Eliminated from WCC title, Broncos eye NCAA Tournament
THE SANTA CLARA
October 29, 2015
This weekend, Santa Clara women’s soccer team played a pair of must win games for conference title hopes, but were only able to win one as they tied Saint Mary’s College.
On Friday, October 30, the SMC Gaels (7-7-4) tied the Broncos (11-5-2), 0-0 in an early afternoon match. Prior to Friday’s match, the Broncos record versus the Gaels was a dominant 31-3-4 dating back to 1981.
The Broncos dominated offensive opportunities throughout the game but were unsuccessful in capitalizing. As a team, the Broncos had 23 shots, eight of which were on goal, while limiting the Gaels to 12 shots (six of which were on goal).
The Broncos had a promising offensive opportunity in the 34th minute when Jordan Jesolva gathered possession of a through ball in the box. Jesolva gained the ball around the six-yard mark and shot, but it deflected wide.
During the second half, the Broncos had their best opportunity in the 79th minute off a corner kick. Three Broncos touched the ball, with Kellie Peay placing a header on target. McDonald, however, was there for the save.
The Broncos keeper Andi Tostanoski stifled a promising chance for the Gaels in the 83rd minute. Saint Mary’s Mary Fraser was able to get behind the Broncos’ defense, inside the six-yard box, but her shot was saved by a diving Tostanoski.
In the final minutes of regulation McDonald had back to back spectacular saves for the Gaels, robbing the Broncos of a win. The first came in the 87th minute when Vass took a shot from the left of the box to the far post. However, McDonald was able to get her fingertips on it and divert it wide. The second save came a minute later when Jenna Holtz took a shot for the Broncos, which a leaping McDonald saved. The game remained tied 0-0 at the end of regulation.
Despite more opportunities in the overtime period, the Broncos were unable to net a game winner. After 110 minutes of play the game remained scoreless, resulting in a 0-0 tie. Despite the outcome, Vass was proud of the effort her team displayed.
“We have been in quite of a few over-time games this year, so we definitely felt ready for the challenge,” Vass said. “We created a lot of chances, but were unfortunately not able to finish them. The game reflected the passion and drive this team has when it comes to reaching our goals this season.”
The Broncos bounced back on Sunday when they toppled the struggling University of Pacific Tigers (3-11-1), 3-1.
“We are tough on the road,” Tostanowski said. “It doesn’t matter what team we are matched up with, we will be hard to beat and this gives us the confidence we need going in the last few weeks of the season.”
Santa Clara took the lead early in the fifth minute. Megan Crosson passed the ball to Janae Gonzalez inside the box, who took possession and a few touches before sending a shot to the near post, which managed to sneak by the Tigers keeper, gaining a 1-0 lead.
Pacific evened the score soon after, in the 11th minute, when the Broncos defense failed to clear a ball. The Tigers’ Alex Hussar stole the ball outside of the six-yard box, and passed it along to Cheyenne Somers for the equalizer, 1-1.
The Broncos were quick to retake the lead in the 14th minute. Gonzalez had the ball and found Galvin in the box who one-timed a pass to Vass. Vass ripped a shot towards the far post, which went in for a 2-1 Santa Clara lead.
Early in the second half, Vass got her second goal of the game. Jesolva placed the ball into the box, which was punched away by the Tigers keeper. The deflected ball landed at the feet of Vass, who put the ball into the back of the net for a 3-1 Broncos lead. Vass was thankful for her teammates setting up great opportunities.
“It was a great feeling, though I do need to credit my teammates for giving me great assists (Jordan, Mariana),” Vass said. “The last couple years I played deeper on the field, so it’s been nice to be able to contribute a few goals this year.”
The Broncos finish off their regular season on the road, Saturday, Nov. 7 at Gonzaga University at 1 p.m. Gonzaga (2-11-5) has struggled this season with a 1-6-1 record in WCC play this year.
“Although the conference title is out of our reach, we still want to secure a high finish within conference,” Tostanowski said.
Contact Brent Hanower at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.