Santa Clara defends their turf with two vital conference wins
THE SANTA CLARA
October 13, 2016
After a dominating 3-0 victory on Friday, Oct. 7 against the University of Pacific, Alumni Weekend was almost spoiled in the closing seconds of the first half for the women’s soccer team.
Saint Mary’s forward Jordyn Cunningham gave the road team a 1-0 lead with only one second remaining on the clock before halftime.
The Broncos responded midway through the second half, after a deflected pass in the box landed at the feet of senior midfielder Julie Vass in the 77th minute, who made the most of the fortunate bounce.
Just two minutes later, team captain Kellie Peay capped off the Bronco comeback on an assist from senior Jordan Jesolva.
Starting goalkeeper Melissa Lowder held the Gaels scoreless the rest of the way to finish the 2-1 home win for Santa Clara.
The victory pushed the Broncos to 2-1- 1 conference record and 5-5-4 overall. A loss to a Saint Mary’s squad that fell to 0-3 in conference and 2-10-2 overall would have proved devastating, but looked very possible after Santa Clara fell behind in the 45th minute.
“It was just a lack of concentration,” Peay said. “You have to realize that a team can score in the last seconds,”
It was clear that Santa Clara did not play their best soccer in the first half, but seeing them fall behind on a defensive breakdown was not expected.
That left Head Coach Jerry Smith with a difficult scene in the locker room at halftime.
“It was initially very somber, everyone was asking ‘what just happened?’ and ‘why did we play so poorly?’” Coach Smith said. “As a coach and as players, there’s no sense looking back in that moment when you still have 45 minutes to play.”
With many scoring chances going just wide in the second half, it was only a matter of time until Vass netted the equalizer. Moments later Peay gave the Broncos the lead with a goal of her own.
“Jordan chipped the ball in, she’s awesome at that,” Peay said. “I got myself open, looked around, had no one on me with time to collect, and put it to the outside of the keeper.”
The game-winning goal sealed a solid weekend for a Santa Clara team trying to get back on track heading into the thick of their WCC schedule.
The strong performance came over Santa Clara’s Alumni Weekend, with one special women’s soccer alum in attendance for the critical homestand. World Cup Champion Brandi Chastain was there to support the Broncos from the sideline, as she does several times a year.
“(Chastain) understands how you feel as a student athlete because she went through the process and she knows Santa Clara,” Voss said. “She’s an amazing asset for our team.”
The Broncos have the weekend off before they travel to Los Angeles next weekend for a pair of tough matches. The Broncos will face Pepperdine University on Friday, Oct. 21 and Loyola Marymount University on Sunday, Oct. 23.
Contact Bo Kendall at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.