Two crushing losses put Santa Clara’s season in jeopardy
THE SANTA CLARA
October 20, 2016
“We can still salvage some good pieces of the season, it’s just really tough right now,” said Head Coach Cameron Rast after Santa Clara lost their second game of the weekend on Sunday night.
It is officially salvage-mode for the Broncos, as they fell to 0-3 in conference and 5-7 overall following a pair of 1-0 home losses to Gonzaga University and University of Portland over the weekend.
The loss to Portland was a heartbreaker, as the Pilots scored the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute, despite Santa Clara controlling much of the game at a rainy Stevens Stadium. The single tally came off a corner service to the back post, which pinballed around before finding the back of the net.
“We had everyone marked up, but then just got a little bit anxious,” said sophomore goalkeeper Dakota Havlick. “We panicked. I wouldn’t blame it very much on us, it was just very unlucky.”
The Broncos best chance of the match came when winger Yoshi Chaffin crossed the ball to freshman Miles Robinson, catching the Portland goalkeeper out of position. Robinson shot while the goalie was trying to get back on his line, only to have it stopped by a Pilot defender, who dropped back into goal to cover his keeper.
“We had good looks but just couldn’t put it away, and then we give up this cheesy little goal at the end,” said Coach Rast. “I don’t think we got outplayed by any means, but it is a matter of scoring goals.”
The main problem for this team is their inability to score goals. Santa Clara’s scored a measly seven goals through 12 games so far this season.
Only eight teams in all of Division I men’s soccer have scored fewer goals than the Broncos.
“We get our chances every game, we just have to put them in the net,” Havlick said. “We’re getting everywhere except the other side of the goal line, but we can’t put our heads down, we just have to keep working at it.”
The defense, on the other hand, has been solid. The team’s allowed 10 goals this season, boasting a 0.82 goals against average, good for best in the WCC. That defense was on display against Portland, allowing just four shots on goal the entire match.
“It was a tough loss but I think it was the best game we’ve played all year,” Havlick said. “Our defense had the best collective effort we’ve had all season.”
The Broncos offense managed some good moments despite not scoring. They put plenty of pressure on the Pilots’ goalkeeper, getting eight shots on goal. But the keeper held strong.
“I said it on Friday night, and unfortunately I have to repeat it again, it’s just a cruel game,” Rast said. “It’s cruel that we can get good looks and we can’t finish it off.”
Although this season hasn’t gone the way they imagined after winning the WCC title last year, Santa Clara still has time to string together a few conference wins to build some momentum for next season.
“In the end, it’s now about our character, our program, and who we are,” Rast said. “I asked them to continue to push and believe and continue to get better.”
Next up for the Broncos is a trip to the University of Pacific on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.
Contact Bo Kendall at email@example.com or call (408)-554-4852.