Sept. 1, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 18th-ranked Santa Clara University men's soccer team makes its first road trip of the season this weekend, flying down to Orange County to battle Northwestern and Niagara in weekend action. After building some momentum from last weekend's victory over Stanford and draw with Cal in the Bay Area Classic, the Broncos look to keep things rolling right along in the UC Irvine College Classic.
Weekend action opens up with Saturday's 5 p.m. kickoff against Northwestern, before closing things out with an 11 a.m. battle against the Purple Eagles of Niagara University.
"It's going to be a great two games, another chance for us early in the season to get some minutes for some guys that need to get into form, and for the young guys it's another chance to get on the field and prove themselves," said head coach Cameron Rast. "It is important early on in the season to continue to improve and focus on your performance, and hopefully that will translate into results. I think that's our pursuit right now, to continue to improve every game and get better."
The Wildcats (2-0-0), ranked 28th in the College Soccer News poll, are coming off of an unbeaten weekend of their own, having captured the Lakeside Classic title with victories over Hofstra and Dayton. Freshman defender Mark Blades was named tournament MVP for his staunch defense, while goalkeeper Will Briley made nine saves and posted a shutout over the weekend. David Roth notched a goal and an assist while Daniel Chille netted the game-winner in the 2-1 win over Hofstra.
Niagara (0-1-0) opened its 2006 season last Friday with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Syracuse Orange. The Purple Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead early on behind a goal from freshman Michael Malone, but gave up three unanswered goals to the Orange in a span of 12:48 to fall to their first loss of the season. Niagara is also paced by freshman Danny Lobene and goalkeeper James McKenna.
Last weekend the Broncos (1-0-1) opened things up with a 1-0 victory Friday night at Stanford over the Cardinal, thanks to a Peter Lowry penalty kick early in the second half. Sunday night, after conceding an early goal to Cal, the Broncos stormed right back, getting the equalizer off of the foot of freshman Jeff Cosgriff a few minutes before halftime.
Joseph Buttitta, who saw his first collegiate action over the weekend, played the full 200 minutes, posting his first shutout against Stanford and staying strong in the net to help preserve the 1-1 draw against the Golden Bears.
Following the trip to Southern California, the Broncos will return home to take on the Saint Louis Billikens Friday night, Sept. 8 in a 7 p.m. match at Buck Shaw Stadium.