Oct. 27, 2006
San Diego, Calif. - The 10th-ranked Santa Clara men's soccer team continued its overtime magic with a 2-1 victory over the University of San Diego on Friday night at Torero Stadium. Freshman Chris Sauter did the honors this time scoring his first career goal three minutes into overtime to lead the Broncos to the win. Amaechi Igwe scored for the second straight game in the first half before San Diego scored the equalizer late in the match. With the win, Santa Clara improved to 10-3-4 on the season and 6-1-2 in West Coast Conference play. The Broncos also stretched their unbeaten streak to seven games.
With the win and a loss by the University of San Francisco Dons against Portland Friday afternoon, Santa Clara now leads the West Coast Conference by three points over Loyola Marymount. The Broncos square off against LMU on Sunday with first place on the line. With a win against LMU and a loss or tie by San Francisco against Gonzaga on Sunday, the Broncos would clinch their first WCC Championship since 2003 and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Just under two weeks after freshman Jeff Cosgriff beat the Saint Mary's Gaels with an overtime strike on Oct. 15, Sauter played the role of hero in San Diego. Captain Peter Lowry sent a long free kick into the box and Sauter got free before flicking a header to the near post for the winner three minutes into overtime. The freshman from Huntington Beach, who has been a mainstay at right back in first year, starting 12 matches, now has three points on the season.
Igwe continued his strong play Friday night as he opened the game's scoring with his fourth of the season 16 minutes into the first half. Fellow forward Brian Martin set Igwe up with an excellent pass from the wing that found the Belmont native at the far post. He settled the ball and calmly slotted a shot to the far post. The assist was Martin's team-leading fourth of the year, while Igwe is now tied with Cosgriff, Lowry and Keith DeVey for the team lead in goals.
Two minutes after scoring, Igwe nearly put SCU up two goals, but San Diego goalkeeper Lance Friesz was there to make the save and keep the Toreros within one.
The Toreros came out hard in the second half looking to even the game and began sending numbers forward. Despite the pressure, the Broncos withstood that early surge and maintained their one-goal lead for much of the half.
However, San Diego would break through in the 71st minute as freshman Ciaran O'Brien leveled the match with his fifth goal on a long drive. Ryan Guy laid a pass off to O'Brien and he ripped a 25-yard blast that dipped past Bronco goalkeeper's Joseph Buttitta and into the net.
Buttitta was again solid for SCU late in the match, punching out a number of dangerous opportunities and making a key save to keep the Broncos even. His clutch play set the stage for Sauter's overtime heroics.
The Broncos continue their Southern California road trip on Sunday, Oct. 29 as they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Loyola Marymount Lions at 2:00 p.m. PT. The game marks the last road match of the season for Santa Clara. SCU dropped a 2-1 decision to the Lions earlier this year at home.