Nov. 10, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After 11 straight years of reaching the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, fate finally caught up to the No. 3 Santa Clara women's soccer team Friday night as the Broncos' 2006 season came to an abrupt end with a 1-0 upset loss to the USC Women of Troy in their first-round match at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Broncos end the 2006 season with a record of 15-5-1, and with a 5-1-1 record in West Coast Conference play clinched their ninth conference title in program history.
"I'm very proud of my team, I think they played well today. We have to take our hats off to USC and congratulate them on their victory," said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith. "We did a lot of things right today, but like all sports, soccer is a game of inches, and we hit the post once, and had some close misses."
USC (11-4-5) netted the game-winner on Amy Rodriguez' 87th-minute goal, slotting a ball to the near corner after a failed SCU clearing attempt. The Women of Troy advance to Sunday's second-round contest at Buck Shaw Stadium to take on the winner of Friday night's Stanford-Nevada contest.
Santa Clara struggled to find a rhythm for much of the first half, as USC contented itself with leaving numbers in the defensive end and keeping the Broncos out of the net. The Broncos nearly went ahead as Hayley Siegel's shot out of a scrum in front of the net was saved by USC keeper Veronica Simonton at point-blank range.
SCU outshot USC 10-8 for the match, and in the second half held a 7-4 advantage in shots, but could not find the net. The team's best chance of the contest came in the 55th minute as forward Kiki Bosio was taken down in the box by USC's Janessa Currier and the Broncos were awarded a penalty kick.
But Marian Dalmy, who had previously made her three penalty kick attempts on the season, hit the cross bar despite beating Simonton to the upper-left corner, and the Women of Troy gained a new lease on life.
"I still went to my usual side, I just wanted to hit it a little harder, but I think I hit it too hard and got a little too pretty with the post," Dalmy said of the attempt.
The defense of the Women of Troy continued to limit Bronco chances, as they clogged passing lanes and prevented any close-range attempts. USC consistently dropped seven and even eight players into and around the box throughout the second half.
But the counter-attack from USC eventually formed and paid off late, as a crossing attempt into the box left only one SCU defender and goalkeeper Julie Ryder against three USC attackers. The cross has headed out, but directly to Rodriguez, who beat an onrushing Ryder to the near post at the 86:06 mark. The USC defense held for the final four minutes, with Simonton saving a shot from Jordan Angeli to quell SCU's final threat.