SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University men's soccer team enjoyed yet another winning season in the fall of 2012. In fact, the Broncos posted their 24th winning season in the past 26 years. Santa Clara Hall of Famer Cameron Rast – who now owns a 125-64-40 overall record in 11 seasons as head coach - led his group to an 11-6-2 mark in 2012, with an impressive 8-2-2 record during West Coast Conference play.
Santa Clara's 2012 final-year players (l-r): Alex Fitschen, Murphy Campbell, Gabriel Romero, Takahide Kameya, Erik Hurtado, Devin Character, Danny Maeda, Wes Culver and Larry Jackson.
Despite going undefeated down the stretch, shutting out three consecutive WCC opponents in the process and going on the road to defeat league-leading San Diego on the final day of the regular season – the Broncos would narrowly miss winning the WCC Championship. It would be the second consecutive year the Broncos would finish as WCC runner-up.
In the world of NCAA men's soccer, only 48 teams qualify for the NCAA tournament – different from the 64 programs invited to participate on the women's side or the recently expanded, 68-team NCAA men's basketball field.
In 2010, Rast and his Broncos won the WCC title and went on to represent SCU in the NCAA's. However, in four of the past five years, the WCC has advanced just one team into postseason play – the league champion – and the conference runner-up has been left on the outside looking in.
With a rich tradition of soccer success – 19 NCAA tournaments, 11 WCC titles, 5 College Cup Final Fours and even an NCAA National Championship to its credit – not making the NCAA field has become an expectation at SCU.
But looking back at the season of 2012, the SCU team and its student-athletes accomplished a great deal. The team was ranked as high as No. 32 nationally, went out to North Carolina and knocked off Duke on the road 2-1, defeated Stanford by the same score in early September, and reeled off four straight mid-season wins to firmly establish themselves as title contenders until the season's final day.
Team co-captain's, junior defender Mark Daus and fifth-year senior midfielder Murphy Campbell, led the Broncos to a 10-2-2 record in the year's final 12 matches – showing their collective character and resilience by bouncing back from a 1-4 start. SCU would benefit from award-winning play from senior classmates, forward Erik Hurtado and goalkeeper Larry Jackson, while also getting a boost of new energy from freshman forward Ryan Masch.
Hurtado, Jackson and Masch immediately earned early-season accolades. Each were named All-Tournament players at Duke's John Rennie/Nike Invitational in early September.
Hurtado was so exceptional from September all the way through November, the final-year Bronco from Beaverton, Ore. finished the season as a finalist for the 2012 Soccer News National Player of the Year award. Hurtado led the WCC in virtually every offensive category, and among all NCAA players ranked fifth in points per game (1.95), sixth in goals per game (0.79) and eighth in both total points (37) and total goals (15). Hurtado was tabbed as the WCC Player of the Year and became the 14th All-American in Santa Clara history. In early January of 2013, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC selected Hurtado No. 5 overall in the MLS SuperDraft.
Jackson, from nearby East Palo Alto, Calif. and a product of the U.S. National Team system, posted seven shutouts in 2012 and made 60 saves. Jackson drew praise as a 2012 NSCAA All-Far West Region Third Team player and was named the 2012 WCC Goalkeeper of the Year.
With Hurtado scoring goals at a record-setting pace and Daus and co. holding down the back line for Jackson, Santa Clara entered its annual road match at Portland on Oct. 9, locked in a first-place tie with the Pilots, with both teams sitting at 3-1 in WCC play and looking for a pivotal league victory. In thrilling, overtime fashion, in a game that saw Portland force extra time by scoring with 24 seconds left, SCU junior Keigo Kameya netted a dramatic game-winning goal to give the Broncos control of first place.
SCU seemed to have a flair for the dramatic in 2012. Coming off a double-overtime draw Halloween night against St. Mary's and needing a result to remain atop the standings on the second day of November, the Broncos rallied from a man down, getting a short-handed game-winning goal from Phillip Muscarella with 1:45 left in regulation to beat rival USF 1-0 at Negoesco Field in San Francisco.
Separated by just two points entering the season's final weekend of play - as many had predicted and speculated - it was going to be either Santa Clara or San Diego emerging with the WCC trophy and earning the league's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
The Broncos controlled their own destiny, but would be travelling south to face always-tough LMU, then that red-hot San Diego team. USD would be hosting St. Mary's prior to entertaining the Broncos. The stage was set.
In a match that could have gone either way, SCU and LMU battled to a scoreless draw on Friday afternoon, Nov. 9 in Los Angeles. The result gave San Diego the knowledge, it could clinch the title later that night on its home field at Torero Stadium against the Gaels. USD's 2-0 victory over St. Mary's, coupled with SCU's draw with LMU decided it.
The fact Santa Clara went down to San Diego two days later and posted a 3-2 victory did not matter. Despite beating USD twice during the regular season, for the second straight year, SCU would be on the outside looking in on selection Monday.
2012 Santa Clara Soccer Highlights
* Santa Clara posts 24th winning season in past 26 years
* SCU goes 8-2-2 in WCC play and 11-6-2 overall
* Erik Hurtado named NSCAA Third Team All-American
* Erik Hurtado named the 2012 WCC Player of the Year
* Erik Hurtado is drafted No. 5 overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft
* Larry Jackson named the 2012 WCC Goalkeeper of the Year
* 2012 NCAA Men's Division I NSCAA All-Far West Team: Erik Hurtado (First Team), Larry Jackson (Third Team)
* Eight Broncos garner All-WCC honors; First Team: Mark Daus, Erik Hurtado, Larry Jackson; Freshman Team: Ryan Masch, Max Ornstil; Honorable Mention: Murphy Campbell, Ryan Masch, Carlos Montes and Matt Escobar
* Glenn Vass named WCC All-Academic
* Broncos shutout seven opponents, allow league-low 9 goals in WCC play
* SCU totals a 6-1-1 record on the road
* Broncos go 4-1-1 at home vs. WCC
* Broncos top Duke and Stanford on the road
* Erik Hurtado named WCC Player of the Month (September) – led the league and ranked among nation's top 10 in goals, points, goals per game, points per game
* Larry Jackson named College Sports Madness West Coast Player of Week (Oct. 1)
* Erik Hurtado Soccer News Net National Player of the Year Finalist; TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week (Oct. 29); College Sports Madness West Coast Player of the Week (Oct. 15)
* Three Broncos named WCC Player of the Week: Ryan Masch (Sept. 17), Erik Hurtado (Oct. 1), Keigo Kameya (Oct. 15)
* Cameron Rast reaches 125 coaching victories (125-64-40)
* SCU hosts Portland on national TV, Fox Soccer Channel (Oct. 26)
* Broncos ranked as high as No. 32 nationally by TopDrawerSoccer.com
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