Broncos take two games to increase winning streak
THE SANTA CLARA
November 14, 2013
Two conference games separate the men’s soccer team from the West Coast Conference title and accompanying NCAA Tournament bid.
The victories this past weekend helped the Broncos get to this point in the season. The Broncos defeated Saint Mary’s College 1-0 at home and the University of San Francisco 2-1 on the road.
Santa Clara now boasts a 7-3-0 record in the conference and is in second place in the WCC behind Loyola Marymount University.
“In order to keep winning and be WCC champs, we must be mentally tuned in to the game and know our set pieces, which include long throws, corner kicks, wide free kicks, et cetera,” said senior forward Keigo Kameya. “When we get to the spots that we are supposed to go to, we will score plenty of goals.”
The squad is currently riding a four-game winning streak and gaining momentum with each victory.
Friday’s match against Saint Mary’s was relatively close. Santa Clara outshot its opponent 9-5 in the first half and both teams took five shots in the second half.
Sophomore Jared Hegardt’s goal in the 81st minute broke the deadlock. The sophomore scored off a free kick from freshman Cesar Rocha.
“It was a good goal for our team to score,” Hegardt said. “Cesar Rocha whipped in a really nice corner kick and all I had to do was head it in, but it was an essential goal for us because if we were to tie or lose against Saint Mary’s, we would not be in the position to win conference as we are now.”
The Broncos were able to hold on to the slim lead and come away with the victory.
On Sunday, the Broncos traveled up the peninsula to take on the Dons from the University of San Francisco.
The Dons scored a goal in the 12th minute, giving them an early lead over the Broncos.
Santa Clara responded quickly and tied the game after a goal from senior Michael Gates in the 16th minute.
Both squads went into halftime tied at 1-1. The Dons outshot the Broncos 7-5 in the first half.
In the second 45 minutes of play, Santa Clara took advantage of a San Francisco defensive mistake. Santa Clara was awarded a penalty kick in the 70th minute when a rival defender fouled senior Mark Daus in the Don’s box.
“I knew there was a lot of pressure riding on the penalty kick,” Daus said.
The senior remembered a game two years ago when defender Mykell Bates converted on a penalty shot against the Dons to keep the Broncos in contention to win the conference title.
“I wanted this group to feel the same, so I knew it was my turn as captain to step up and do the same as him to lift our team through the game,” Daus said. “It was a big step for us as a team to take the lead after going down early and battling back away from home.”
Daus struck the ball into the net past the opposing goalkeeper, giving the Broncos the 2-1 lead. Santa Clara held onto the lead and walked away with the road victory.
“Overall, I think the morale of our team after this weekend is pretty high,” said Hegardt.
“Overall, I think the morale of our team after this weekend is pretty high”
The Broncos wrap up conference play at home this Friday and Sunday. The team has an important match on Nov. 15 against the conference’s first place team from LMU. Santa Clara closes out its regular season schedule on Nov. 17 against the University of San Diego.
Sunday’s match will be Senior Day and the final opportunity for the Santa Clara seniors to play a regular season home game at Buck Shaw Stadium. The squad will honor a total of seven seniors on Sunday.
If the Broncos win the WCC title, they are guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament, which begins on Nov. 21.