Action photos from the match! (Credit Denis Concordel)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Opening conference play, No. 14 Santa Clara women's soccer (8-1-4; 1-0 WCC) defeated rival Saint Mary's (9-3-2; 0-1 WCC) in overtime by a score of 2-1. Sofia Huerta, coming off a hat trick in the Broncos' last game on Oct. 2, scored both Santa Clara goals.
"Number one, this was a team [Saint Mary's] coming in that only had two losses. You get to this stage of the season and you only have two losses, you're a good team," said Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith. "Number two, conference play is a battle. Every conference game will be just like this. What I'm happy about is that we came from a goal down. This is the first time all year we've won after being a goal down. You want to experience everything before the NCAA Tournament. In our sport it's very difficult to come back from a goal down and it takes a tremendous amount of energy. It's nice to know that we played a very good team and came back from down a goal. That is something we can use for other big games."
The first half was very quiet with neither team having many scoring chances. The teams went to the locker room with the score tied 0-0.
Minutes into the second half Christina Tognetti of Saint Mary's tracked down a through ball from Caroline Kreuz and slotted it past Bronco goalkeeper Bianca Henninger to put the Gaels up 1-0.
In the 55th minute the Broncos drew even when Huerta took a ball near the top of the box and blasted it to the back of the net on a 23-yard strike. The goal was the fourth in a row for Huerta, dating back to the previous game.
With just over three minutes remaining in the first period of extra time, Huerta intercepted a pass from the keeper and scored her second goal of the day, giving Santa Clara the 2-1 victory. The goal made this the second consecutive multi-goal performance for Huerta. She now has five goals in her last two games.
Santa Clara returns to Buck Shaw on Thu., Oct. 13 against West Coast Conference newcomer Brigham Young at 7 p.m. The Broncos will then wrap-up their long home stand with a game against San Francisco on Sun., Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.