SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University men's soccer team goes after its 12th West Coast Conference championship this weekend, and its second in three years, when they travel south to take on Loyola Marymount University and the University of San Diego.
Separated by just two points entering the final weekend of play, it will be either Santa Clara or San Diego winning the WCC trophy and earning the league's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
Santa Clara (10-6-1; 7-2-1 WCC) controls its own destiny, as does San Diego (10-7-0; 8-2-0 WCC). The two teams were picked one and two in the preseason WCC coaches poll and many had been predicting that the title would be decided on the season's final day, Sunday, Nov. 11 when SCU visits Torero Stadium at 2 p.m.
But first the Broncos must get a result at LMU Friday afternoon in Los Angeles. Loyola Marymount (5-10-3; 3-5-2 WCC) dropped four straight WCC games in mid-October, but more recently knocked off Portland and Gonzaga on the road last weekend. An SCU loss to LMU in the afternoon would give San Diego the chance to clinch the title with a win over St. Mary's later that night.
"Loyola Marymount is playing well right now," said Santa Clara head coach Cameron Rast on Tuesday. "Sometimes playing without the pressure of being in the (title) race can help you and they are finishing the season strong. We are not looking past LMU, we can't afford to."
While the Broncos must first deal with the Lions, San Diego will host third-place St. Mary's (9-3-5; 5-2-3 WCC) Friday night. The Gaels, although eliminated from championship contention, still has an outside chance of qualifying for NCAA tournament play as an at-large selection. To be considered, the Gaels most likely need to win both of their remaining games. SMC enters the weekend on a six-match unbeaten streak.
On a team loaded with players developed in the US National Team system, senior forward Erik Hurtado (pictured) continues to be Santa Clara's most dangerous scorer. Hurtado leads or is tied for the WCC lead in virtually EVERY OFFENSIVE CATEGORY ... shots (75), shots per game (4.41), points (33), points per game (1.94), goals (14), goals per game (0.82), assists (5), assists per game (0.29) and game-winning goals (5). Not only does he lead the WCC, Hurtado ranks among the NCAA's top 7 in those categories as well.
As impressive as Hurtado has been offensively, the Broncos are playing excellent defense as of late. The back line of junior co-captain Mark Daus, Phillip Muscarella, Wes Culver and freshman Matt Escobar helped senior keeper Larry Jackson post shutouts against Bay Area rivals St. Mary's and USF last week. On Halloween night against SMC, Jackson kept the Gaels off the scoreboard for the entire 110:00 minutes and two overtimes. Then, Friday night at USF, Jackson had three saves in SCU's improbable victory - when Muscarella scored with 1:45 left, down a man. In WCC play Jackson is now 7-2-1 with 5 shutouts.
LMU will be offering live audio and live stats Friday afternoon. Sunday's game at San Diego will be streamed live (video only/no audio) on USDToreros.com. Fans can follow the action at USD via these links Gametracker and live video.
2012 WCC STANDINGS (Nov. 7)
Team WCC (PTS) Overall
San Diego 8-2-0 (24) 10-7-0
Santa Clara 7-2-1 (22) 10-6-1
Saint Mary's 5-2-3 (18) 9-3-5
Portland 5-5-0 (15) 7-9-1
San Francisco 3-5-2 (11) 5-7-4
Loyola Marymount 3-5-2 (11) 5-10-3
Gonzaga 0-10-0 (0) 4-13-0
Wednesday, November 7
* Portland @ Gonzaga, 2:00 p.m.
Friday, November 9
* Santa Clara @ Loyola Marymount, 2:00 p.m.
* Gonzaga @ San Francisco, 7:00 p.m.
* Saint Mary's @ San Diego, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 11
* Portland @ San Francisco, 12:00 p.m.
* Saint Mary's @ Loyola Marymount, 12:00 p.m.
* Santa Clara @ San Diego, 2:00 p.m.
SCU HEAD COACH CAMERON RAST
* 123-64-39 career record
* 63-20-23 at Buck Shaw Stadium
* No. 2 all-time in WCC wins (66)
* Four-time WCC Coach of the Year
* Santa Clara Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee - 2006
* NCAA National Champion at SCU - 1989
* US Olympic Team Captain - 1992
* NCAA All-America Player – 1989 & 1990
SCU is 10-6-2 all-time on the road against LMU. Last season in Los Angeles, the Broncos lost in overtime 1-0. In Torero Stadium, the Broncos are 10-7-1 all-time. Last year it was USD winning 2-0 in San Diego.
BRONCOS BLANK LIONS ON SEPT. 31
The Santa Clara University men's soccer team extended its win streak to four, capping off the opening weekend of West Coast Conference play with a 1-0 victory over visiting Loyola Marymount. It marked the third consecutive shutout win for the Broncos, who blanked San Diego Friday night. Santa Clara (5-4-0; 2-0-0 WCC) – a program that has won 11 WCC titles – is off to an ideal start within league play following a grueling non-conference slate that resulted in a 1-4-0 start to the season back in early September. LMU (2-6-2; 0-1-1 WCC) was coming off a double-overtime draw with St. Mary's on Friday. The Lions, a team that went 5-6-1 in WCC play last season, will go after their first league victory next weekend in the Pacific Northwest.
SANTA CLARA DEFEATED USD AT BUCK SHAW ON SEPT. 29
In a matchup between the two teams projected to finish atop the West Coast Conference standings, Santa Clara's Erik Hurtado and homegrown product Carlos Montes each scored second-half goals to lead the Broncos to a hard-fought 2-0 victory over visiting San Diego. It was the WCC opener for both schools. Santa Clara (4-4; 1-0 WCC) has now won three-straight and seems to be finding its rhythm following its non-conference schedule, which was loaded with some of the nation's top teams. San Diego (2-6; 0-1 WCC) picked up a pair of early-season wins, including shutout victories over Ohio State and Houston Baptist, but has now lost four in a row. The Torero offense has produced just one goal since beating Houston Baptist on Sept. 9.
ERIK HURTADO SETTING RECORDS, NAMED TO NATIONAL TEAM OF WEEK (Oct. 29)
Following his first career hat trick, Santa Clara University senior forward Erik Hurtado was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's National Team of the Week. Hurtado's three-goal effort on 'Senior Day' at Buck Shaw Stadium allowed the Broncos a 3-1 victory over visiting Gonzaga. His 14 goals this season puts him at No. 4 all-time in Santa Clara's single-season history. He netted two exceptional goals in the first half Sunday against the Zags, then capped off the afternoon by converting a penalty kick in the closing moments. His unassisted effort in the 14th-minute moved him into No. 3 all-time at SCU in goals scored and his career total of 32 is the most by any Bronco player since 1979 when Scott Douglas finished his career with 40.
24TH WINNING SEASON IN 26 YEARS
The 2012 Broncos have assured the program of yet another winning season. Spanning the past 26 years, Santa Clara men's soccer has enjoyed 24 winning seasons.
KEIGO KAMEYA NAMED WCC'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Oct. 15)
Junior forward Keigo Kameya (Saratoga, Calif./Lynnbrook HS) was tabbed by the conference office as the WCC Player of the Week after scoring one of the most important goals of the season thus far for SCU and arguably the WCC. His game-winner against Portland in overtime came with the Broncos playing a man down on the road, moments after the Pilots had tied the game with 24 seconds left in regulation. Kameya's goal, placed inside the far post, set off an extended celebration for SCU, who took control of first place in the league standings with the 3-2 victory.
HURTADO TABBED AS WEST COAST PLAYER OF WEEK BY CSM (Oct. 15)
Having now won seven of eight overall and five of six to open league play, College Sports Madness recognized SCU senior Erik Hurtado (Beaverton, Ore./Westview HS) as it's West Coast Player of the Week. Hurtado has been terrific for the Broncos during the team's recent surge to the top of the league standings. He contributed to all four SCU goals during the team's trip to the Northwest.
SANTA CLARA FEATURED BY COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS (Oct. 12)
College Soccer News writer Barry Punzal breaks down SCU's run to the top of the WCC Standings. read more...
HURTADO NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE MONTH (Oct. 4)
Santa Clara senior Erik Hurtado is the WCC Men's Soccer Player of the Month for September. Hurtado led the Broncos to four consecutive wins to close out the month, including three consecutive game-winning goals. It marks the second straight year Hurtado has been named the league's September Player of the Month.
HURTADO FEATURED BY THE SANTA CLARA NEWSPAPER - MAKES HISTORY
When senior forward Erik Hurtado steps on the soccer field, his goal is quite simple. "I just go out and try to score as many goals and get as many assists as I can," said Hurtado, a preseason All-American. read more ...
HURTADO EARNS WCC & NATIONAL HONORS (Oct. 1)
Santa Clara preseason All-American Erik Hurtado was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career. Hurtado scored two goals as the Broncos opened up WCC play with a 2-0 win over San Diego and a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount the weekend of Sept. 28-30. The senior forward was picked for the National Team of the Week by CollegeSoccerNews on Oct. 1 as well. Hurtado was terrific for Santa Clara during the team's four-game win streak in late Sept., netting the game-winning goals in each of the last three contests of the month.
LARRY JACKSON GARNERS NATIONAL PRAISE (Oct. 1)
Santa Clara goalkeeper Larry Jackson helped the Broncos post three consecutive shutout victories in late Sept., and four-straight wins overall. On Oct. 1, CollegeSportsMadness.com named Jackson its West Coast Player of the Week. Jackson had eight saves in the first two WCC games of the 2012 campaign, keeping preseason league-favorite San Diego and LMU off the scoreboard en route to a pair of SCU wins. The senior from nearby East Palo Alto earned a 5-1-1 record in seven starts last season and was tabbed as an All-WCC Honorable Mention pick. This season Jackson is 6-4-0 and his three shutouts bring his career total to 9 in 31 starts.
RYAN MASCH NAMED WCC'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Sept. 17)
The West Coast Conference named Santa Clara University freshman forward Ryan Masch (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine Prep) its men's soccer Player of the Week for September 17, 2012. Masch scored both of the Broncos' goals in a 2-1 win at Stanford on Sunday. Both of Masch's goals at Stanford, the Broncos' lone match of the week, came in the first half. The first came in the fourth minute from the top of the box. He now has three goals this season. Masch is the younger brother of former SCU All-WCC player and student Eric Masch '12.
MASCH, JACKSON & HURTADO EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS
2012 John Rennie/Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team (Durham, N.C.)
NC State: Alex Martinez (MVP), Jon Ray, Gbenga Makinde, Fabian Otte
Santa Clara: Erik Hurtado, Larry Jackson, Ryan Masch
Duke: Sebastien Ibeagha, James Belshaw
Delaware: Mark Garrity, Ben Sampson
Three members of Santa Clara's No. 7-ranked recruiting class – all former U17 US National Team members - Ryan Masch, Max Ornstil and Jared Hegardt are already playing extended minutes for the Broncos. Masch netted the game-winning goal at Duke on Aug. 31 and scored twice against Stanford Sept. 16. Hegardt has been projected as the WCC Freshman of the Year. Additionally, SCU added freshman defender Matt Escobar to its roster in early Sept. and he started ever since. Escobar - a local product of nearby Bellarmine High School - had originally signed to play at the University of Portland.
FOLLOW SCU MEN'S SOCCER ON TWITTER @SCUBroncoSoccer
The Santa Clara men's soccer program offers a direct link to its fans and supporters via Twitter. Check out @SCUBroncoSoccer to access the very latest.
Santa Clara has eight returning final-year players: Erik Hurtado, Larry Jackson, Wes Culver, Murphy Campbell, Danny Maeda, Gabriel Romero, and Alex Fitschen. The first four players listed have each earned All-WCC honors during their SCU careers thus far.
SCU STOPS IN VERO BEACH FOR EARY-SEASON TRAINING
Santa Clara traveled to Florida's central coast Saturday, Aug. 25 through Wednesday, Aug. 29, spending the majority of the week training at the historic Vero Beach Sports Village prior to the Broncos two games at Duke's John Rennie/Nike Invitational Tournament in Durham, N.C. "Anytime you can get on to a dedicated training facility that's dedicated to performance it's great," said Rast during the team's stay in Vero Beach. "All the guys are in little apartments, close to the field, which has a really nice, brand new Bermuda surface. As much as we love (Stanton Field), it's great to practice on grass. We are being treated like a professional program and that is exactly the way we want our guys to feel."
CHECK OUT THE 2012 MEN'S SOCCER VIRTUAL GUIDE
Featuring an updated and fresh design with new videos and game-day action photos and snapshots of behind-the-scenes Bronco fun, Santa Clara Athletics released a new 2012 Men's Soccer Virtual Guide. The virtual guides, exclusive to SantaClaraBroncos.com take place of the traditional paper media guides and feature a number of new pages on the Mission campus and Santa Clara Athletics.
HURTADO PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN/ALL-WCC
The reigning West Coast Conference points-leader, Santa Clara Bronco senior forward Erik Hurtado, was named a 2012 Preseason All-American by College Sports Madness and was honored as a preseason All-WCC player. Hurtado has enjoyed a terrific collegiate career thus far, having drawn praise from the NSCAA as a 2011 All Far-West Region selection. He led the WCC in 2011 with 19 points and 85 shots as a junior. Hurtado has twice been named an All-WCC First Team player, along with earning WCC Player of the Month honors and three times being selected as the WCC Player of the Week. He was tabbed as the National Player of the Week by College Soccer News during his sophomore season in which he helped SCU win the WCC Championship.
"When we put a schedule together it is important to make it demanding of great soccer from our team," said Cameron Rast, who has guided SCU to four WCC titles in his 10 years as head coach. "We have to push our group for them to reach their potential. To do this we look to play the top teams in the country. This year I think we have done just that." Scheduling top 20 teams is nothing new for Rast and the Broncos. SCU went 6-1-3 to begin the 2011 season, beating Stanford and 14th-ranked Cal, while drawing with No. 6 UCLA. The Broncos owned the WCC's best overall record (11-5-4) and upped their all-time mark at home to 59-16-20 since Rast was elevated to head coach in 2002.
MLS STAR RETURNS TO BUCK SHAW
Mehdi Ballouchy, former SCU All-American and No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, was recently acquired by the San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes play their home games at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium.
"I feel very comfortable here," Ballouchy upon his return to San Jose. "I actually came back during the offseason and worked out with the (SCU) team. Just being around Leavey, Santa Clara, and the coaches was fun, because I remember I was in their shoes not so long ago."
Ballouchy was a First Team NCAA All-American while playing at Santa Clara in 2004 and 2005. He helped the Broncos advance into the NCAA tournament in both years, achieving a national ranking as high as No. 4 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He was named the 2005 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and was taken No. 2 overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake. He became the highest overall pick ever from Santa Clara and the sixth Bronco to be selected in the first round.
BRONCO TEAMMATES TAKEN IN 2012 MLS DRAFT
Santa Clara University teammates Mykell Bates and Brandon Zimmerman were taken in the Major League Soccer 2012 Supplemental Draft. Toronto FC selected Bates with the fourth pick of the second round (No. 61 overall). Zimmerman went to the Philadelphia Union with the 13th pick of round four (No. 108 overall).
2011 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
* Santa Clara enjoys 23rd winning season in past 25 years
* Broncos post WCC's best regular season overall record (11-5-4)
* Team ranked No. 18 by College Soccer News (Oct. 4), also ranked nationally by NSCAA and TopDrawerSoccer.com
* 2011 NCAA Men's Division I NSCAA All-Far West Team: Erik Hurtado (Second Team), Mykell Bates (Third Team)
* Eight Broncos garner All-WCC honors; First Team: Mykell Bates, Brandon Zimmerman, Erik Hurtado. Freshman Team: Glenn Vass. Honorable Mention: Eric Masch, Connor Mitchell, Larry Jackson and Wesley Culver
* Seniors Eric Masch and Kevin Klasila named WCC All-Academic
* Broncos shutout nine opponents, allow league-low 18 goals
* SCU goes 7-2-3 at home
* Santa Clara wins five consecutive matches to close out the season
* Brandon Zimmerman named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's National Team of the Week (Oct. 2)
* Mykell Bates finishes the year No. 22-ranked pro prospect among seniors by TopDrawerSoccer.com
* Three Broncos named WCC Player of the Week: Kevin Klasila (Aug. 29); Erik Hurtado (Sept. 12 & 19); Eric Masch (Nov. 7)
* Erik Hurtado named WCC Player of the Month (September) – leads league in shots (85) and points (19)
* Cameron Rast moves into second all-time in WCC coaching wins (60-29-19)
* Santa Clara defeats Stanford (Aug. 27), ties then-No. 6 UCLA (Sept. 2) and tops then-No. 14 Cal (Sept. 16) – win in Berkeley is SCU's first since 1980
SANTA CLARA MEN'S SOCCER BY THE NUMBERS
* 54 Broncos advanced to play professional soccer
* 57 All-WCC First Team honorees
* 31 WCC Honor Roll selections
* 28 Played on the USA Youth National team
* 23 Winning seasons in 25 years
* 19 NCAA Tournament appearances
* 17 All-Americans
* 13 WCC Players of the Year
* 13 Teams ranked in the top 5 nationally
* 11 WCC Titles
* 8 15-plus win seasons
* 7 WCC 'Coach of the Year' Awards
* 7 Played on the USA Senior National team
* 6 Academic All-Americans
* 5 College Cup Final Fours
* 5 Far West Region Coaches of the Year
* 4 Teams ranked No. 1 nationally
* 3 WCC Freshmen of the Year
* 2 Players currently playing in the MLS
* 1 USA Olympian
* 1 National Championship
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