SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Cam Rast's words were prophetic following Friday night's scoreless draw with LMU, saying 'when we (finally) score one, we are going to score a bunch.' That's indeed what happened Sunday afternoon, as his Broncos scored three first-half goals, propelling Santa Clara to a 4-1 WCC victory over San Diego.
Santa Clara (7-5-4; 3-4-1 WCC) needed just four minutes to put an end to a frustrating five-game scoreless stretch. Eric Masch finished a perfectly placed one-touch pass from Phillip Muscarella moments after the opening whistle, which ignited SCU's offense.
"That sure took the pressure off, after not being able to score in the last several games," Masch said about his goal Sunday. "We were able to relax, settle and play, and basically get into doing what we are used to doing."
Following Masch's early strike, the Broncos went on to add two more goals in the first half, with Brandon Zimmerman converting a two-on-one opportunity off the feed from teammate Erik Hurtado to make it 2-0. Following USD's only goal, Carlos Montes buried a shot from 15-yards out and SCU led 3-1 at the break.
The offense kept up the pressure in the second half as sophomore Michael Gates added some insurance with his first career goal – pushing the homestanding Broncos in front 4-1 with 40 minutes on the clock.
"We played really well and created some great chances," said Rast. "We tied a season-high mark for goals because we moved the ball well and that allows us to be mobile off of that, getting other players forward. When you are not giving the ball away easily and cheaply you can sustain attacks."
San Diego (7-7-1; 4-3-1 WCC) endured a tough two-game trip to the Bay Area. The Toreros entered the week atop the WCC standings, but lost a lopsided decision to USF 4-0 on Friday night.
The Broncos had not scored four goals in a WCC game since beating St. Mary's 4-1 in November of 2007.
The race for the WCC title is still wide open. The Broncos are just four points off the lead and will play at USF Wednesday night at 7 p.m. prior to hosting league-leading St. Mary's on 'Senior Day' next Sunday.
"We knew this was a must-win for us," added Rast. "We put ourselves back in the race."
WCC STANDINGS (pts)
Saint Mary's 4-2-2 (14)/5-5-5
San Diego 4-3-1 (13)/7-7-1
San Francisco 4-3-1 (13)/6-7-2
LMU 4-3-1 (13)/6-9-1
Santa Clara 3-4-1 (10)/7-5-4
Portland 3-4-1 (10)/8-6-2
Gonzaga 2-5-1 (7)/4-9-2
THIS WEEK'S RESULTS
Wednesday, October 26
PORTLAND 2, Gonzaga 0
Friday, October 28
USF 4, San Diego 0
SANTA CLARA 0, Loyola Marymount 0 (2ot)
PORTLAND 4, St. Mary's 0
Sunday, October 30
Loyola Marymount 1, USF 0 (ot)
Saint Mary's 3, GONZAGA 2
SANTA CLARA 4, San Diego 1