Updated with Photos!: Santa Clara Women's Soccer Claims Share of WCC Championship with 6-3 Win at Gonzaga
SPOKANE, Wash. – In the final regular season game of the season, No. 8 Santa Clara women's soccer beat Gonzaga by a final of 6-3 to claim a share of its 10th West Coast Conference title. The win puts the Broncos final regular season record at 14-4-1 overall and 8-1-0 in WCC action while Gonzaga finishes at 7-11-1 overall and 3-6-0 in conference play. It is the first WCC championship for the Broncos since 2006.
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"I am very happy and very proud of our team," said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith. "It's not easy to win a conference championship and we are very proud that no one in the conference finished with a better record than us. We've had a lot of good teams here at Santa Clara but we haven't won the conference title the past six years. It's great for the program to be back on top of the West Coast Conference. I am especially happy for our nine seniors who now have a WCC championship to take away from their final year."
Santa Clara outshot Gonzaga 22-15 and 19-11 in shots on goal. The offense was led by Sofia Huerta who registered the second hat trick of her career while also adding an assist. Morgan Marlborough scored two goals and Alyson Birgel found the back of the net once while Julie Johnston, Ellie Rice and Sarah Jackson each had one assist.
Less than five minutes in Gonzaga jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Karley Baggerly took the ball half the length of the field and finished right post to put the Bulldogs ahead.
In the 10th minute Santa Clara tied the game at 1-1. Johnston sent a cross into the box to Huerta who shot into the lower left corner of the net. It was the 11th goal on the year for Huerta.
Santa Clara took the lead in the 13th minute on Marlborough's 13th goal of the season. Marlborough got the ball eight yards out and knocked the ball into the back of the net to make the score 2-1.
Not even a minute later the Broncos were fouled in the penalty box setting up a penalty shot. As she has done all season, Marlborough took the free kick and converted for her 14th goal of the season to give the Broncos the 3-1 lead.
The Broncos kept at it and scored yet again in the 20th minute to push the lead to 4-1. Huerta took a corner kick and Birgel was able to head it in for her second goal of the season.
In the 27th minute Rice passed to Huerta who got behind the defense and scored her second of the game one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Santa Clara wasn't done in the first half and in the 34th minute Huerta completed the hat trick with her 13th goals of the season. Jackson passed to Huerta who took a 10 yard shot to make it 6-1.
Gonzaga got a goal back in the 35th minute following a corner kick. Tori Lee took the corner and Kellyn Nelson shot but Tostanoski stopped the ball. Cricket Harber took the rebound and found the back of the net.
Karley Baggerly scored a goal in the 47th minute to make the score 6-3. Neither team would score again and the Broncos wrapped up the victory and a share of the WCC title.