Nov. 8, 2003
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.
The win not only gives the Broncos' the WCC crown, but it also officially secures them a spot in the NCAA Tournament as they captured the league's automatic berth with the win. Next weekend's regular season finale at Loyola Marymount will take place on Saturday, November 15 at 1 p.m.
Although the match has no significance as far as the league standings go, the Broncos have a chance to make WCC history and become the first men's soccer program to win six matches in a year. No other school has ever gone 6-0-0 in league play.
The match also bears significance for the Broncos gaining home field advantage in the NCAA Tournament. The field of 48 will be announced on Monday, November 17 at 1 p.m. on ESPNews.