SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Bronco men's soccer team (5-7-0, 2-2-0 WCC) will play host to Gonzaga (7-2-3, 2-0-3) in the WCC Men's Soccer Game of the Week on Fri., Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. The Broncos will then host the Portland Pilots (7-6-0) on Sun., Oct. 20 at 2 p.m.
"We know it is going to be a tough weekend," said Bronco head coach Cameron Rast. "We know that we will need to be very organized in our defending position and we'll need to transition well and be sharp in the moments we need to. We are playing well right now so I'm feeling good about our chances."
The Broncos are 2-2-0 in WCC play coming off a key road victory at St. Mary's who had been thus far undefeated in conference. Bronco Harrison Hanley picked up a goal during regulation play and the assist to Edson Cardona for the game-winner in overtime.
"On Sunday, I think we found a new energy," continued Rast. "We just need to continue to work hard and push through the tough times and close results. We put St. Mary's under pressure right away and created chances. One of the things we talked about at practice was getting stronger as the game goes on, enjoy being in tight moments and revel in them, which we did on Sunday."
The Zags hold a record of 2-0-3 and conference and just took the first place position in the WCC after their mid-week victory vs. Portland on Oct. 16. The Bulldogs came out on top with a goal by freshman Jakob Granlund in the 82nd min. Junior Clark Phillips leads Gonzaga in points with five goals.
"Gonzaga is not a much different team than they were last year," continued Rast. "I just think they have found their niche of what they can do well and they stick to it. They are willing to work hard and they've had some good results so it only strengthens their confidence of what they can do."
Coming into Sunday's match, the Pilots are 2-3-0 in conference play picking up a road win at USF and a 2-1 victory over San Diego. Freshman Eddie Sanchez leads Portland with 19 points with his eight goals and three assists.
"Portland has a very good attacking team," said Rast. "They have some good individuals and collectively they are very organized in their attack. I think for Sunday's game, whoever comes in sharper in key areas of the field could go away with the game."
Sunday's match will mark the half-way point of WCC play where the men will then have the opportunity to face each conference opponent one more time. The Broncos are on the rise and individuals have certainly stepped up to take a larger role.
"The big pieces for us are to know and understand that we have certain capabilities and to play to those strengths," said Rast. "I have been very happy with the way Harrison Hanley has been playing and I think the guys are figuring out their roles and that everybody can contribute."
2013 Season Review Thus Far
Santa Clara is pegged to win the West Coast Conference as voted by WCC head coaches in preseason polls and predicts senior Mark Daus and sophomore Ryan Masch to gain All-WCC team honors.
The Broncos started off slow as they fell in their first four matches against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, then-No. 19 University of Washington, Bay Area rival Stanford and then-No. 9 New Mexico making their record 0-4-0.
The Broncos claimed their first victory against Central Arkansas 2-0 with senior Keigo Kameya picking up his first goal of the season. The second goal was recorded as an own goal.
The Broncos kept the momentum going as they earned two more wins at San Jose State 1-0 with a late goal by sophomore James Huffer, and at UC Irvine 2-1 with a goal by freshman Edson Cardona and a late game-winner by senior Harrison Hanley.
The Broncos fell to then-No. 2 California in overtime to finish up their non-conference play. The Broncos held the top ranked team scoreless for 100 minutes despite the Bear's steady attack.
Senior Carlos Montes picked up the game-winning goal in the 94th min. at San Diego in the team's WCC opener. Montes is lethal in front of the net leads the Broncos in shots (20) and ties teammates Hanley and freshman Edson Cardona with two goals in the season.
In game two and three of WCC play, the Broncos fell 4-0 at LMU and 1-0 in overtime in a hard fought battle vs. USF.
The Broncos immediately bounced back in an exciting 2-1 overtime win at St. Mary's who had so far been undefeated in conference.
Live coverage of the game vs. Gonzaga can be watched on TheW t.v.