest...Freshman Matt Languis finished as the teamÂs leading scorer, collecting 12 points with four goals and four assists...Freshman goalkeeper Geremy Uhl came on strong at the end of the season, earning the starting job and posting four wins with three shutouts...The Dons will look to build on their late season success with several young players that have made an impact.
Portland Pilots (9-8-1 / 3-2-1 WCC)
The Pilots earned their third straight post-season appearance and their fourth in the last five seasons...Portland has compiled a winning record for 17 straight seasons...Sophomore Alejandro Salazar led the conference with 10 goals. Six of his goals came against conference opponents, giving him 12 career goals in conference play. The total ties him for sixth place on the WCC all-time goals chart...Freshman Christopher Sanders finished third in the conference with seven goals scored. Four of those goals were game-winners, tying him for the conference lead...Freshman goalkeeper Luis Robles posted five shutouts, the 10th highest total in program history...The Pilots will travel to Corvallis to take on Oregon State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Portland defeated the Beavers 2-0 on October 7.
Loyola Marymount Lions (12-6-1 / 3-3-0 WCC)
The Lions finished their conference slate with a 3-0 shutout of conference champion Santa Clara at Sullivan field...Freshman Junior Ybarra paced the WCC with six assists in conference contests, tying the second highest single-season total in conference history...Junior Matt KovarÂs eight assists on the season tied for conference lead and is the second most assists collected by a Lion in a single-season...LMU led the WCC with 48 assists as a team, the first time that the Lions have ever paced the conference in that category...Goalkeeper Shaun Kalnasy kept six clean sheets this season, tying him for the highest single-season total in program history...The Lions will host the winner of the Santa Clara-SMU matchup on November 26. LMU is making their third straight post-season appearance.
Saint MaryÂs Gaels (8-11-0 / 2-4-0
Saint MaryÂs concluded their season with an 8-11-0 mark and a sixth place finish in the West Coast Conference...Freshman Matt Fitzgerald emerged as the GaelsÂ top scoring threat, netting three goals in conference play and five overall. His three goals in WCC play ranked second in the conference and his five assists on the year tie him for the ninth highest single-season total in program history...Senior Niles Almarinez moved into sole possession of fifth place on the SMC all-time assist chart, collecting four this season and moving his career total to 12...Junior Diego Rovira also broke into the top-10 on the career assist chart, helping to create five goals this season and moving into a tie for seventh place with 10...Senior Kellan Wilson became just the second Âkeeper to lead the WCC in saves in three different seasons, as he collected a conference-high 106 this year.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (5-11-1 / 0-6-0 WCC)
Gonzaga fell to San Francisco by a score of 2-1 in their season finale. With the loss, the Zags failed to earn a point in the league standings for the first time since joining the WCC for soccer in 1993...Freshman Luke Miller tallied his second goal of the season in SaturdayÂs contest...Junior Arni Ingi Pjetursson took four shots against USF, bringing his season total up to 38, which ranks as the eighth highest single-season total in program history. His 137 career shots rank third on the Gonzaga all-time list...Senior Scott Yuska assisted on three goals this season, giving him 13 for his career and placing him fourth on the ZagsÂ all-time chart...Gonzaga had four players (#5 Arni Pjetursson, #9 Scott Yuska, and #10 Kari Arnason and Scott Bertram) rank among the top-10 in the conference in points.