SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Heading across the country for the second round of the NCAA Tournament, No. 9 Santa Clara women's soccer will face No. 25 Boston University at 11 a.m. Pacific on Fri., Nov. 22 in Blacksburg, Va. on the campus of Virginia Tech. The Broncos took down Cal 2-1 in the first round on Nov. 16 to advance.
"This is going to be a classic matchup of great offense vs. great defense," said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith. "We have a great deal of respect for their ability to be organized and hard working defensively. We won't get a lot of open looks at the goal so our attacking players will be asked to find small cracks in the defense. Our challenge will be to not fall asleep defensively while we are trying to crack a very good defense."
In the first round, Santa Clara stepped up against a very physical Cal team and showed the toughness Smith wanted to see.
"The challenge in playing Cal is that they're very physical and very athletic," said Smith. "You have to beat them with tactics and skill but also you will have to be physical at some point. I saw an edge in our team in the second half particularly that I was very happy with. After they scored their goal, I thought we really brought our game to another level. I also thought we were the more physical team in the second half, which I was very pleased with."
The NCAA Tournament puts the best teams against each other so often times small details are the difference in the games. The Broncos will be focusing on dead balls after scoring a goal off a dead ball vs. Cal but also surrendering a goal off a corner kick.
"Dead balls are always very important in the NCAA Tournament," said Smith. "We should get some dead ball opportunities this weekend so we need to be more dynamic on those chances. We also need to focus on defending dead balls. We have to tighten up on our defensive dead balls. In NCAA Tournament games, it's often a dead ball that makes the difference so that's what we'll be focusing on this week."
Santa Clara has outscored opponents 59-23 and outshot teams 369-224 including 192-11 in shots on goal. The Broncos have outscored teams 34-11 in the first half and 24-11 in the second half. Santa Clara's 2.95 goals per game is second in the country behind Virginia.
Sofia Huerta leads Santa Clara with 35 points and is tied for the team-lead with 14 goals. She scored the game-winner in the Broncos first round matchup with Cal. Huerta also is second on the team with seven assists. Morgan Marlborough is tied with Huerta with 14 goals and has added five assists for 33 points, second on the team. Julie Johnston leads the Broncos with eight assists and is third with 12 goals and 32 points. Freshman Jordan Jesolva has added five goals and two assists while Sarah Jackson and Alyson Birgel are tied with three goals each. Birgel scored the first goal vs. Cal in the first round game. Andi Tostanoski has a 1.20 GAA and 89 saves. She has a .802 save percentage and has picked up 6.3 shutouts.
Boston enters the second round with an overall record of 15-3-4 and went 9-0-2 in the Patriot League. The Terriers outscored opponents 27-7 while outshooting teams 307-134 and 123-56 in shots on goal. Boston's .305 GAA is tops in the country.
Erica Kosienski leads Boston with eight goals and 17 points. She has scored seven game-winners to also lead the team. Madison Clemens has six goals and one assist for 13 points while Megan McGoldrick had scored three times and added three assists. Jenna Fisher and Kylie Strom are tied with McGoldrick for the team-lead with three assists while scoring two and one goal respectively. Andrea Green has allowed just five goals in 21 games in net. She has a 0.25 GAA with 40 saves. Green has a .889 save percentage and 12 shutouts.