SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University men's soccer team - perennial NCAA College Cup Tournament qualifiers - opens West Coast Conference play this weekend with games at Gonzaga University, Friday at 2 p.m. and at No. 25 University of Portland, Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Santa Clara @ Gonzaga – Live Stats | Video
Sunday, Oct. 3, 2:30 p.m.
Santa Clara @ No. 25 Portland – Live Video/Stats
Santa Clara is playing arguably its best soccer of the season heading into the weekend, having beat San Jose State University 2-1 last Friday, before drawing with Sacramento State University 1-1 on the road last Sunday.
"We are just starting to hit our stride," said ninth-year head coach Cameron Rast, three-time WCC Coach of the Year. "When we got through our first six matches of pre-conference play, we learned a lot about what our team is capable of. We've adjusted some things in the attack, adjusted defensively and even changed our style a bit. After putting those things back together and getting everyone on the same page it became really clear to our guys what we need to do in order to win games."
A big reason for the in-season adjustments may be the youth of Rast's 2010 team. SCU has gone without a senior starter in each of its last five matches. Five first-year players were in the starting lineup against Sac State on Sunday.
"There is no question we are going to earn some great results (within conference)," said Rast. "We may have some hiccups along the way but that's the nature of a young team, a tough conference and long season."
*Santa Clara is led by ninth-year head coach Cameron Rast (96-51-30)
*The Broncos are 5-3 in WCC openers under Rast – all three losses came against Portland (2009, 2008 and 2002)
*The Pilots and Broncos played to a 1-1 tie last season in Portland
*SCU leads the all-time series with UP 17-12-7
*Santa Clara swept the season series with GU last year, with a pair of 1-0 victories, Brandon Zimmerman and Eric Masch netted game-winners in those games
*The Broncos own the all-time series edge vs. the Zags 12-8-3
*The Broncos are 1-1-1 on the road this season, with a notable 2-0 win at Marquette
*SCU was 4-5-3 vs. WCC last season, finishing fifth in the standings
*Portland led all teams with three preseason All-WCC honorees (Sr. GK Austin Guerrero, Jr. D Ryan Kawulok and Sr. MF Jarad vanSchaik)
*Portland blanked Gonzaga 2-0 Wednesday night in Spokane – GU's home-opener
SANTA CLARA (3-4-1)
The Broncos are one game away from evening its 2010 record after starting the year 2-4. SCU's offense is notably better than last year's side, which went through a nine-game stretch in which it scored just four times. Young players have keyed the turnaround. True freshmen forwards Carlos Montes and Keigo Kameya have been terrific additions to SCU's attack, playing along-side all-league talent Erik Hurtado. Kameya scored his first collegiate goal against Sac State Sunday. Freshman classmate Harrison Hanley has also scored twice this season. The Broncos have gone with redshirt junior Kevin Klasila in goal, who has played all 740 minutes. The Broncos will host local rival University of San Francisco next Friday at 7 p.m. before playing at St. Mary's College, Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Bulldogs opened the year playing seven consecutive games away from home before losing to Portland 2-0 Wednesday night in Spokane. Long-time head coach Einar Thorarinsson and the Zags finished the 2009 season 6-10-3 and 3-8-1 against the WCC. The Zags' offense entered the week averaging a league-low 7.86 shots per game. Underclassmen Andrew Owenson and Zach Smith jumpstarted the Zags' offense by scoring in a 3-2 victory over OSU in Corvallis last week – which snapped a three-game GU losing streak. GU's other wins this season came at Seattle University's tournament, beating Seattle 2-1 and Illinois-Chicago 2-1. Santa Clara and Gonzaga will end the regular season with a match at Buck Shaw Stadium on Sunday, November 14.
The Pilots have yet to string together two-straight wins this season, something they will try to accomplish Sunday against Santa Clara. Portland's offense entered the week ranking second in the league in shots (111) and corners (39). Eighth-year head coach Bill Irwin's Pilots entered the season ranked in all four major national polls and are currently 25th in the Soccer Times rankings. Senior all-conference goalkeeper and four-year starter Austin Guerrero anchors the Portland defense. Another senior, midfielder Jarad vanSchaik, was named the Husky Fever Classic Offensive MVP last week and earned co-WCC Player of the Week honors.
1. Portland 1-0/4-1-3
2. St. Mary's 0-0/4-2-1
3. LMU 0-0/4-3-1
4. San Diego 0-0/3-3-1
5. Santa Clara 0-0/3-4-1
6. USF 0-0/2-4-1
7. Gonzaga 0-1/3-5
SCU HEAD COACH CAMERON RAST
Santa Clara University alumnus Cameron Rast is in this ninth season at the helm of Bronco men's soccer. He has led his alma mater to five NCAA tournament appearances and three West Coast Conference titles. Six of his student-athletes have been named All-Americans and 13 have moved on to play professional soccer. A former All-America player on Santa Clara's National Championship team of 1989 and U.S. Olympic Team captain in 1992, Rast took over as SCU head coach in 2002 after eight seasons as an assistant coach. Under his guidance the Broncos won the WCC title in 2003 and claimed back-to-back conference championships in 2006 and 2007. Rast owns a 96-51-30 career record at Santa Clara and is 50-13-16 all-time at Buck Shaw Stadium.
"The team we don't want to end up being is a pretty, possession-oriented team that everybody thinks plays great soccer, but then asks 'what's your record' and it's not a good record," said Rast after SCU's victory over SJSU. "We want to be a team that is effective. You score goals in the attacking end at that's where the ball needs to be for us."
All-Tournament Team @ Marquette Invitational (9/12)
All-Tournament Team @ UC Irvine Collegiate Classic (9/6)
SANTA CLARA TRADITION
1 National Championship
5 College Cup Final Fours
18 NCAA Tournaments
52 Future Professionals
10 WCC Championships
8 Seasons of 15+ wins
4 Teams ranked No. 1 nationally
13 Teams ranked in top 5 nationally
209-79-35 at Buck Shaw Stadium
184-117-41 vs. WCC all-time
San Francisco visits Buck Shaw Stadium Friday, October 8. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.