November 5, 2006

Broncos Conclude Regular Season With 2-1 Overtime Loss To Gonzaga

Nov. 5, 2006

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Santa Clara, Calif. - The Santa Clara Broncos men's soccer team wrapped up the regular season on Sunday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium with a 2-1 loss in overtime to the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Despite holding a 20-11 edge in shots and controlling play for the majority of the game, the Broncos lost when Gonzaga forward George Josten scored 20 seconds into overtime. Amaechi Igwe scored his fifth goal of the year for the Broncos in the loss. Santa Clara, which had already clinched the WCC Championship, finished the regular season with a 12-4-4 record (8-2-2 in the WCC).

Prior to the match, Santa Clara honored seniors Keith DeVey and Erik Ustruck for their contributions to the program. DeVey was joined in the pregame ceremony by his parents Graham and Diane, while Ustruck was accompanied by his parents Jay and Georgine, his aunt Christine Garrett and his grandmother Claudia Ulman.

In the opening 15 minutes of the game, sophomore Brian Martin had a great chance to put the Broncos up 1-0 after dispossessing a defender 40 yards from goal. Martin and Peter Lowry combined to force the turnover and Martin broke in on the right wing with only the goalkeeper to beat. Martin shot low but Gonzaga goalkeeper Vito Higgins got down to make the save.

Early in the second half, Sean Danzeiser made a strong run down the right wing beating three players to free himself just inside the box. However, his low cross for Jide Ogunbiyi was cut off by the Gonzaga defense to end the threat.

SCU goalkeeper Joseph Buttitta came up big 10 minutes into the second half to keep the Zags off the board. John Reha sent a ball through to Ben Sawyer behind the defense and Sawyer had only Buttitta to beat. He attempted to chip the ball to the far post, but Buttitta dove and was able to knock the ball over the bar to keep the game scoreless.

Senior Erik Ustruck nearly scored a memorable goal in his final regular season home game midway through the second half. After picking up the ball in midfield, he ripped a 40-yard shot that beat the goalkeeper but skimmed off the crossbar.

Gonzaga struck for the first goal of the game with under nine minutes to go in regulation. A chip from the midfield sprung Ben Funkhouser for a breakaway. Buttitta came off his line and attempted to clear the ball away, but the ball slipped by him and Funkhouser recovered the loose ball before depositing it into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

With time running out on the Broncos, Igwe evened the score with his fifth goal of the year. Ogunbiyi got the ball on the left wing and slid a pass to Matt Hatzke. Hatzke drove a low ball into the area, where Igwe collected it and then blasted it past Higgins to make the score 1-1.

Josten won the game for the Bulldogs just 20 seconds into overtime with a weaving solo run through the defense. After receiving the ball near midfield, Josten dribbled past three Bronco defenders and then tucked away a shot to the far post to give his team the victory.

Following the match, WCC Commissioner Mike Gilleran presented the 2006 WCC Championship trophy to head coach Cameron Rast and the team.

The Broncos now await their seeding in the NCAA Tournament. The 48-team field will be announced on Monday, Nov. 6 between 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. PT on ESPNEWS. If the Broncos receive a bye in the first round, they will play on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at home. If they do not earn a top 16 seed and a bye, Santa Clara would begin play on Nov. 10 or 11 in the first round. Media, fans, students, faculty and staff are invited to attend an NCAA Selection Show event at The Bronco in Benson Memorial Center on the campus of Santa Clara University on Nov. 6. The women's soccer Selection Show will kick off the event from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. PT followed by the men. Immediately following the announcement of the men's tournament field, there will be a question-and-answer session with Rast and selected players.