Sept. 3, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's soccer team travels to Orange County this weekend for a pair of non-conference matches at the 2009 UC Irvine College Classic. The Broncos will face Cleveland State University Saturday, September 5th at 5 p.m. and Long Island University on Monday, September 7th at 2 p.m.
Santa Clara (0-1) is looking for their first victory of `09 after losing a 3-2 double-overtime match to No. 15 UC Irvine Tuesday. The Broncos are vying for the program's sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in seven years. Sophomore Mykell Bates scored twice against UCI Tuesday with classmate and All-WCC midfielder Brandon Zimmerman assisting in both.
LIVE COVERAGE: Follow both matches live via GAMETRACKER on Santa Clara University's official athletics website (www.santaclarabroncos.com).
CLEVELAND STATE: The Vikings (1-0) began its season with a 3-0 home victory over St. Bonaventure on Tuesday. CSU was 9-8-3 in 2008 and advanced to the Horizon League Championship match, losing 1-0 to Loyola (Chicago). Cleveland State is picked to finish fourth in the 2009 Horizon League men's soccer preseason poll, behind UIC, Loyola and Butler.
LONG ISLAND: The Blackbirds (0-1) were edged by Colgate 1-0 in their season-opener Tuesday in Hamilton, New York. Long Island makes the cross-country trip to California to play No. 15 UC Irvine on Saturday before the Monday night match with the Broncos. The Blackbirds return 14 lettermen from its 8-9-1 team of 2008. The Blackbirds have made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, their last coming in 2004.
SCU HEAD COACH CAM RAST: Cameron Rast enters his eighth season at the helm of Santa Clara men's soccer. The three-time West Coast Conference "Coach of the Year" (2003, 2006 & 2007) has led the Broncos to five NCAA Tournament appearances and three WCC titles. He has coached 51 players who have earned All-WCC honors, 16 NSCAA All-Far West Region award-winners, developed 13 future professionals, and coached six All-Americans - all in just seven seasons. His overall career record entering the 2009 season stands at 87-38-24 (.664). During an outstanding player career, Rast scored 11 goals as the captain of SCU's 1989 NCAA National Championship team. A two-time collegiate All-American, Rast would go on to captain the U.S. Olympic Team in 1992.
UPSET IN OPENER: For just the second time in nine years Santa Clara dropped its season-opener, a 3-2 double-overtime heartbreaker to No. 15 UC Irvine Tuesday. SCU sophomore Mykell Bates scored twice to give the Broncos a 2-0 advantage but the Anteaters answered back with second half goals from Joel Bagby and Irving Garcia to force overtime. Ryan Brown just missed scoring for SCU in the 103rd minute and moments later UCI All-America candidate Amani Walker would end it, heading-in the golden goal to allow the `Eaters a victory on SCU's home field.
"We have to get a little bit fitter and a little bit tougher," said SCU Head Coach Cameron Rast after Tuesday's double-overtime match with UCI. "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."
TITLE CONTENDERS: Santa Clara has been projected as the West Coast Conference runners-up according to the 2009 WCC men's soccer preseason poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches. The Broncos are one year removed from winning back-to-back WCC Championships and advancing into the third round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
"The preseason coaches poll shows there is a lot of respect for the quality of players we have in our program and the tradition of success we've had in conference play," said Rast. "Our preseason schedule should have us well-prepared to make a run for the conference crown later this season."
2009 WCC Preseason Coaches Poll
1. San Francisco - 36 (6)
2. Santa Clara - 24
T3. Loyola Marymount - 23 (1)
T3. Gonzaga - 23
5. San Diego - 19
6. Portland - 16
7. Saint Mary's - 6
Points (First place votes)
ALL-WCC DEFENDER: Bronco center defender Jalil Anibaba has been named to the 2009 WCC Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference team. Anibaba, a junior from Davis, California, is in the midst of a storied collegiate career. He was named the WCC "Freshman of the Year" in 2007. As a sophomore in 2008 Anibaba garnered All-America honors from Soccer America and was named to the All-WCC Second Team.
NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS - 20th ANNIVERSARY: The 1989 Santa Clara Broncos forever put the name `Santa Clara' on the men's collegiate soccer map, claiming a share of the NCAA National Championship. The only undefeated team (20-0-3) in the nation, SCU had seven players earn All-West Coast Conference honors, including Jeff Baicher, the NCAA Championship Offensive MVP. 1989 team captain Cameron Rast, and current SCU head coach, was honored as an All-American.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER AT SCU: The San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS have signed a three-year lease with Santa Clara University to use the Broncos' soccer facilities. SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium and its practice facility at Stanton Field have received major renovations and upgrades to the playing surfaces, press box, entrance, locker rooms and drainage systems this offseason.
ELEVEN BRONCOS PLAYING IN MLS: More than 50 Santa Clara players have gone on to play professional soccer, including 11 on MLS rosters entering the 2009 season. Four Broncos were chosen off the 2007 West Coast Conference title team in the 2008 MLS Draft - the most-ever from a single SCU class. Four-time All-WCC honoree Jide Ogunbiyi was selected No. 18 overall by the New York Red Bulls of the MLS in 2008, the second-highest MLS draft pick in program history.
NEXT HOME MATCH: Sunday, September 13 at 7 p.m. versus Sacramento State. The 1989 Santa Clara National Championship team will be honored at halftime. For tickets or more information call 408-554-4660.