Check out photos from the match! (Credit Denis Concordel)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Playing without several regulars because of injury, No. 18 Santa Clara women's soccer took down LMU in a nail-biter by a final of 1-0. Santa Clara is now 8-2-4 overall and 1-0-1 in WCC play while LMU moves to 6-4-2 and 0-2-0 in conference.
The lone Santa Clara goal came off the head of Julie Johnston, who only played 20 minutes, on an assist from Lauren Matheson. It was the fourth goal of the season for Johnston and the first assist for Matheson. Making her first career start, Lexi Rubattino collected seven saves, including several diving stops.
The Broncos return to the field on Sun., Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. at Pepperdine whose only regular season loss last season came at the hands of Santa Clara.
"I thought we played really well even though we were missing some starters," said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith. "When you don't have Julie on the field you lack a little bit of leadership. She's fighting a little big of a knee injury so we tried to play without her but it looked like we wouldn't get it done so we put her in and she scored. We got the win, that's important, a shutout in conference play is always good and we played without a few of our regular starters today. Some players that aren't normal starters came in and did a good job. Lexi [Rubattino] got a shutout and I thought Megan Crosson and Paige Robertson did well. What we try to do from time to time is change-up our starting line-up and keep things interesting. I thought we did a good job today."
In the seventh minute LMU took a free kick from halfway between the top of the box and the midfield line and nearly found the back of the net. Rubattino leaped and knocked the ball off the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
Emily Maletis sent a beautiful ball to Brianne Medved near the top of the box in the 23rd minute. Medved controlled the ball and, as Rubattino was heading out to try to stop the ball, tapped a shot on the ground past Rubattino that went just wide right and out for a goal kick.
Medved had another good scoring chance in the 36th minute. She dribbled the ball down the field and shot from the middle of the field near the box. Rubattino dove to her left and made the save. The resulting corner kick did not produce a scoring chance for the Lions.
With two minutes left in the first half Sarah Jackson took a pass near midfield and dribbled down the field until she passed off to Kat McAuliffe near the box on the left side. McAuliffe hit a low shot that the goalkeeper just got her fingertips on to make the save and keep the game scoreless.
At the end of the first half the score was 0-0.
Matheson crossed a ball to Johnston in the 65th minute in the center of the box that Johnston got a head on and hit it over the goalkeeper. After one bounce, the ball passed the goal line to put Santa Clara up 1-0.
Rubattino had to make another diving save in the 71st minute to keep the Broncos in the lead. A shot to the right side of the goal was almost out of her reach but she was able to get a hand on the ball and knock it out of bounds. LMU followed up with three consecutive corner kicks but was unable to cash in on the chances.
Santa Clara was able to run out the clock to seal the 1-0 win.