SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 10 Santa Clara women's soccer team got back to its winning ways tonight, defeating No. 19 BYU, 2-1, tonight at Buck Shaw Stadium. Senior Anessa Patton's fifth game-winner of the year in the 82nd minute secured the Bronco victory and put SCU's record at 12-4-2 for the season.
The Santa Clara offense took advantage of a Cougar defense that wasn't quite ready to play at the opening whistle, scoring just 29 seconds into the match. Senior Kendra Perry finished to the far post after freshman Julie Johnston's pass to the right side of the 18-yard box for her first goal of the season. The goal was the fourth-fastest scored in SCU history, with the fastest being 15 seconds by Linda Hoffman over Sonoma State in 1990.
BYU equalized the game at 21:42 on a corner kick. Lauren Anderson served a ball from the left flag just beyond the 6-yard box, and Lindsi Lisonbee used her height to win the ball over the Bronco defense, heading the ball just inside the far post out of junior goalie Bianca Henninger's reach.
Santa Clara carried a 7-5 shot advantage into halftime with the score at 1-1 and each team had three corner kick opportunities in a fairly even 45 minutes.
In the second half, Santa Clara changed its formation to a 4-4-2, and as a result tilted the percentage of possession in its favor.
"We started the game in a 4-3-3, but I felt the play was too wide open and back and forth for my liking," said head coach Jerry Smith. "They [BYU] were a little more athletic than we were, I thought, and we decided at halftime to switch to a 4-4-2, and because of that we got a hold of ball better than we did in the first half."
Neither team could find the back of the net until late in the game, when Johnston's through ball found Anessa Patton in stride. Patton attempted to touch the ball past onrushing goalkeeper McKinzie Olson, but Olson got a piece of the ball. Despite nearly foiling the play, Olson couldn't hold on to the ball and after a mini-scramble Patton recovered the ball and put in the goal for her eighth tally of the season at 81:19.
"It was a special night for Anessa," said Smith. "Anessa's little sister Alexa, who has diabetes, was our honorary captain tonight and was out here promoting awareness for the Stop Diabetes! campaign, so I think Anessa had a little extra motivation and put out an inspired performance tonight. Anessa, at end of her senior year here, has just been solid for us scoring game-winner after game-winner. I thought, in addition to goal she scored, she was busy and productive out there for us and combined well with her partners up front, including Meleana Shim who we played up top for the first time this season. Meleana did a great job holding the ball for us, and I thought Olivia Klei was solid at left back tonight."
At the end of 90 minutes, Patton's goal stood as the game-winner and the Broncos recorded their sixth all-time win to remain undefeated in the series with Cougars, who next season will be a member of the West Coast Conference.
Santa Clara finished with a 13-9 advantage in shots. Henninger finished with two saves in the game while senior Amanda Poach recorded the most shots for the Broncos with four.
"I'm proud of our team and happy for Anessa," said Smith. "I'm also really excited and think it's awesome for the conference that BYU will be joining us next season. As long as I can remember they've been a top-20 team and we've played them in the NCAAs several times. They always, for the most part, make the NCAA Tournament and to add a team of their caliber to our conference will be great for us, and I think the rest of the teams in our conference feel the same way."
Santa Clara will finish out its regular-season home schedule on Sunday against Loyola Marymount at 1 p.m. It will be the final home game for the Broncos' five seniors unless SCU makes and hosts NCAA Tournament matches. The Broncos will finish the season on the road at Pepperdine on Nov. 6.