No. 4 Broncos Enter Key Stretch

No. 4 Broncos Enter Key Stretch

Oct. 25, 2005

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara has played men's soccer at Saint Mary's College 10 times in the last 18 years. In just three of those matches has the final score been decided by more than one goal.

The fourth-ranked Broncos expect another tough battle Friday when they travel to Moraga to face the Gaels in a 2 p.m. kickoff in Saint Mary's Stadium.

Santa Clara enters the match with an 11-3-1 record and a 5-1-1 mark in the West Coast Conference after taking a draw and a victory in two matches against San Francisco last week. The Broncos currently reside at the top of the league table with a four point difference over the second-place Gaels. SCU is six points clear of third-place Loyola Marymount.

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"Even though we control our own destiny, I know it won't be easy for us to close out the league season at the top," said SCU head coach Cameron Rast. "Even though we have just five matches remaining, any one of six teams could legitimately have a chance to win the championship. It is critical that we play at top form from here on out."

The Broncos are unbeaten in their last four matches and have registered shutouts in five of their nine outings. SCU is ranked seventh nationally in shutout percentage and 11th in win-loss percentage.

In addition to leading the WCC defensively, Santa Clara is the league's top scoring team, registering 1.93 goals per game. Keeper Kevin Sweeney, the league's Player of the Week after holding USF scoreless last weekend, is among the nation's leaders and leads the WCC in goals against average. The San Jose, Calif. native has allowed just five goals in his 10 appearances this season.

Junior forward Keith DeVey continues to lead the team in scoring, but is being pushed by seniors Kelechi Igwe and Hector Guzman. DeVey, a native of Kula, Hawai'i, has socred six times this season to go with three assists. Igwe is the team's leader with seven assists, which doubled his career total heading into the season. Guzman has scored five goals in his last nine outing, all in a starting role.

A total of 12 different Broncos have scored at least one goal this season in helping the squad to its best start since 1999. That season, the Broncos finished second in the WCC, but advanced to the NCAA title game where they lost 1-0 to Indiana.

Saint Mary's enters Friday's match with a 7-6-0 overall record and a 4-3-0 mark and third-place standing in the WCC. The Gaels are 4-4 in their last eight outings and are 4-2 at home this season. SMC leads the WCC in saves and assists per game.

Freshman forward Michael Clegg leads the league in goals with 10 in his 13 outings. Fellow freshman teammate Carlos Diaz leads the WCC with 10 assists.

Historically, the Broncos and Gaels have met 35 times since the first match between the two teams in 1968. Santa Clara owns an overwhelming 31-2-2 series record and has won seven-straight.

Following this week's match at Saint Mary's, Santa Clara returns home on Nov. 4 for a 7 p.m. kickoff against the University of San Diego at Buck Shaw Stadium. For tickets, click here or call 408/554-4660. Team and group packages are also available.