SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Despite more than doubling up San Jose State in shots (21 to 10), the Santa Clara University men's soccer team dropped its fourth match in five tries this season this past Sunday night. SCU will be looking to change that trend this coming Sunday, Sept. 16 in Palo Alto when they visit Laird Q. Cagan Stadium at 7 p.m. to face Stanford.
"When you look at what we've done right (in our five games), your going to find plenty of examples. However, we are not doing enough things right at the critical moments," says Santa Clara head coach and Hall of Famer Cameron Rast. "The critical moments typically come in our penalty box and in our attacking penalty box. That's where the games are won and lost. For us, we've created tremendous opportunities to score goals against very good teams, but we are not handling those chances as well as we should."
Santa Clara (1-4-0) – picked to finish second in the West Coast Conference by the league's coaches - knocked off Duke 2-1 on the road two weeks ago, before coming up just short against No. 3 Creighton at home and then, most recently, losing to San Jose State for the first time at Buck Shaw since 1985. Senior forward and preseason All-American Erik Hurtado continues to impress, scoring twice against SJSU. Hurtado leads the WCC in points (8) and shots (24).
"We are playing fairly well, and I feel like what we have addressed this week in our training – being mentally tough, being physically tough around the ball and challenging, making it difficult on our opponent – those things have helped sharpen us," said Rast on Thursday. "I think what we're going to find, is that those moments that aren't working for us, are now going to start working for us. We are going to find ourselves getting the right bounces, scoring the goals we need to and making the plays on the defensive end that we should."
Part of the annual Bay Area Classic series, Santa Clara and Stanford have matched up each and every season since the Broncos began playing men's soccer in 1967.
Stanford (3-2-0) was able to get past San Jose State 2-1 Wednesday night in overtime when Austin Meyer scored just 1:02 into the extra period. It was the Cardinal's home-opener and home debut for new head coach Jeremy Gunn, who took UNC Charlotte to the College Cup Final Four in 2011. Stanford dropped a pair of early-season games at the College of Charleston's home tournament, but have now won two-straight, including an impressive 2-0 road win at 11th-ranked UC Irvine.
"We have a turnaround to make," says James Lick High School product Carlos Montes, who has scored twice already this season for SCU. "We have to make sure we stay strong and make sure we keep training hard and focus on the next game. We can use the previous games to learn from, to make sure we keep doing the right things. A lot of this has been mostly us, we haven't been finishing our chances or defending well in the box. We are making sure we get that down this week, correcting that for the Stanford game."
Sunday night's game can be followed live via GameTracker, along with free internet radio via Stanford's student station KZSU-2.
The two Bay Area rivals have met at least once in every season since 1967, Santa Clara's inaugural year of men's soccer. The all-time series stands at 22-21-7 in favor of Stanford. Most recently, it was Santa Clara winning both school's 2011 season-opener 1-0 at Buck Shaw. David Castellanos and Alex Fitschen connected on a first-half goal to give SCU the win last season. At Stanford recently, Santa Clara lost in 2010, but came away with road wins in 2004, 2006 and 2008. See the team's postseason history below.
BRONCOS v. CARDINAL IN NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Broncos and Cardinal have met three times in NCAA tournament play
1991 First Round at SCU (SCU 2-1 in sudden death OT)
* 2,665 fans attended that game at Buck Shaw
1999 First Round at Stanford (SCU 2-2, 6-5 SCU in PKs)
* Broncos played in NCAA National Championship game that season
* Current SCU assistant coach Rusty Johnson - former Bronco goalkeeper- set the program's NCAA tournament record for saves (9) in that game
2001 Second Round at Stanford (STAN 3-1)
* SCU had knocked off Cal 1-0 in overtime in round one
SCU HEAD COACH CAMERON RAST
* 115-62-38 career record
* 59-19-22 at Buck Shaw Stadium
* No. 2 all-time in WCC wins (60)
* Santa Clara Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee - 2006
* NCAA National Champion at SCU - 1989
* US Olympic Team Captain - 1992
* NCAA All-America Player – 1989 & 1990
LAST TIME OUT
In a game tied 1-1 at halftime, San Jose State University erupted to score four second-half goals, stunning homestanding Santa Clara University 5-3 at Buck Shaw Stadium Sunday night. Santa Clara (1-4-0) – a team that beat Duke on the road last week and played No. 3 Creighton close Friday night – jumped out to an early lead but it was San Jose State (1-2-0) coming from behind, powered by reserve Jonathan Salceda's two goals and two assists.
"We are very disappointed, mostly because we could have put the game away early," said Montes about the result against SJSU Sunday. "We had a couple sitters right in front and could have had them 3-0 at halftime. That's always disappointing when you let a game go."
"It has been difficult not getting a win at home," added Montes. "Most of it would contribute to making sure we finish our chances. That has been one of the biggest problems (at home), and I would say away too. It has happened here and away. We are not finishing a lot of our chances and as a result, that has put us in difficult positions."
IN THE RANKINGS
Santa Clara began the year appearing in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 48 Tournament Rankings in each of the first three weeks. The Broncos have yet to appear in the NSCAA Far West Region Top 10 or NSCAA Top 25 (Stanford is ranked No. 7 in the Far West Region).
WCC STANDINGS (Sept. 11, 2012)
USF 2-1-1 (7)
Portland 2-2-1 (7)
Gonzaga 2-2-0 (6)
San Diego 2-2-0 (6)
St. Mary's 1-1-2 (5)
LMU 1-3-1 (4)
Santa Clara 1-4-0 (3)
WCC Men's Soccer
MASCH, JACKSON & HURTADO EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS
2012 John Rennie/Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team (Durham, N.C.)
NC State: Alex Martinez (MVP), Jon Ray, Gbenga Makinde, Fabian Otte
Santa Clara: Erik Hurtado, Larry Jackson, Ryan Masch
Duke: Sebastien Ibeagha, James Belshaw
Delaware: Mark Garrity, Ben Sampson
Three members of Santa Clara's No. 7-ranked recruiting class – all former U17 US National Team members - Ryan Masch, Max Ornstil and Jared Hegardt are already playing extended minutes for the Broncos. Masch netted the game-winning goal at Duke on Aug. 31. Additionally, SCU added freshman defender Matt Escobar to its roster last week and he started against SJSU. Escobar - a local product of nearby Bellarmine High School - had originally signed to play at the University of Portland.
Santa Clara returns eight final-year players: Erik Hurtado, Larry Jackson, Wes Culver, Murphy Campbell, Danny Maeda, Gabriel Romero, Takahide Kameya and Alex Fitschen. The first four players listed have each earned All-WCC honors during their SCU careers thus far.
SCU STOPS IN VERO BEACH FOR EARY-SEASON TRAINING
Santa Clara traveled to Florida's central coast Saturday, Aug. 25 through Wednesday, Aug. 29, spending the majority of the week training at the historic Vero Beach Sports Village prior to the Broncos two games at Duke's John Rennie/Nike Invitational Tournament in Durham, N.C. "Anytime you can get on to a dedicated training facility that's dedicated to performance it's great," said Rast during the team's stay in Vero Beach. "All the guys are in little apartments, close to the field, which has a really nice, brand new Bermuda surface. As much as we love (Stanton Field), it's great to practice on grass. We are being treated like a professional program and that is exactly the way we want our guys to feel."
CHECK OUT THE 2012 MEN'S SOCCER VIRTUAL GUIDE
Featuring an updated and fresh design with new videos and game-day action photos and snapshots of behind-the-scenes Bronco fun, Santa Clara Athletics released a new 2012 Men's Soccer Virtual Guide. The virtual guides, exclusive to SantaClaraBroncos.com take place of the traditional paper media guides and feature a number of new pages on the Mission campus and Santa Clara Athletics.
HURTADO PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN/ALL-WCC
The reigning West Coast Conference points-leader, Santa Clara Bronco senior forward Erik Hurtado, was named a 2012 Preseason All-American by College Sports Madness and was honored as a preseason All-WCC player. Hurtado has enjoyed a terrific collegiate career thus far, having drawn praise from the NSCAA as a 2011 All Far-West Region selection. He led the WCC in 2011 with 19 points and 85 shots as a junior. Hurtado has twice been named an All-WCC First Team player, along with earning WCC Player of the Month honors and three times being selected as the WCC Player of the Week. He was tabbed as the National Player of the Week by College Soccer News during his sophomore season in which he helped SCU win the WCC Championship.
"When we put a schedule together it is important to make it demanding of great soccer from our team," said Cameron Rast, who has guided SCU to four WCC titles in his 10 years as head coach. "We have to push our group for them to reach their potential. To do this we look to play the top teams in the country. This year I think we have done just that." Scheduling top 20 teams is nothing new for Rast and the Broncos. SCU went 6-1-3 to begin the 2011 season, beating Stanford and 14th-ranked Cal, while drawing with No. 6 UCLA. The Broncos owned the WCC's best overall record (11-5-4) and upped their all-time mark at home to 59-16-20 since Rast was elevated to head coach in 2002.
MLS STAR RETURNS TO BUCK SHAW
Mehdi Ballouchy, former SCU All-American and No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, was recently acquired by the San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes play their home games at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium.
"I feel very comfortable here," Ballouchy upon his return to San Jose. "I actually came back during the offseason and worked out with the (SCU) team. Just being around Leavey, Santa Clara, and the coaches was fun, because I remember I was in their shoes not so long ago."
Ballouchy was a First Team NCAA All-American while playing at Santa Clara in 2004 and 2005. He helped the Broncos advance into the NCAA tournament in both years, achieving a national ranking as high as No. 4 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He was named the 2005 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and was taken No. 2 overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake. He became the highest overall pick ever from Santa Clara and the sixth Bronco to be selected in the first round.
BRONCO TEAMMATES TAKEN IN 2012 MLS DRAFT
Santa Clara University teammates Mykell Bates and Brandon Zimmerman were taken in the Major League Soccer 2012 Supplemental Draft. Toronto FC selected Bates with the fourth pick of the second round (No. 61 overall). Zimmerman went to the Philadelphia Union with the 13th pick of round four (No. 108 overall).
2011 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
* Santa Clara enjoys 23rd winning season in past 25 years
* Broncos post WCC's best regular season overall record (11-5-4)
* Team ranked No. 18 by College Soccer News (Oct. 4), also ranked nationally by NSCAA and TopDrawerSoccer.com
* 2011 NCAA Men's Division I NSCAA All-Far West Team: Erik Hurtado (Second Team), Mykell Bates (Third Team)
* Eight Broncos garner All-WCC honors; First Team: Mykell Bates, Brandon Zimmerman, Erik Hurtado. Freshman Team: Glenn Vass. Honorable Mention: Eric Masch, Connor Mitchell, Larry Jackson and Wesley Culver
* Seniors Eric Masch and Kevin Klasila named WCC All-Academic
* Broncos shutout nine opponents, allow league-low 18 goals
* SCU goes 7-2-3 at home
* Santa Clara wins five consecutive matches to close out the season
* Brandon Zimmerman named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's National Team of the Week (Oct. 2)
* Mykell Bates finishes the year No. 22-ranked pro prospect among seniors by TopDrawerSoccer.com
* Three Broncos named WCC Player of the Week: Kevin Klasila (Aug. 29); Erik Hurtado (Sept. 12 & 19); Eric Masch (Nov. 7)
* Erik Hurtado named WCC Player of the Month (September) – leads league in shots (85) and points (19)
* Cameron Rast moves into second all-time in WCC coaching wins (60-29-19)
* Santa Clara defeats Stanford (Aug. 27), ties then-No. 6 UCLA (Sept. 2) and tops then-No. 14 Cal (Sept. 16) – win in Berkeley is SCU's first since 1980
SANTA CLARA MEN'S SOCCER BY THE NUMBERS
* 54 Broncos advanced to play professional soccer
* 57 All-WCC First Team honorees
* 31 WCC Honor Roll selections
* 28 Played on the USA Youth National team
* 23 Winning seasons in 25 years
* 19 NCAA Tournament appearances
* 17 All-Americans
* 13 WCC Players of the Year
* 13 Teams ranked in the top 5 nationally
* 11 WCC Titles
* 8 15-plus win seasons
* 7 WCC 'Coach of the Year' Awards
* 7 Played on the USA Senior National team
* 6 Academic All-Americans
* 5 College Cup Final Fours
* 5 Far West Region Coaches of the Year
* 4 Teams ranked No. 1 nationally
* 3 WCC Freshmen of the Year
* 2 Players currently playing in the MLS
* 1 USA Olympian
* 1 National Championship
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