Sept. 10, 2006
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The third-ranked Santa Clara women's soccer team bounced back from a sluggish first half Sunday afternoon to take control and defeat the No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies, 2-0, at the UCLA Women's Cup. The Broncos outshot the Aggies 7-3 in the second half as Meagan Snell's goal in her fourth straight match and the hustle of Brittany Klein were instrumental in earning the win.
Santa Clara (5-1-0) will now return to the Bay Area this week, traveling 30 minutes north to the Stanford campus to take part in the Stanford Nike Classic. SCU will face the No. 24 Boston University Terriers Friday night at 5 p.m. before wrapping up weekend action Sunday against the No. 12 Tennessee Lady Vols in an 11:30 a.m. battle.
At the start of Sunday's match, the Broncos seemed to be battling the after-effects of Friday night's double-overtime victory over Connecticut, as the Aggies (3-2-1) were using their athleticism to get to more loose balls and were clearly the aggressors early on.
Santa Clara dodged a bullet early in the first half as an Aggie shot beat goalkeeper Meagan McCray but bounced off the right post and was cleared. As it turned out, that opportunity ended up being Texas A&M's best chance of the match, as McCray, who made six saves in earning her third shutout of the season, and the defense adjusted to counter the Aggies' athleticism and put the Aggie attack on lockdown the rest of the way.
"What we tried to do was limit the space behind our back four," Smith explained. "Once the game settled down to where we felt that we could anticipate and read it well, we felt that if we could keep their forwards in front of our back four, we could limit them offensively. The team put in a solid 90-minute effort today."
After being outshot 7-4 in the first half, the Bronco attack awakened early in the second, spearheaded by an alert Klein. The junior midfielder zipped in to beat an Aggie to a loose ball, poking it ahead to Snell, who dribbled her way towards the top middle of the box and then fired a laser beam that A&M keeper Kristin Arnold could not catch up to for the 1-0 lead. With the goal, Snell became the eighth different player in Santa Clara history to score a goal in four consecutive matches.
"Its been great that our one veteran player on the front line has had an impact for us," head coach Jerry Smith said of Snell's play. "Meagan is a great finisher and got a great shot off today. For her, it's just having the confidence of getting her shots off, and I think she has that right now."
SCU continued to apply pressure, looking to put the Aggies in a 0-2 hole, and almost did so as Hillary Schwarzbach's header off of an Amanda Poach corner kick hit the post. The Broncos kept at it, though, and finally broke through in the 74th minute thanks to another hustling effort by Klein. Following a poor A&M clearing attempt of a Poach free kick, Klein flew in and one-timed a line drive past Arnold and into the top of the net for her second goal of the year and the insurance the Broncos needed.
"Brittany is one of our hardest working players, and now that she's a captain, I think she's really shouldering the additional responsibility of being an example of what we want in terms of effort and intensity on the field," Smith said of the junior captain.
From there the defense stalled the Aggies to earn the team's fourth shutout.
The All-Tournament team was scheduled to be announced following the 2 p.m. match between host UCLA and Connecticut.