Broncos poised to be strong contender going into conference play
September 20, 2018
Santa Clara women’s soccer has been the crown jewel of Santa Clara athletics for the past 10 years. Currently third in Division One rankings, this year proves to be no different for the Broncos as they continue to exceed expectations and defeat higher-ranking opponents.
This year could be the Broncos’ best yet.
The 7-1-1 team was only brought down by No. 1 Texas A&M University 4-0 in an away game earlier this month. Since then, they have taken down big name opponents Texas Christian University (No. 9) and North Carolina University (No. 10), both top 10 contenders.
Santa Clara has worked its way up in the rankings from No. 19 to No. 3 in the nation since the beginning of August.
Despite the team’s many impressive wins, perhaps its biggest accomplishment thus far was its tie to previous No. 1 Stanford University on the road Sunday evening. The Broncos knocked Stanford down to No. 8 after this tie and are still in high spirits.
Head Coach Jerry Smith described the game against Stanford as a “rivalry game” in an interview with Santa Clara University.
“We’ll take a draw against the No. 1 team in the country on their home field, that’s for sure,” Smith said.
Tough defensive efforts by the Broncos have been winning them games throughout the season. Standout senior goalkeeper Melissa Lowder racked up a season-high 13 saves against Stanford on Sunday, only one save away from her career-high of 14. Following the game, she was named West Coast Conference player of the week.
Lowder commended her defensive teammates in an interview with Santa Clara University and explained that it’s a team effort to protect the goal.
“It’s a choice we have to make every game day,” Lowder said. “We have to be relentless in the back line.”
The WCC player of the week is one of the many key components to Santa Clara’s success this season. The Broncos have already played many of their toughest components but will continue to fight through conference play until the NCAA tournament in November.
Last year, Santa Clara lost 1-0 in the third round in a season ending game against the University of South Carolina. Judging by the season’s start, the Broncos will make it even further this year.
The season continues this Friday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. when the Broncos take on Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (0-5-3) at home.
Santa Clara will begin conference play Sunday, Sept. 30 at 1:00 p.m. against the University of San Francisco.
Contact Olivia DeGraca at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.