SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After finishing its most successful nonconference season since its 2001 national championship season, Santa Clara women's soccer moved into the top-five in the United Soccer Coaches poll Tuesday.
The Broncos moved up to No. 4 in the nation from sixth after blowing out Cal Poly 5-1 Friday and going in the road to pick up a 2-0 win at UC Santa Barbara Sunday. The wins gave Santa Clara a six match unbeaten streak (5-0-1) and put its record at 9-1-1. In 2001, the Broncos finished nonconference play 10-1. The last time they were ranked this high, was when they reached No. 1 in 2007.
Santa Clara has scored the most goals in the WCC with 24 and allowed the third-fewest at 10 while playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Broncos have taken on three ranked teams (at No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 2 North Carolina, at No. 1 Stanford) while going 1-1-1 and five teams that received votes (Cal, North Texas, Kansas State, Notre Dame, TCU), going a perfect 5-0.
The Broncos also sit at No. 2 in the latest RPI and have a 1-1-1 record against the top-10 (No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 North Carolina, No. 7 Texas A&M) while also collecting a top-40 win over No. 29 TCU.
VIDEO | @SCUJerrySmith discusses the No. 4 #SCUBroncos strong nonconference season and looks ahead to Sunday's @WCCsports opener at @USFDonsWSoccer Sunday at 1 p.m. #StampedeTogether pic.twitter.com/BmyjnhL4mi— Santa Clara Women's Soccer (@SCUWomensSoccer) September 25, 2018
Maria Sanchez's eight assists is tied for third in the country and she is second on the team with four goals for a team-best 16 points. After her program record-tying four goal performance against Cal, she was named WCC Player of the Week on Aug. 27. Maddy Gonzalez leads the way with six goals and has two assists for 14 points while Kelsey Turnbow, the reigning WCC Freshman of the Year, has found the back of the net four times with an assist.
In net, Melissa Lowder has already surpassed her shutout total from 2017 with five. She has allowed eight goals for a 0.81 GAA and has 42 saves for a .840 save percentage. She was named the WCC Player of the Week Sept. 17 after making a season-high 13 saves at No. 1 Stanford.
West Coast Conference play begins Sunday at San Francisco at 1 p.m.
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