Nov. 15, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University will face the University of California in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship, the NCAA Selection Committee announced this afternoon. The Broncos, who advanced to the National Semifinals a year ago, will travel to Berkeley, Calif. for their match-up on Friday at 1:30 p.m.
The coaches and team members watched the selection show at The Bronco and then participated in a press conference. The Bronco is a late-night venue located in the Benson Memorial Center on campus. Friends of the program, athletic department staff, faculty members and other varsity squads were also in attendance.
"We are very excited to be in the tournament this year," said head coach Cameron Rast. "It is something that we aim for every year. We look to compete for national championships here at Santa Clara. We were rewarded with an at-large bid and we look forward to our re-match with Cal."
The Broncos closed out the regular season with a pair of West Coast Conference wins last weekend with victories over Loyola Marymount and San Diego. SCU wrapped up its regular season slate with a 15-5-0 mark and an 8-4 record in conference action.
"This past weekend, we wanted to go out and put up some good performances as we get ready for our playoff run," senior co-captain Will Weatherly commented on the Broncos strong finish.
This season marks the second straight year and 11th time in the last 15 years the Broncos have earned a postseason berth. Santa Clara has made 14 prior appearances in the NCAA Tournament and won the 1989 NCAA National Championship.
"We have a lot of guys who played in the tournament last year," said senior Jason Pan. "That College Cup experience will pay off. We know how to step up in big games. It helps us to prepare and to know what to expect."
Seventh-ranked California concluded its regular season with a 3-2 overtime victory over Stanford on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Bears posted a 12-3-3 record overall with a 4-3-1 mark in the Pacific-10 Conference. On September 26th, California and Santa Clara met at Buck Shaw Stadium as the Golden Bears tallied a 1-0 victory over the Broncos.
"Our first game against Cal was a very good game," said sophomore Medhi Ballouchy. "We played well in the first half and they scored on us early in the second. It's going to be a good re-match."
Four out of the West Coast Conference's seven teams received invitations to the NCAA Championships. Conference champion San Francisco earned the WCC's automatic bid, while Loyola Marymount and Portland also received at-large bids. The WCC ranks fourth among the country's leagues with its four invitations.
Three of the top four seeds were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference as Wake Forest is the tournament's top-seeded team. Maryland was seeded third and Virginia was seeded fourth, while defending National Champion Indiana was seeded second to round out the top four.
Each of the top-16 seeds receive first round byes before hosting the second round at their campus sites. The second round will be played on Tuesday, November 23rd. Winners of the second round matches will move on to play the third round on November 27th, while the NCAA Quarterfinals will also be played on campus sites on December 4th. The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. will host the 2004 NCAA College Cup, December 10-12th.