SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the final home match of the regular season for the No. 9 Santa Clara women's soccer team, the Broncos rallied in the second half to beat Pepperdine 9-2. The Broncos now hold a record of 13-3-1 (7-0-0 WCC) and the Waves stand at 9-7-2 (4-4-0 WCC). Santa Clara heads into the final weekend of the regular season alone in first place in the WCC.
On the Broncos' Senior Day, the Broncos led the match in shots 22-11 and shots on goal 14-7. Santa Clara's seniors Morgan Marlborough, Julie Johnston and Alyson Birgel put up goals for the Broncos on their special day with Marlborough collecting a hat trick, Johnston with a pair and Birgel with an outstanding shot 25 yards out. Junior Sofia Huerta and freshman Jordan Jesolva picked up a goal a piece in the second half.
"I thought the seniors were awesome tonight," said Smith. "To have all of our seniors on the second half was no coincidence to how we played. To go down 2-0 to a good team like Pepperdine, you start to have a lot of thoughts going through your head but I thought the second half we were hitting on all cylinders which feels good at the end of the season, feels good when you can do that on Senior Day and I think our seniors clearly led the way for us today."
The Broncos now hit the road for two key road games next weekend at Portland and Gonzaga. The Broncos will face Portland on Thurs., Nov. 7 at 6:00 p.m. which will be shown live on ESPNU then travel to Spokane to face the Bulldogs at Gonzaga on Sat., Nov. 9 at 1:00 p.m.
"Our next match against the Univerisity of Portland is one that we are really looking forward to," said Smith. "We have a great respect for Portland, we're looking forward to the tough environment and it's on ESPN. It will be an opportunity for us to handle a sold out crowd and an ESPN game on the road which is as close to an NCAA game environment as you can come to playing in the Final Four so it will be a great challenge for us and a great opportunity for us."
The Waves were quick to jump on the scoreboard as junior Ally Holtz knocked in a close range shot in the fifth min. off a short corner kick from Michelle Pao to make the score 1-0 for the Waves.
In the 18th min., Pepperdine's Pao hit a shot from the top of the Bronco's box to make the score 2-0.
Less than three minutes later the Bronco's struck back as Alyssa Kleiner served a ball in front of the Waves' goal for Johnston to head to the back of the net for her 11th goal of the season.
In the 27th min., the Broncos tied up the game 2-2 with an unassisted goal by Marlborough. Marlborough dribbled the ball in the box for a slotted shot far post for her 9th goal of the season.
After the half, the Broncos pulled ahead when Marlborough powered her way to win a loose ball in the Waves' box and slot to the back of the net in the 49th min. making the score 3-2 for the Broncos.
Two minutes later in the 51st min., Santa Clara's Huerta took a shot from the left side of the Waves' box to sneak past the goalkeeper far post. The Broncos led the Waves 4-2.
In the 54th min., Marlborough knocked in her third goal of the game after Huerta drilled a shot on frame at the top of the box that was blocked and followed up by Marlborough for the goal.
Two minutes later, Marlborough crossed a ball in front of the Waves' net for Jesolva to put away with a header. The Broncos expanded their lead 6-2.
In the 62nd min., senior Birgel drove a shot from 25 yards out just out of reach of the Pepperdine goalkeeper making the score 7-2. The goal was Birgel's first of the 2013 season.
In the 85th min., the Broncos scored their eighth goal of the match when Ellie Rice served the ball into the Waves' box to Johnston's head to make the score 8-2.
In the ninth and final goal for the Broncos came in the 88th min. when Huerta dribbled the ball down the left side flank for a low driven shot that was deflected by a Waves' defender into the goal. The Broncos held strong the remainder of the match making the final score 9-2.
Game Notes: Attendance was 1157.