October 17, 2010

Santa Clara and San Diego Battle to 2-2 Draw

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – An emotional game, which featured 33 fouls, eight cautions and two overtimes, between Santa Clara University and the University of San Diego, ended tied 2-2 in West Coast Conference soccer action at Buck Shaw Stadium on Sunday.

The Broncos and their five rookie starters bounced back from Friday night's hard-fought draw with LMU to score 10-minutes into Sunday's match and would never trail. 

Santa Clara (5-4-5;  2-0-4 WCC) held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, before settling for its fifth tie in eight matches, which also includes three wins – an unbeaten stretch dating back to September 19.

Mykell Bates' fourth goal of the year came off a set piece early in the first half, when he cleaned up a free kick offering from Wesley Culver to put the Broncos in front 1-0. The assist was Culver's team-leading third of the year.

San Diego (5-6-2; 2-3-1 WCC) – the defending WCC Champions - would not go quietly. All-league forward Patrick Wallen found the back of the net in the 61st minute, courtesy of a nice give-and-go feed from Dan Delgado.

"There are good teams in this conference, well coached and they are managed pretty well," said Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast. "Their front-runner, Patrick Wallen, is as good as you will find in college soccer."

With the game tied at one, Rodrigo Da Silva connected with Eric Masch on a perfectly placed touch pass, allowing Masch to knock in a go-ahead goal for the Broncos with 15 minutes left. Not only did the Broncos take the lead, but also USD's starting goalkeeper Michael D'Arrigo was hurt diving for the would-be save. D'Arrigo left the game and would not return.

On the other end, USD's offense was able to generate a penalty kick opportunity and equalizer, netted by Wallen, with four minutes left in regulation, tying the match 2-2.

"We need to find a way to lock down games," said Rast. "The last five minutes is a challenge for us and this young group."

"This game was a battle," said Bates. "Once again it feels like another game we let slip away. We were up twice. They got a goal and then another late goal. But despite the outcome we will stay resilient because what we are doing is working. We need to key-in on the details and tighten things up in the last five minutes of games."

Despite playing disadvantaged after Brandon Zimmerman was issued his second card in the late stages of the second half, SCU nearly won it in the first overtime. Phillip Muscarella served up a cross that Bates just missed finishing.

Kevin Klasila made a series of saves in goal for Santa Clara, including an exceptional stop with two minutes remaining in the second overtime, leaping back across his body to swat away Wallen's attempt at a late game-winner.

Klasila's game-saving swat allowed Santa Clara to extend its home unbeaten streak against San Diego to 11 years.

Santa Clara – who is among the leaders in the WCC standings – will now play three straight on the road: at San Francisco (10/22), at San Diego (10/29) and at LMU (10/31). Five of the Broncos last seven matches have gone into double-overtime.

"The foundation of this team is to commit ourselves 100 percent everyday," said Bates. "Since that's the foundation, it's not hard to get up for every game, it's almost intuitive."