Oct. 23, 2005
SPOKANE, Wash. - Rigid defense and solid net-minding delivered results for each team Sunday afternoon as the fifth-ranked Santa Clara women's soccer team and the No. 22 Gonzaga Bulldogs battled for 110 minutes to a scoreless draw in Spokane.
Even in the face of Gonzaga's defensive strategy, the Broncos still opened up some opportunities for themselves in the match but saw many of those chances get blocked or saved in front of the net.
"I think we created enough chances to score a goal or two in the game, but give credit to Gonzaga, they were very organized and well-coached," Head coach Jerry Smith said after the match. "They played tough in front of the goal, and when you're playing a team that's mostly concerned with defending you, you're going to find a lot of bodies in front of the net."
Despite getting off 14 shots in the match, four of which were on goal, the Broncos (13-3-2, 3-1-1 WCC) could not cash in against the Bulldogs (11-3-3, 2-1-2 WCC). Santa Clara dominated the first half of action on both ends of the field, reeling off six shots and forcing Gonzaga keeper Ashley Haugen to make a pair of saves on shots by Elyse Shelger in the tenth minute and Meagan Snell in the 26th. The Broncos narrowly missed netting that elusive goal in the 20th minute as a Tina Estrada attempt was on-target before being deflected by a Gonzaga defender and bouncing off of the post.
Gonzaga didn't register their first shot until the 41st minute of the match, and only managed two more in the second 45 minutes of action. Broncos goalkeeper Julie Ryder was never threatened through the first 90 minutes, as she made all three of her saves in extra time. On the opposite end, Haugen only had to make one save, on a Jordan Angeli shot in the 76th minute.
Although 90 minutes had passed without her being truly tested, Ryder maintained her edge as the Bulldogs pressed the Broncos back line in the first overtime. In the 97th minute, Gonzaga's Christine Soma found herself one-on-one with Ryder following a free kick, but Ryder made the crucial save to keep Gonzaga from netting the golden goal.
"One of the toughest things for goalkeepers to do is to not see a lot of action in the game, and then be called upon to make that tough save when the team needs it," Smith added about Ryder's performance under fire. "Julie just made a great save for us in that one-on-one situation."
The Santa Clara attack, after being held without a shot for the first 17 minutes of extra time, made a furious rush in the final minutes as they unleashed four shots on Haugen in the last two-and-a-half minutes. Haugen saved another shot off the foot of Tina Estrada and watched as a Jordan Angeli header went wide off of Marian Dalmy's corner at the 109:19 mark. About 40 seconds later, the final horn sounded, ending the Broncos' run of 12 wins in the two schools' 12 all-time meetings.
No. 5 Santa Clara returns to Buck Shaw Stadium Sunday, October 30 to take on the Loyola Marymount Lions at 1 p.m. Sunday's contest will be the final regular-season home match for seniors Micaela Esquivel, Catherine Sigler, Jessica Ballweg and Carrie Schuler.