Santa Clara evens conference record with free kick
THE SANTA CLARA
October 23, 2014
Emotions ran high Sunday afternoon when the men’s soccer team took on the University of Portland Pilots. With both teams looking for their first conference win of the season, neither was in the mood to leave Buck Shaw Stadium with a loss.
Santa Clara got on the board first when they were awarded a free kick 30 yards out in the 18th minute. Junior Ryan Masch whipped the ball into the box where it was met by the head of Carlos Delgadillo before ending up in the back of the net.
Portland, frustrated by the goal, responded by playing with more aggression. The Pilots received three yellow cards among the 12 fouls committed by both teams in the time period between the first goal and halftime.
“It’s just how the game goes,” said sophomore defender Alex Ligeti. “We have to notice (that the referee’s) calling those (fouls) and just (have to) be careful of what we’re doing to prevent the cards.”
Santa Clara’s Jared Hegardt also received a yellow card in the 36th minute. However, the Broncos didn’t feel the full effect of this until later in the match.
Santa Clara remained in control for the whole first half and, as a result, certainly had momentum going in halftime with a 1-0 lead.
“We talked about the need to put pressure on the ball at the right moment,” said sophomore defender Parker Holland. “We kept them away from any big chances so we did a good job.”
The biggest turning point in the game came around the 60th minute. Midfielder Edson Cardona received a leading pass on a fastbreak to give him an easy one-on-one chance with the Portland keeper. However, Cardona was unable to finish, shooting the ball wide.
The Broncos were caught off guard when Portland immediately pushed the ball the other way after the subsequent goal kick. Only seconds after the missed chance, Hegardt mistimed his second tackle of the match and was sent off with a red card.
Stunned at the turn of events, Santa Clara instantly sat back defensively to prevent a game-tying goal.
“You could feel the ref wasn’t stable with his decisions and we didn’t deal with it very well,” said Holland. “But that’s how it is on a day like this when the weather is hot and other factors are playing a role.”
One man up, the Pilots’ strategy suddenly turned offensive. After fending off three shots and four corner kicks in just over 20 minutes of play, the Santa Clara defense was playing on their heels.
Portland’s persistence finally paid off in the 86th minute when an attacker was tripped in the box and the Pilots were awarded a penalty kick.
The penalty was initially saved by Bronco keeper Kendall McIntosh, but the junior couldn’t fend off the second shot attempt, letting the rebound find the back of the net.
The home crowd was left in silence and the Broncos were a few minutes away from tying their second conference game of the season and falling to the bottom of the West Coast Conference table.
Just when the game seemed destined to be deadlocked, the Broncos were awarded a free kick 25 yards out in the 88th minute.
Masch elected to take the kick.
“I just wanted to keep it on frame and make sure we had an opportunity to get it in if it didn’t go in by itself,” he said.
The shot nailed the top right corner of the goal, securing the go-ahead goal in the waning minutes of the match.
“I was just relieved,” Masch said. “The guys put in so much work when we went man down and I was just happy that we had a chance to win it.”
The Broncos held on to win the game 2-1.
Since returning from injury, Masch has proven to be a spark for Santa Clara’s offense in the four games he has played this season.
With the win, Santa Clara is 1-1 in WCC play. The Broncos lost their first conference game last Friday to Gonzaga University 2-1 despite outshooting their opponents 11-7 in the game.
“We’ve played good games but sometimes we’ve just been unlucky,” said Holland.
Santa Clara will look to use the win on Sunday as a boost for its next match against No. 23 University of Maryland (7-5-2) on Saturday.
The Broncos’ next conference game is on Oct. 31 when they will travel to take on the Tigers from the University of the Pacific.
Contact Nick Redfield at nredfield@scu. edu.