Important WCC Matches Await Santa Clara, Broncos Host Dons Friday Night

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Unbeaten in their last four matches, Santa Clara University's men's soccer team is preparing for a pivotal stretch of West Coast Conference games. This weekend, SCU will host the University of San Francisco at 7 p.m. Friday night and play at St. Mary's College, Sunday at 2 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m.

San Francisco @ Santa Clara Live Stats | Video
Sunday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m.

Santa Clara @ St. Mary's Live Stats

Santa Clara has been playing very well as of late, tying with a pair of regionally-ranked teams on the road; 1-1 at Sacramento State University (Sept. 26) and 1-1 at the University of Portland (Oct. 3). The Broncos also posted a 2-1 win against Far West-ranked San Jose State University (Sept. 24) and a 3-1 victory at Gonzaga (Oct. 1).

All told, the Broncos have not lost since September 19. With three of their next four games to be played at home, SCU should factor into the 2010 WCC title race as the league schedule moves into late October.

"The West Coast Conference traditionally has been a very strong men's soccer conference, as it is for the women," said Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast, who was an All-American on the Broncos' National Championship team of 1989. "Last year we had four teams make the playoffs out of a seven-team conference, which obviously shows the respect of the results we were able to get in the 2009 season."

"Some of the (WCC) teams are in transition this year. Some turnover in good senior classes at San Diego and Gonzaga is definitely leading to some more parity in the results this year. We still have some exceptional teams in this conference. With the double round-robin system, it's all about consistency and longevity of your performances."

The next four games will go a long way in determining if Santa Clara can claim its fourth WCC Championship in eight years. After playing USF and St. Mary's this weekend, the Broncos will host league-leading Loyola Marymount University Friday, October 15 and defending league champs the University of San Diego Sunday, October 17.

MATCH NOTES
*Santa Clara is led by ninth-year head coach Cameron Rast (97-51-31)
*The Broncos are 2-0-2 in their last four matches
*SCU finished a stretch of playing eight of its first 10 games away from home
*Santa Clara is 50-13-16 all-time at Buck Shaw Stadium under Rast 
*Rast has never lost to USF at Buck Shaw; SCU is 10-0-2 vs. USF at home since 1994
*USF and St. Mary's will play each other Wednesday night in San Francisco  
*The Dons lost twice last weekend on their home field, slipping to 2-6-1 on the year
*USF was picked to finish sixth in the WCC preseason coaches' poll
*The Dons have scored just six goals in their nine matches (entering the week)
*Santa Clara beat USF 1-0 last season at Buck Shaw in front of a national TV audience (Fox Soccer Channel)
*The Gaels started the season 4-1-1, earning a Top 25 ranking for the first time since 1991
*St. Mary's is coming off an NCAA Tournament season in 2009
*St. Mary's season sweep of SCU in 2009 was its first since the WCC went to its round robin format in 2004
*Santa Clara has historically dominated the series with SMC, leading 35-4-5 all-time
*SMC is 3-1-1 at home , beating USD and losing to LMU last weekend in Moraga
*UP NEXT: Santa Clara will host LMU and San Diego next weekend at Buck Shaw Stadium

GAME PROMOTIONS!
Get to the game early, as FREE pizza courtesy of Tony & Alba's will be given away to all Ruff Riders in attendance prior to kick off and the Santa Clara starters will be throwing out FREE t-shirts during pre-game introductions. Following the match, the Bronco players will be signing autographs near the entrance plaza.

TICKETS (BUY NOW!)
Season tickets for both men's and women's soccer programs start at $50 for adults and $25 for youth and seniors. Additionally, the 'Family Plan' provides five tickets to every home game for the sport of your choice.  For just $100, a family of five can watch every SCU men's soccer match. To buy tickets online click here, or visit the Leavey Center ticket office (500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, Calif.) or by calling directly at 408-554-4660.

LIVE COVERAGE
FREE live scoring for both games this weekend will be available (see links above). Fans can watch Friday night's match with USF on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). The video stream (no audio) can be purchased for $7.95 per match or $29.95 for the entire season.

SANTA CLARA (4-4-2; 1-0-1 WCC)

The Broncos have generated seven goals in four games, adjusting their offensive approach after beginning the season 2-4 and scoring just six times in six outings. Despite being marked each time out, All-WCC forward Erik Hurtado is the team-leader in shots (23) and shots on goal (10). Hurtado scored and assisted in a goal during SCU's 3-1 road win over Gonzaga last week. Fellow underclassman, 6-foot-3 forward Keigo Kameya, is starting up front, along with freshman classmate Carlos Montes. The young front line is backed by All-WCC midfielder Brandon Zimmerman and junior team captain, defender Mykell Bates. The Broncos are playing notably better than its 2008 (4-9-7) and 2009 (6-9-5) teams. The Broncos had made 11 tournament appearances in 13 seasons dating back to 1995, prior to missing the postseason in 2008.

SAN FRANCISCO (2-6-1; 0-2-0 WCC)

USF plays SMC Wednesday night at home …
Entering the week, the Dons have lost three straight and will come to Santa Clara in search of their first road win. USF is looking to breakthrough at Buck Shaw Stadium – having gone 15 years without a win at Santa Clara; (10-0-2 dating back to 1994). After a 1-0 upset win over then-No. 9 Northwestern University on September 3, USF has just one win in its last eight matches  - beating Cal State Northridge University 2-1 in double overtime September 24 at home. The Dons and 10th-year head coach Erik Visser rank last in the WCC in goals (6) and next-to last in corners (33). Forward Bryan Burke has a pair of assists for the Dons this year. Burke is a player to watch for USF; one of just 11 players to be named to the preseason All-WCC squad by the league coaches.

ST. MARY'S (5-3-1; 1-1-0 WCC)
SMC plays USF Wednesday night on the road …
The Gaels are coming off an outstanding 2009 season in which the team had its best record in program history (10-5-5) and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. After a 4-1-1 start to the 2010 season, SMC was ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in nearly 20 years. The Gaels share the league-lead with four shutouts with goalkeeper Doug Herrick owning a .836 save percentage – also a league-best. SMC is 2-2 on the road, with wins over California 2-1 and San Jose State. The Gaels were picked to finish fourth in the WCC preseason poll with senior defender Jordan Grider and senior midfielder Dylan Leslie earning preseason all-league accolades.

WCC STANDINGS
1.     LMU 2-0/6-3-1
2.     Portland 1-0-1/4-1-4
3.    
Santa Clara 1-0-1/4-4-2
4.     St. Mary's 1-1/5-3-1
5.     San Diego 1-1/4-4-1
6.     Gonzaga 0-2/3-6
7.     USF 0-2/2-6-1

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 97-51-31 career record at Santa Clara and is 50-13-16 all-time at Buck Shaw Stadium.

QUOTABLE
"It's not often you leave (Portland) feeling dissapointed after a tie," said Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast Sunday after tying with Portland. "But today we were able to get it to the right guys, the guys we wanted to, but hit a couple posts, a crossbar and had some one-v-one breakaways that we couldn't finish. But when you look at it overall, we played with the intent to score and intent to pressure and that's important. There is no doubt we are headed in the right direction."

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
185-117-42 vs. WCC all-time

2010 EARLY-SEASON HONORS

All-Tournament Team @ Marquette Invitational (9/12)

Erik Hurtado
Brandon Zimmerman
All-Tournament Team @ UC Irvine Collegiate Classic (9/6)

Brandon Zimmerman
Carlos Montes

UP NEXT

Two WCC home games next weekend. SCU will host league-leading Loyola Marymount on Friday, October 15 at 7 p.m. and defending league champs San Diego on Sunday, October 17 at 2 p.m.