November 11, 2003

Men's Soccer Concludes Regular Season at LMU

Nov. 11, 2003

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This Week: Final Regular Season Match
Santa Clara, the 2003 West Coast Conference Champion, will conclude its 2003 regular season at Loyola Marymount on Saturday, November 15 at 1 p.m. Although the match has no significance in the 2003 WCC standings for the Broncos, they are looking to become the first team in league history to post six wins in a conference season. Several teams, including SCU during the 1994 season, have gone 5-0-1, but no team has ever gone 6-0-0. The Broncos, who have already clinched a berth in the NCAA Tournament, look to make WCC history against a LMU team still fighting for a spot in the postseason.

No. 4 Santa Clara vs. Loyola Marymount
The Broncos and Lions have met 23 previous times entering Saturday afternoon's match. Ironically enough the two teams had concluded the regular season against one another in each of the last four seasons. Overall, SCU holds a commanding 20-2-1 record against the Lions, with the last time that Loyola Marymount was able to notch a victory over the Broncos coming in the 1997 season. The Broncos are 4-0-1 in the last five meetings between the two schools, including a 3-0 victory in Buck Shaw Stadium last year and a 1-0 victory in Los Angeles to secure the 2001 WCC Championship.

Scouting the Lions
LMU enters the match with a 11-6-1 overall record and a 2-3-0 mark in league play. The Lions are led offensively by Kevin Novak whose team-high nine goals and one assist total a team high 19 points. Shaun Kalnasy has taken the majority of the minutes between the pipes for the Lions, posting a 0.84 goals-against average in 1,392 minutes of play. He has allowed only 13 goals while notching six shutouts. Loyola Marymount has won its last three matches by a combined score of 7-0, shutting out Portland, Gonzaga and San Diego State over the span of a six day period. They have not played since their 2-0 victory on November 5th at home against San Diego State.

Weatherly Earns Academic All-District VIII Honors
Santa Clara University men's soccer midfielder Will Weatherly was named to the 2003 CoSIDA Academic All-American All-District VIII First Team on Thursday. The junior from Bellevue, Wash., currently leads the team in points (14) and goals scored (6) while maintaining a 3.64 overall grade point average in Accounting. With his selection to the All-District VIII team, Weatherly earns a spot on the national ballot for Academic All-American. If selected he will join former Broncos Jack Zwissig (1971) and Eric Yamamoto (1987, 88, 89) as the only players to be selected to the Academic All-American team. Yamamoto is currently in his 13th season as an assistant coach for Santa Clara.

Defense Wins Championships
The saying is an old one, but very appropriate when it comes to describing the Santa Clara method of winning. Defense won the Broncos the 2003 WCC Championship. Santa Clara has allowed only 10 goals thus far through 18 matches in 2003, posting a 0.53 goals-against average. The remarkable part is that the Broncos have the lowest amount of saves per game in the league. Netminder Steve Cronin is averaging only 2.41 saves per game, meaning that the Bronco defense is so strong that teams are having a tough time getting opportunities to take shots. SCU has outscored its opponents 31-10 this season, boasting a conference high differential of 21 goals. The next closest is San Diego whose 18 goal differential has come on 32 goals for against only 14 given up.

In the Rankings
The Santa Clara University men's soccer team remained constant in all four polls, staying at No. 4 in the Soccer America poll, No. 5 in Soccer Times, No. 6 in the College Soccer News poll and No. 7 in the NSCAA Coaches' Poll. Four WCC squads were ranked in the NSCAA/adidas Far West Region Poll for the second straight week, matching a season high. Santa Clara remained at No. 2, right behind UCLA who is the top ranked team in all four national polls. San Diego checked in at No. 7 in the regional poll despite dropping a 2-0 decision to Santa Clara on Saturday. Loyola Marymount remained at No. 8 after shutting out San Diego State on Wednesday. Portland remained at No. 10 after a scoreless draw with San Francisco in conference play and a 2-1 win over Cal Poly on Sunday to close out the regular season. For the second straight week, the WCC is represented by more schools that any other conference in the West Region. The Pac-10 conference is second with three teams, while the Big West is represented by two and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation is represented by one school.

There is No Place Like Home
Santa Clara improved to 6-0-1 at home in 2003 and extended their home unbeaten streak to 11, with its 2-0 victory over No. 17 San Diego to clinch the 2003 WCC Championship. The Broncos' last loss at "The Shaw" came on September 26, 2002 to California. SCU's all-time record at Buck Shaw is now 173-67-20, which is a .703 winning percentage. Since the WCC began sponsoring soccer in 1988, Santa Clara has dominated at home, registering a 119-24-11 (.807 win percentage) overall record at Buck Shaw, including a 32-4-3 (.813 win percentage) against WCC teams. Only San Diego (2), San Francisco and Portland have ever won a league match at Buck Shaw Stadium San Francisco (2) and Portland are responsible for the three ties in conference games at SCU.

Weatherly Named WCC Player of the Week
Santa Clara University midfielder Will Weatherly was named the West Coast Conference Men's Soccer Player of the Week on Monday. The honor comes just two days after his game-winning goal against No. 17 San Diego clinched the WCC title for the 4th-ranked Broncos. Weatherly's goal came in the 51st minute on a penalty kick that he earned after he was taken down inside the penalty box. It was his sixth goal of the season, increasing his team lead in that category as well as in points scored. His 14 points this season gives him a two point lead over teammate Kelechi Igwe.

Cronin Ranks First in WCC for GAA, Second in Shutouts
Junior Steve Cronin has registered seven shutouts thus far in 2003, ranking him second in the WCC in that category. He currently has 12 in his career, leaving him only five shy of cracking the top-five for career shutouts at SCU. His goals-against average of 0.59 in all games and 0.58 in league games are both leading the league. The last Santa Clara player to lead the WCC in goals-against average was current assistant coach Rusty Johnson whose 0.81 mark led the league during his senior season.

Rast in Elite Company
Second year head coach Cameron Rast became only the second head coach in Santa Clara men's soccer history to win 10 games in his first two years at the helm of the program. He joins his predecessor and mentor Mitch Murray as the only two to have accomplished the feat. Rast is now 23-8-4 overall after going 10-6-1 in his first year while Murray posted records of 20-1-2 and 10-7-1 in his first two campaigns. Former coaches Dave Chaplik (1972-80), Ralph Perez (1981-85) and Steve Sampson (1986-90) all posted 10 wins in two of their first three seasons, but did not posted back-to-back 10-win years to begin their coaching careers on the Mission Campus.

Bronco Defense Ranked Sixth in Country
Santa Clara's strength historically has rested on the shoulders of the defense. The 2003 season has been no different as the Broncos have allowed only 10 goals in 18 matches. Their 0.53 goals-against average as a team ranks sixth in the country in that category while Steve Cronin ranks ninth in the nation with his 0.586 mark.

Last Week: Broncos Clinch WCC Title
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.

Up Next: NCAA Selection Show
Santa Clara will be made aware of its NCAA postseason fate on Monday, November 17 at 1 p.m. on ESPNews when the brackets are announced. The Broncos know they are already in by way of the WCC's automatic berth for winning the league title, the only thing that remains to be found out is who and when they will play next.