SCU Plays Pivotal Games in Southern California; Rast in Search of 100th Win
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Within striking distance of first place in the West Coast Conference standings, a big weekend lies ahead for Santa Clara University's men's soccer team. The Broncos play their final two road games of the season, traveling to Southern California to face the University of San Diego and Loyola Marymount University, who is ranked No. 21 nationally by the NSCAA.
Friday, Oct. 29, 5 p.m.
Santa Clara @ San Diego Live Stats | Video
Sunday, Oct. 31, 2:30 p.m.
Santa Clara @ No. 21 LMU Live Stats | Audio
Ninth-year Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast – a Bronco since his All-America playing career at SCU from 1988-91 - is one win away from 100 as a head coach. Rast is second on the all-time SCU victory list, behind Mitch Murray, who totaled 143 wins in 11 seasons from 1991-2001.
The Broncos – unbeaten in their last nine - continue to play well, improving their road record to 4-1-2 after a victory at USF last week. Santa Clara is 3-0-4 vs. the WCC and its 13 points is just three behind Loyola Marymount and Portland for the league lead.
"Looking at our group, there is a lot of guys that we can go to," said Rast about his team's depth, which has been a key factor to the current nine-game streak. "Whether we decide to start certain players and try to get on top of (opponents) right off the bat, or whether we bring them off the bench to try and affect the style and flow of the game, we feel like we have a lot of guys who have a lot of strengths and abilities and that's made it easy to look down the bench and go to a certain guy and change our style or change the game tactically."
"The style we are playing right now demands a lot physically, demands a lot of concentration and guys to be supportive of each other within the team framework," added Rast . "They've done a great job of preparing in training and outworking our opponents during games. We are trying to put (opponents) under pressure, forcing them into tough situations."
Santa Clara – who starts seven underclassmen - has exceeded expectations, especially after its 2-4 start. To have a realistic shot at qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, the Broncos most likely will have to win four of their last five.
*SCU is led by ninth-year head coach Cameron Rast (99-50-34)
*Santa Clara is the only undefeated WCC team in league play
*The Broncos have not lost since Sept. 19, a road defeat at Stanford
*The last time SCU went unbeaten in October was in 2007 – a year they won their last WCC title
*SCU is 3-0-1 on the road this season vs. the WCC
*Santa Clara's 13 goals in WCC play is best in the league
*SCU will be without starting MF Brandon Zimmerman on Friday vs. USD, who will sit due to card accumulation
*Eric Masch and Mykell Bates lead all SCU scorers with four goals
*All-WCC forward Erik Hurtado's 2.3 shots per game ranks fifth among all WCC players
*Wesley Culver is tied for the team-lead in points (9), with three goals and three assists
*SCU tied LMU (1-1) and USD (2-2) earlier this month at SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium
*The Broncos and Lions tie was made possible on an improbable goalie's goal by LMU in the final moments Oct. 15
*San Diego beat LMU 2-1 Wednesday night at Torero Stadium in San Diego
*USD and LMU have two of the top defenses in the WCC, allowing just 17 and 16 goals respectively
*The Toreros went 8-2-2 vs. the WCC last season and won the league title, this year they are 3-3-1 vs. the WCC
*Santa Clara owns the all-time series with USD 25-10-4
*Four of the last five meetings between LMU and Santa Clara have been ties
*LMU is ranked No. 21 nationally by the NSCAA and fifth in the NSCAA Far West Region poll
*The Lions, who share lead the league at 5-1-1, will play top WCC challenger's SCU and Portland in their next two games
*UP NEXT FOR SCU: Three-straight WCC home games to close out the year, beginning Friday night, Nov. 5 vs. Saint Mary's
FREE live scoring via GAMETRACKER will be offered for both games this weekend (see links above). Additionally, fans can watch Friday night's match with USD for FREE via USDToreros.com or through the links above. Sunday against LMU, there will be a FREE audio broadcast live from Los Angeles via LMULions.com or through the links above.
SANTA CLARA (6-4-5; 3-0-4 WCC)
The Broncos are back in the top tier of the WCC standings and challenging for their first league title since it ran the table vs. the WCC in 2007 (10-0-2) and advanced into the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The team's 2-4 start in non-conference play puts added emphasis on the remaining five games if the Broncos want to qualify for postseason play. SCU's 13 goals in WCC play is best in the league, and goals are coming from a number of different players. The offensive production is a marked improvement from a year ago, when the Broncos went through a mid-year stretch of scoring just four goals in seven games. Team captain Mykell Bates, sophomore Wesley Culver, true freshman Keigo Kameya and All-WCC forward Eric Masch have each scored in the last three games. Look for Erik Hurtado – who leads the team with 28 shots – to continue to pressure opposing defenses. Goalkeeper Kevin Klasila plays behind a pair of impressive first-year defenders in Gabriel Romero and Mark Daus.
SAN DIEGO (6-6-2; 3-3-1 WCC)
The Toreros and head coach Seamus McFadden – now in his 32nd year – picked up a big win Wednesday night when they upset LMU 2-1 on their home field. USD will bring that momentum into Friday night's game with Santa Clara. San Diego has won six WCC titles under McFadden, including claiming the league trophy last year. His 2010 team has rebounded from a slow start to even its record. All-WCC forward Patrick Wallen – who scored twice against SCU at Buck Shaw Stadium October 17 – drew praise from Santa Clara's Cameron Rast, who said Wallen 'is as good as you will find in college soccer' at the forward position. Santa Clara is 3-2-1 at Torero Stadium since the WCC began its current double round-robin format in 2004.
LMU (9-4-2; 5-1-1 WCC)
The Lions still control their own WCC title destiny despite losing to San Diego Wednesday night at Torero Stadium. Ranked No. 21 nationally, LMU's next two games (vs. SCU and @ Portland) take on added importance for a Lions team that was projected to win the WCC by the league coaches prior to the season. LMU owns the top RPI among any WCC team at No. 41. All-America candidate Rafael Baca entered the week leading the league in assists (6). The Lions' 24 goals this season is a WCC-best. The Lions are perfect at home this year (5-0).
WCC STANDINGS (Points)
T1. (16) #21 LMU 5-1-1/9-4-2
T1. (16) Portland 5-1-1/8-2-4
3. (13) Santa Clara 3-0-4/6-4-5
4. (10) San Diego 3-3-1/6-6-2
5. (9) St. Mary's 3-3/7-5-1
6. (3) Gonzaga 1-6/4-10
7. (1) USF 0-6-1/2-10-2
Rankings: NSCAA Top 25
SCU HEAD COACH CAMERON RAST
Santa Clara University alumnus Cameron Rast is in his 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 99-50-34 career record at Santa Clara and is 50-13-19 all-time at Buck Shaw Stadium.
"We are very young, there is a lot of freshman out there" said redshirt junior goalkeeper Kevin Klasila in a recent video interview. "Our two center-backs are new, Mark Daus and Gabriel Romero but they are very mature for their age. Mark has stepped-in as a leader and is very vocal, as is Gabriel."
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
209-79-38 at Buck Shaw Stadium
187-117-45 vs. WCC all-time
2010 SEASON HONORS
All-Tournament Team @ Marquette Invitational (9/12)
All-Tournament Team @ UC Irvine Collegiate Classic (9/6)
All-WCC Preseason Team
The Broncos play three-straight WCC home games to close out the regular season: St. Mary's (11/5), Portland (11/12) and Gonzaga (11/14).