SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Qualifiers of five College Cup Final Fours and 19 NCAA tournaments, Santa Clara University's men's soccer team will play in front of a national television audience Friday night courtesy of Fox Soccer. The Broncos are set to host league rival, the University of Portland, at 7 p.m. The game is presented by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as its 'Game of the Week.'
"I think we have a fantastic facility here and I think the team is playing well, so it is a great chance to showcase a sport that has done very well here at the University," said Santa Clara head coach and former Bronco All-American Cameron Rast. "Of course, we are playing for results and that becomes an important piece to this game."
Santa Clara (8-5-0; 5-1-0 WCC) has been exceptional as of late, finishing atop the league standings through the first half of West Coast Conference play. Senior All-America candidate Erik Hurtado ranks No. 5 nationally in points per game (2.0) and is also among the NCAA's top 10 in goals (11), goals per game (0.85) and total points (26).
"We always knew this team was pretty special," Hurtado said on Tuesday. "When we were 1-4, we just had to get some momentum going … when that happened we started to get the confidence that we could go somewhere with this. In reality, you need to win games as a team to go somewhere. You just can't rely on talent alone to take you there."
Hurtado's offensive production has been complemented nicely by the play of SCU's team defense. Senior classmate, All-WCC goalkeeper Larry Jackson, has allowed just four goals through the first six conference matches. Jackson ranks No. 1 within WCC play in save percentage (.833) and goals against average (0.65).
"We have been enjoying this bye week, getting in a lot of training, fixing some kinks and problems that we've had over the first half of WCC play," Hurtado added when asked about the league's bye week. "We are changing it up a bit, because teams know what we are about and what we can do, so we plan to throw something else at them. Some guys have been injured, so this is also good time to rest and get some treatment. But we are excited and ready. Having a couple weeks off, you get hungry for game mode."
Portland (5-7-1; 3-3-0 WCC) indeed knows Santa Clara well and is armed with a dangerous offensive player of its own, junior Steven Evans. The Pilots dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Broncos two weeks ago in Portland despite a two-goal effort from Evans, who like Hurtado, ranks among the league and national leaders in offense. A former U-20 U.S. Men's National Team member, Evans and Hurtado have extensive playing history together growing up in the Portland area, most recently as teammates on the Portland Timbers U-23 side.
Gonzaga (4-9-0; 0-6-0 WCC) comes to the Bay Area still looking for its first WCC victory. The Zags will play at St. Mary's Friday night in Moraga prior to visiting Buck Shaw Stadium Sunday afternoon. Prior to the match on Sunday, the Broncos will be honoring its final-year players on 'Senior Day' in Santa Clara.
Friday night's game with Portland will air live on national TV via Fox Soccer. Steve Bell (play-by-play), Keith Tabatznik (color) and Kim Johnson (sideline) will be on hand to call the action. On Sunday, fans can watch a FREE online broadcast of the Gonzaga match via SantaClaraBroncos.com. In addition, live stats will be available for both matches this weekend.
Santa Clara is 19-14-8 all-time against Portland and 11-6-3 against the Pilots at Buck Shaw. The Broncos swept the Pilots last season, winning 1-0 at home and on the road. Just two weeks ago, SCU beat Portland 3-2 in overtime, accounting for the current three-game SCU win streak in the series. Gonzaga has played Santa Clara very tough over the years, especially in Spokane. However the Broncos have won seven consecutive games against the Zags dating back to 2009. GU and SCU are 7-6-1 all-time in Spokane, in contrast to a 10-2-2 all-time mark in favor of the Broncos in Santa Clara. Most recently SCU edged GU 1-0 in Spokane two weeks ago.
SCU HEAD COACH CAMERON RAST
* 122-63-38 career record
* 63-19-22 at Buck Shaw Stadium
* No. 2 all-time in WCC wins (65)
* Four-time WCC Coach of the Year
* 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
WEAR PINK FRIDAY NIGHT!
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Santa Clara University men's soccer program will host a PINK-themed match this Friday, Oct. 26 against Portland. The game is slated to start at 7 p.m. Events surrounding the match are aimed to spread Breast Cancer Awareness and inspire fans to become more involved in the fight against the disease. In addition to pink decor, there will be pink foam fingers handed out to the first 100 fans. Please join us for this event and assist us in spreading the word.
Fans can purchase tickets online (www.SantaClaraBroncos.com/buytickets), over the phone at 408-554-4660 or by visiting the SCU Ticket Office, located at The Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara campus, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Right from the start we like to get the ball going forward, get in their face and play in the final third," said senior team co-captain Murphy Campbell when asked about the Broncos playing style. "We also pride ourselves on defending well and creating counter attacks from the pressure we put on. As the game goes on, we like to get the ball moving, try and breakdown opponents in the midfield and final third. And we are always going to have a high work-rate."
"This team is very different," Campbell said in comparing the 2012 Broncos to the 2010 WCC Championship side. "Two years ago, we still had that same high work-rate, guys were bought in to the team goal of going to the playoffs, but that team played more direct. This year we are finding opportunities to play more and get the ball moving to break teams down."
"Very proud of the guys for really turning a season around," said Santa Clara head coach and former U.S. Olympian Cameron Rast in late September. "We started off with a record that was nothing to brag about, but now we're looking at ourselves and feeling like, hey we might have something here."
IN THE RANKINGS
Santa Clara began the year appearing in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 48 Tournament Rankings in each of the first three weeks and have returned in the two latest polls, coming in at No. 35 this week. The Broncos are No. 8 in the NSCAA Far West Region Top 10 but have yet to appear in the NSCAA Top 25. St. Mary's is the only other WCC team appearing in the Far West Regional Top 10 at No. 6.
2012 WCC STANDINGS (Oct. 23)
Team WCC (PTS) Overall
Santa Clara 5-1-0 (15) 8-5-0
San Diego 5-1-0 (15) 7-6-0
Saint Mary's 3-2-1 (10) 7-3-3
San Francisco 3-3-0 (9) 5-5-2
Portland 3-3-0 (9) 5-7-1
Loyola Marymount 1-5-1 (4) 3-10-2
Gonzaga 0-6-0 (0) 4-9-0
KEIGO KAMEYA NAMED WCC'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Oct. 15)
Junior forward Keigo Kameya (Saratoga, Calif./Lynnbrook HS) was tabbed by the conference office as the WCC Player of the Week after scoring one of the most important goals of the season thus far for SCU and arguably the WCC. His game-winner against Portland in overtime came with the Broncos playing a man down on the road, moments after the Pilots had tied the game with 24 seconds left in regulation. Kameya's goal, placed inside the far post, set off an extended celebration for SCU, who took control of first place in the league standings with the 3-2 victory.
HURTADO TABBED AS WEST COAST PLAYER OF WEEK BY CSM (Oct. 15)
Having now won seven of eight overall and five of six to open league play, College Sports Madness recognized SCU senior Erik Hurtado (Beaverton, Ore./Westview HS) as it's West Coast Player of the Week. Hurtado has been terrific for the Broncos during the team's recent surge to the top of the league standings. He contributed to all four SCU goals during the team's trip to the Northwest.
SANTA CLARA FEATURED BY COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS (Oct. 12)
College Soccer News writer Barry Punzal breaks down SCU's run to the top of the WCC Standings. read more...
ERIK HURTADO NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE MONTH (Oct. 4)
Santa Clara senior Erik Hurtado is the WCC Men's Soccer Player of the Month for September. Hurtado led the Broncos to four consecutive wins to close out the month, including three consecutive game-winning goals. It marks the second straight year Hurtado has been named the league's September Player of the Month.
HURTADO FEATURED BY THE SANTA CLARA NEWSPAPER - MAKES HISTORY
When senior forward Erik Hurtado steps on the soccer field, his goal is quite simple. "I just go out and try to score as many goals and get as many assists as I can," said Hurtado, a preseason All-American. read more ...
HURTADO EARNS WCC & NATIONAL HONORS (Oct. 1)
Santa Clara preseason All-American Erik Hurtado was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career. Hurtado scored two goals as the Broncos opened up WCC play with a 2-0 win over San Diego and a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount the weekend of Sept. 28-30. The senior forward was picked for the National Team of the Week by CollegeSoccerNews on Oct. 1 as well. Hurtado was terrific for Santa Clara during the team's four-game win streak in late Sept., netting the game-winning goals in each of the last three contests of the month.
LARRY JACKSON GARNERS NATIONAL PRAISE (Oct. 1)
Santa Clara goalkeeper Larry Jackson helped the Broncos post three consecutive shutout victories in late Sept., and four-straight wins overall. On Oct. 1, CollegeSportsMadness.com named Jackson its West Coast Player of the Week. Jackson had eight saves in the first two WCC games of the 2012 campaign, keeping preseason league-favorite San Diego and LMU off the scoreboard en route to a pair of SCU wins. The senior from nearby East Palo Alto earned a 5-1-1 record in seven starts last season and was tabbed as an All-WCC Honorable Mention pick. This season Jackson is 6-4-0 and his three shutouts bring his career total to 9 in 31 starts.
RYAN MASCH NAMED WCC'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Sept. 17)
The West Coast Conference named Santa Clara University freshman forward Ryan Masch (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine Prep) its men's soccer Player of the Week for September 17, 2012. Masch scored both of the Broncos' goals in a 2-1 win at Stanford on Sunday. Both of Masch's goals at Stanford, the Broncos' lone match of the week, came in the first half. The first came in the fourth minute from the top of the box. He now has three goals this season. Masch is the younger brother of former SCU All-WCC player and student Eric Masch '12.
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 and scored twice against Stanford Sept. 16. Hegardt has been projected as the WCC Freshman of the Year. Additionally, SCU added freshman defender Matt Escobar to its roster in early Sept. and he started ever since. Escobar - a local product of nearby Bellarmine High School - had originally signed to play at the University of Portland.
FOLLOW SCU MEN'S SOCCER ON TWITTER @SCUBroncoSoccer
The Santa Clara men's soccer program offers a direct link to its fans and supporters via Twitter. Check out @SCUBroncoSoccer to access the very latest.
Santa Clara has eight returning final-year players: Erik Hurtado, Larry Jackson, Wes Culver, Murphy Campbell, Danny Maeda, Gabriel Romero, 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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