SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In it second-to-last weekend of home games in 2012, No. 19 Santa Clara women's soccer will host Gonzaga on Sun., Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. in its only game of the week. Last weekend the Broncos took down LMU at home 1-0 and fell to No. 17 Pepperdine on the road by a final of 2-1. Santa Clara's overall record is 8-3-4 and 1-1-1 in WCC play.
Santa Clara's 10-game unbeaten streak (6-0-4) was snapped with the loss to Pepperdine. During that period Santa Clara took down Washington State, Fresno State and Boston University while tying No. 15 San Diego State, No. 23 Georgetown and No. 6 BYU on the road.
Despite the loss, Bronco head coach Jerry Smith saw several positives from his team. "We tend to look at a game from several different angles and one of them I just performance," said Smith. "If we look at just our performance and look at 10 different categories, I would say we played very well in nine of the 10. Of course, they outplayed us in the most important category, which is winning the game. We're disappointed in the loss for sure, but there were so many aspects of the game that we were happy with. At the end of the season it's more nerve-wracking for coaches going into the NCAA tournament if their team is getting outplayed and that's not something we need to worry about. There are, however, two or three moments in a game that are the critical moments and we need to improve in those areas. Our team is feeling very confident right now and we're looking forward to our final five matches of conference play."
One factor that will play a key role for the Broncos this week is the fact they only have one game. Gonzaga will play Friday at No. 5 BYU and then travel to the Mission campus before playing on Sunday. The ability to rest players, both mentally and physically, is something that will be a huge benefit.
"Particularly for us, it's important to have weeks where we can recover our bodies a little bit," said Smith. "We have a lot of players that are logging a lot of minutes. Yesterday in training we had two different groups. One group had a regular, hard training session while the other had more of a recovery training session. We'll continue to feel out way through both those groups this week and give the players who have logged a lot of minutes some rest when we can. Having one game is a healthy thing for a team, both mentally and physically, especially at the end of the season and we'll enjoy that opportunity this week. Hopefully we'll be a little fresher on Sunday and at the end of the regular season."
In 2011 Santa Clara traveled to Spokane, Wash. and beat Gonzaga 4-1. Meleana Shim, Bridgett Miller, Cate Parchinski and Allie Vernon each had one goal while Sarah Jackson had the only Bronco assist on the goal by Parchinski.
The Broncos are blowing away the competition in shots attempted 245-173 but have had trouble getting shots on goal. Despite the issues getting shots on goal, Santa Clara has outscored its opponents 23-17 and has collected 76 corner kicks while allowing just 60.
Sofia Huerta, Julie Johnston and Lauren Matheson are tied for the team lead with four goals scored while Johnston and Sarah Jackson lead the team with three assists. Olivia Klei has added three goals and Jackson and freshman Dani Weatherholt have scored twice each. Paige Robertson, Brooke Rice, Katie Speidel and Meleana Shim have all scored one goal. Freshman Andi Tostanoski has started 13 games in goal and made 54 saves with five shutouts. Lexi Rubattino has started two games and appeared in three while making 12 saves and allowing a 0.80 GAA with one shutout.
Gonzaga enters the weekend with a record of 6-7-1 overall and 0-2-1 in conference. The only ranked team the Bulldogs have played was No. 21 Oregon State on Sept. 14 and the Beavers came away with a 2-0 win at home. Of note, Gonzaga went to Vanderbilt and came away with a 1-0 win. Last weekend the Zags tied Portland 1-1 at home and fell at USF 2-0.
The Bulldogs have outshot opponents 192-166 and 87-77 in shots on goal but are being outscored 21-18 on the season. They have also been a very physical team, collecting 156 fouls, four yellow cards and two red cards.
There is a three-way tie between Sila Tuiofea, Emma Dolcetti and Kasey Rubosky for the team-lead in goals with three apiece. Heather Johnson, Morgan Manchester, and Tori Lee each have a team-high three assists. Tuiofea leads the team with eight points while Dolcetti, Rubosky and Johnson have seven each. Susan Brown has played every minute in goal for the Zags and has picked up 54 saves to go with a .720 save percentage. She allows a 1.45 GAA while collecting three shutouts.