Sept. 1, 2009
Box Score | Action Photos
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - In a rare Tuesday night match, the Santa Clara men's soccer team and No. 15 UC Irvine opened 2009 competition with a 105-minute thriller in which the Broncos were unable to retain a two goal lead over the Anteaters, falling 3-2 in double overtime.
Santa Clara wasted no time setting the tone for the match, stunning UC Irvine in just the second minute as Brandon Zimmerman connected with an unmarked Mykell Bates to head in a corner kick from nine yards out.
Zimmerman and Bates struck again in the 43rd minute to make it 2-0, this time capitalizing on a set piece from 30 yards out. Bates beat his defender and picked the ball out of the air with his right foot, pushing it past Anteater goalkeeper Andrew Fontein.
"We trained set pieces quite a bit in the preseason and we knew that in really tight games they would be important," said head coach Cameron Rast. "That part of the game was really good for us, especially Bates and Zimmerman, they worked well together."
The Broncos only got two shots off in the half, but that's all they needed to take the lead. UC Irvine managed six shots but only one on goal, forcing Santa Clara goalkeeper Larry Jackson, a true freshmen in his first collegiate start, to make his first save of the game.
Frustrations built in the second half of a back-and-forth match that saw 62 total fouls and five yellow cards, and the Anteaters finally erased the zero off the scoreboard at 64:49. Irvine's Amani Walker's looping shot met Jackson's hand and the crossbar at the same time, bouncing to teammate Carlos Aguilar who finished the ball to reduce the Bronco lead by one.
The Anteaters equalized in the 82nd minute when Irving Garcia collected a loose ball in the penalty area and fired off a low hard shot that beat Jackson to the far post side netting. UC Irvine then carried the momentum in the final eight minutes of regulation, but Jackson made a save on the Anteaters' final attempt to force the game into extra minutes.
Santa Clara outshot UC Irvine 3-2 in the first overtime period, and had one dangerous chance about five minutes in that Fontein denied. At 97:57, it was Jackson's turn to make a game-changing save; getting both hands behind a hard shot from the right side that was headed for the upper corner.
The Anteaters called on Fontein once more to make a save in the second overtime, rejecting senior Ryan Brown's attempt in the 103rd minute, then turned around just moments later to end the game. Walker, who assisted on the first goal, took advantage of his height and Aguilar's floated through ball, heading it over Jackson for the golden goal.
"I think we played well in the first half and a good portion of the second half was pretty solid also, but we started to fatigue and in the beginning of the season that can happen," said Rast. "We have to get a little bit fitter and a little bit tougher and we have to make plays when it really matters. We made a few errors that we need to correct and made a tough decision in the back late in the game to give up the third goal. Moving forward we will have to look for other guys that can help when the legs get weary on two-day weekends, and our depth on the bench will be critical to our success. We had moments where we could have snuck in the result and most of game I was pretty happy with our performance and we'll just get better from here."
The Broncos (0-1) will hit the road this weekend, traveling to UC Irvine's tournament in which they will face Cleveland State (Saturday 5 p.m.) and Long Island (Monday 2 p.m.).