SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Erik Hurtado scored twice in the first half and Santa Clara University fended off a late rally to earn a hard-fought 2-1 decision over West Coast Conference rival San Francisco Sunday night.
Santa Clara (6-5-0; 3-1-0 WCC) remains perfect on its home field through four WCC contests. It was the Broncos' third victory in league play, which includes a win over the University of San Diego, setting up a battle for first-place when SCU visits the University of Portland this coming Friday, Oct. 12.
"We are in the midst of the WCC first round and everybody is trying to position themselves in a spot to make a run for (the championship)," said Santa Clara head coach and former US Olympian Cameron Rast. "Particularly when you play your home games, you feel like those are the games you need to get results. Tonight that's what we felt. We felt like we needed to get a result."
The Broncos denied San Francisco (4-4-2, 2-2-0 WCC) of consecutive road wins, following the Dons' dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over St. Mary's Friday. USF received a second-half score from sophomore forward Miquel Aguilar stemming from a corner kick, and Aguilar nearly tied it in the closing moments.
"This was a tough one," said SCU starting defender Phillip Muscarella. "We got up in the first half by two goals but knew at halftime we had more work to do. Last year we were down 2-0 to USF and came back and won 3-2. So we knew we had to hold it down. It was tough but we had to grind it out in the second half. That's what these WCC games are all about, you have to grind it out and get the W. That's what matters at the end of the day."
Santa Clara was afforded a two-goal edge thanks to Hurtado – the WCC Player of the Month for September – who was terrific up top for the Broncos once again Sunday night. The senior from Beaverton, Ore. put his first two shots into the back of the net. He entered the week ranked 12th nationally in goals per game and upped his season total to nine.
"He's been a dominating force," Rast said about the play of Hurtado this season. "He's not a secret; it's not like the conference opponents after three years don't know what's coming. But he became the difference today in the game. He's a tough guy to stop. I think what I'm most proud of him tonight is that he chose moments. He didn't get it and try to do it all himself. We talked about that during pre-game; we win this as a team not as a player."
The Broncos have gone 5-1-0 since Sept. 9, with the back-line and all-league senior goalkeeper Larry Jackson deserving a lot of the credit as well, allowing just three goals in the last six games.
2012 WCC Men's Soccer Standings
Team WCC (PTS) Overall
Santa Clara 3-1-0 (9) 6-5-0
Portland 3-1-0 (9) 5-5-1
San Diego 3-1-0 (9) 5-6-0
San Francisco 2-2-0 (6) 4-4-2
Saint Mary's 1-2-1 (4) 5-3-3
Loyola Marymount 1-2-1 (4) 3-7-2
Gonzaga 0-4-0 (0) 4-7-0
June 5, 2013 Hanley Has High Hopes for Men’s Soccer Next Season
March 7, 2013 Santa Clara Men's Soccer Announces 2013 Spring Schedule
February 5, 2013 Santa Clara Soccer Academy Announces 2013 Camp Dates and Schedule
January 24, 2013 2012 Season Highlights: 24 Winning Seasons in 26 Years
December 13, 2012 EYEBRONCO: Hurtado and Jackson Invited to MLS Combine
November 11, 2012 Santa Clara Wraps Up Regular Season with 3-2 Win at USD
November 9, 2012 Santa Clara Ties LMU, San Diego Goes on to Clinch WCC Title
November 9, 2012 Sophomore Glenn Vass Named to WCC All-Academic Team
November 7, 2012 Santa Clara and San Diego Playing for WCC Soccer Championship
November 3, 2012 Improbable Ending Moves Santa Clara to 7-2-1 in WCC
November 2, 2012 Carlos Montes Emerging as One of the League's Top Players
November 1, 2012 Halloween Night at Buck Shaw Has SCU-SMC Draw 0-0
October 29, 2012 National Team of the Week Honors Given to SCU's Erik Hurtado
October 28, 2012 Erik Hurtado's Hat Trick Allows SCU Eighth Win in Ten Games
October 27, 2012 Late Goal Lifts Portland Past Santa Clara Friday Night 2-1
October 26, 2012 Finishing Strong: Danny Maeda Reflects Back on His SCU Career
October 15, 2012 Keigo Kameya, Erik Hurtado Honored as WCC’s Top Performers
October 14, 2012 Broncos Blank Zags, Sweep Two-Game Trip to the Northwest
October 11, 2012 WCC Men's Soccer: Santa Clara Battles Portland for First Place
October 8, 2012 Erik Hurtado Scores Twice, Santa Clara Tops San Francisco 2-1
October 3, 2012 Overtime Goal Pushes St. Mary's Past Santa Clara 1-0
October 2, 2012 Santa Clara Men's Soccer Preps for Rivalry Games vs. SMC, USF
October 1, 2012 Erik Hurtado Earns WCC Men's Soccer's Top Weekly Honor
September 30, 2012 SCU Bronco Soccer Wins Again, Beating LMU 1-0 Sunday
September 29, 2012 Santa Clara Looks Sharp in WCC-Opening Win Over USD
September 20, 2012 Friday Night Soccer Doubleheader Begins with SCU-NJIT
September 17, 2012 Santa Clara Earns Key Road Victory Over Stanford, 2-1
September 17, 2012 Freshman Ryan Masch Named the WCC Men's Soccer Player of the Week
September 12, 2012 Santa Clara Aims to Capitalize on Chances Sunday Night at Stanford
September 10, 2012 San Jose State Gets Rare Win Over Santa Clara at Buck Shaw
September 8, 2012 No. 3 Creighton Breaks Through In Second Half, Tops SCU 1-0
September 2, 2012 SCU Topped by N.C. State; Return Home to Host No. 2 Creighton
August 25, 2012 Cal Edges Santa Clara 2-1 in Bay Area Classic
August 19, 2012 Broncos Ease Into 2012 Season During Exhibition with Mustangs
August 16, 2012 SCU Men's Soccer Hosts Exhibition Saturday Night vs. Cal Poly
August 1, 2012 Santa Clara, MLS Star Mehdi Ballouchy Returns to Buck Shaw