Sept. 1, 2006
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Santa Clara University women's soccer team was victorious Friday afternoon in their first game as the No. 1 team in the nation since 2003, posting the third straight shutout to begin the 2006 season with a 3-0 victory over the Harvard Crimson in South Bend, Ind. The Broncos got early goals from Meagan Snell and Brittany Klein before Elyse Shelger sealed the deal late in the second half.
The Broncos (3-0-0), No. 1 in the Soccer Buzz poll, will now look ahead to Sunday's clash with the No. 1 team in the Soccer Times poll, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The match is scheduled for an 11:30 a.m. start and will be televised live on ESPNU.
"I think overall it was a fairly solid performance from the team. We got a chance to play everyone, which is a positive," said head coach Jerry Smith. "When you have two tough games on the weekend, it is good to get a good win where you're able to rest your starters in preparation for the second game. Today was an example of a good team effort, and so far this season we've had five different players score goals, and I think that the veterans are clearly looking for opportunities to step up after our newcomers had such a great weekend last week."
With the raucous SCU volleyball team, 3-0 victors over Valparaiso earlier in the day, in the stands sporting painted faces and wielding supportive signs, their women's soccer counterparts wasted no time jumping all over the Crimson (0-1-0), pressuring the opposing back line until hitting paydirt at the 09:04 mark. Katherine Reynolds penetrated the left flank of the Harvard defense and sent a cross into the box which found Snell, who flicked the header into the back of the net for her first goal of the season. For Reynolds it was her first collegiate assist.
"We went and watched the volleyball team this morning, and it was nice of them to return the favor this afternoon," Smith said of the volleyball team's support. "It's nice to have another team on the road so that we can lend support to each other for the matches."
SCU kept up the pressure, earning a pair of corners in the next four minutes before Reynolds recorded a couple of shots, one of which was on frame, forcing Crimson keeper Lauren Mann to make the save.
The persistence paid off in the 20th minute, as Kiki Bosio collected a Harvard turnover and found Klein, who netted her first of the year with a shot from 10 yards out on the left side which got by Mann for SCU's second score of the day.
After continuing to apply pressure and having a couple of shots blocked in the box in the second half, the Broncos finally punched through once more in the 73rd minute as Shelger made a nice turn through the Harvard defense and deposited a 14-yarder into the net for her first goal of the season.
Senior goalkeeper Julie Ryder saw her first action of the season, entering the game at the start of the second half. The DeKalb, Ill. native, playing in front of her family and friends, combined with Meagan McCray to preserve the team's third shutout to start the season, marking the first time since the 2001 national championship season that such a feat had been achieved.
The Broncos outshot the Crimson 10-4 in the match and earned six corner kicks to Harvard's two.
Following Sunday's match with Notre Dame, the Broncos will travel to Los Angeles next weekend for a pair of matches against No. 15 Connecticut on Friday, and No. 4 Texas A&M Sunday morning.