Oct. 24, 2005
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - So much for the importance of experience.
After sitting out the last three seasons to focus on his electrical engineering studies, Santa Clara University men's soccer senior Kevin Sweeney has quietly become one of the best goalkeepers in the West Coast Conference.
After recording consecutive shutouts against the University of San Francisco last week, the San Jose, Calif. native earned WCC Player of the Week honors. He is the fifth Bronco this season to be singled out as the league's best, along with Keith DeVey, Hector Guzman, Erik Ustruck and Jide Ogunbiyi.
"I'm really happy for Kevin," said SCU head coach Cameron Rast. "He has really earned each one of his shutouts this season. He has made a number of difficult one-on-one saves and hasn't really made many mistakes. Obviously the defense has played a big part in our success, but Kevin has really been key for us this year."
In Thursday's double-overtime scoreless draw on the road at USF, Sweeney equaled his career-high with seven saves. He snared five more in Saturday's 3-0 shutout over the Dons at Buck Shaw Stadium. He currently has a streak of more than 374 minutes without allowing a goal.
Sweeney, who's brother Scott is also a member of the SCU squad, has started nine of his 10 appearances this season and has allowed only five total goals. He has six shutouts and his 0.53 goals against average is the best in the WCC.
After a prep career that included helping Bellarmine Prep set a Northern California record for consecutive games unbeaten streak with 71, Sweeney spent the 2001 season as a backup to current goalkeepers coach Rusty Johnson and Parade All-American Steve Cronin. Following the season, he decided to focus on academics and his difficult electrical engineering degree.
Last season, Sweeney decided to resume training and entered the fall as a contender for the starting keeper job. He split time early in the year and has started nine straight games after entering as a reserve against Georgetown in the Maryland adidas Classic.