Men's Soccer Travels to Berkeley for NCAA First Round
Nov. 17, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
This Week: California Golden Bears
The 17th-ranked Santa Clara men's soccer team will travel to Berkeley, Calif. to face seventh-ranked California in the first round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championships.
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.
The Golden Bears enter the postseason with a 12-3-3 mark overall and a 4-3-1 record in the Pacific-10 conference. California closed out its regular season with an overtime victory over fellow Bay Area rival Stanford on November 13.
The Golden Bears and Broncos met earlier this season as California traveled to Buck Shaw Stadium. Cal posted a 1-0 victory as Santa Clara dropped its first contest of the season. In the series between the teams, California holds a 23-11-4 advantage over SCU.
Last Matches: Broncos Sweep Final Regular Season Weekend
The Broncos posted two 1-0 victories in a pair of key conference matches to close out the regular season on a high note at Buck Shaw Stadium last weekend.
On Friday night, Keith DeVey scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute to give Santa Clara a 1-0 win over Loyola Marymount. The Lions were looking for a victory over SCU to clinch sole possession of the West Coast Conference title. However, the Broncos were able to avenge an earlier loss to the Lions and record their 14th win of the season.
Defensively, Santa Clara tallied its 10th shutout of the season as freshman goalkeeper Christopher Moreo made his first career start in the net. The Las Vegas, Nevada native needed to make only one save for his first collegiate shutout.
On Sunday, the Broncos avenged yet another loss as they notched a 1-0 victory over San Diego on senior day. Erik Ustruck would provide the game-winning score as he dribbled around the Torero defense to score his first goal of the season in the 26th minute. The sophomore midfielder took the ball up the right side and moved his away around the USD back line to get one-on-one with the goalkeeper to place his shot in the lower left corner of the net.
SCU tallied its conference-best 11th shutout in the match as Moreo and senior Kent Harkness each posted 45 scoreless minutes. Moreo continued to impress with four saves in the second half of action.
Bronco defenders Matthew Hatzke and Jamil Roberts will each have siblings on the other side of the field on Friday. The freshman duo both have older brothers on the California squad as the four will meet on the field for the second time this season. The Hatzke brothers both attended nearby Bellarmine Prep and are natives of San Jose, Calif. The older of the siblings, Nick, is the leading scorer for the Golden Bears with 19 points this season. Matthew, meanwhile, has earned a starting spot in the Bronco defense, playing in 19 matches in 2004. Both Roberts brothers are defenders, as Cal's Troy has been a mainstay on the Golden Bear back line for four years. Jamil has seen plenty of action at in his first year at Santa Clara, appearing in 19 matches.
Friday's meeting between California and Santa Clara will mark the second time in the past four years the teams will meet in the NCAA first round. In 2001, the Broncos battled to a 1-0 triple overtime win over the Golden Bears in a first round meeting at Stanford. However, prior to 2001, the schools had never faced each other in the postseason.
WCC Earns Four Invitations to NCAA Championships
The West Coast Conference has four teams invited to the NCAA Championships in 2004 to rank fourth among the nation's conferences. Conference champion San Francisco earned the league's automatic bid, while Loyola Marymount and Portland both join Santa Clara as recipients of at-large bids. The Big-10 placed six teams in the 48-team field, while the ACC and Big East each received five invitations.
Broncos Maintain National Ranking
The Santa Clara University men's soccer team continues to be a mainstay in the top-25 polls as the Broncos are ranked in three polls this week. SCU has been ranked every week during the 2004 season. Santa Clara is currently tabbed 17th by College Soccer News, while being ranked 20th by Soccer America. Soccer Times ranks the Broncos 21st.
The West Coast Conference is making its mark in the national rankings this week as league champion San Francisco appears in all four polls. Both Loyola Marymount and Portland received votes in by the voters of the College Soccer News poll.
SCU Among the Nation's and Conference's Best
The Broncos are among the country's leaders in three different team categories in the NCAA Division I statistics. SCU currently ranks ninth in shutout percentage with a 0.55 mark after recording shutouts in more than half of its contests this season. SCU's 11 shutouts this season rank third in the Bronco single season records. Santa Clara also ranks 14th in win-loss percentage with a 0.750 mark. The defense also is among the country's best in goals against average as its 0.700 average ranks 10th. The Bronco's marks in shutout percentage and goals against also pace the West Coast Conference.
Individually, Harkness continues to rank among the nation's top goalkeepers. His 0.755 goals against average is good for 16th in the NCAA and tops among WCC netminders.
In the conference statistics, Santa Clara tops the WCC in three defensive categories. The Broncos pace the conference in goals allowed (0.70), shutouts (11) and points allowed (45). Not only does SCU lead the conference with 11 shutouts, but has four more than Portland, which ranks second in the category. Individually, Medhi Ballouchy is tied for sixth in the WCC with 14 points and second with eight assists. Peter Lowry also ranks second in game-winning goals with four in 2004.