Squad battles back to draw late in conference game
THE SANTA CLARA
October 16, 2014
Playing for 110 minutes in 90-degree weather is always a challenge, but the men’s soccer team overcame the heat while facing the University of San Francisco on Sunday in their last game before their conference season begins.
The team muscled a 1-1 tie after a close game at Buck Shaw Stadium. The tie puts the Broncos 4-4-3 going into their conference game this Friday against Gonzaga.
“I think we learned a lot today,” said Santa Clara Head Coach Cameron Rast. “(Our non-conference games were) all so close, what we need to learn is how to win those games and we’re very close to that.”
The Broncos started slow, giving up a goal to USF in the 38th minute of the game.
But Santa Clara came back strong. While the second half was back-and-forth in terms of offensive strikes, Santa Clara made it count toward the end with a goal by sophomore defender Matt Steurer off an assist from freshman Carlos Delgadillo.
By the end of the half, the sweltering heat and the Broncos’ diligent offensive pressure was getting to USF’s defense. Delgadillo crossed the ball to Steurer, who was waiting 10 yards in the box. Steurer sent the ball sailing into the left corner of USF’s net, earning his first goal of the season and keeping the Broncos in the game to push into overtime.
Overtime took a good turn in the 99th minute when the Broncos gained a free kick opportunity just outside USF’s box. Senior Glenn Vass took the shot but San Francisco blocked it, keeping the game tied.
USF turned around in the 100th minute when a USF forward had a breakaway and passed the ball off to a teammate near Santa Clara’s goal.
The Bronco defense stepped up when it counted and cleared the ball before USF could even shoot.
The second overtime period seemed to favor USF, who had two scoring opportunities but they proved to be fruitless. In the last few minutes of second overtime, Delgadillo took one last shot at goal from just outside the box after a quick breakaway. USF blocked the shot as time ran out on the clock, ending the game at a 1-1 tie.
Sunday’s game was a tight match, like most of Santa Clara’s games this season.
“We started (the season) with the right mentality but we’ve been struggling these past few weeks,” said Delgadillo. “We were off to a good 4-1 start, but overtime ties and losses caught up to us.”
Steurer agreed the team has work to do.
“We’ve been defending really well but we haven’t been scoring a lot of goals,” he said. “(Sunday), we moved the ball pretty well. We were organized and put in a lot of work. We put in a lot of effort through the whole game.”
Rast concurred that the team’s solid effort on Sunday is indicative of a good season for Santa Clara.
“For our guys to push through a long, overtime match on a hot day against a good opponent is a good testament to their mental strength,” said Rast. “We had to use a lot of guys to get through it and in the big picture its great to see some of these young guys step up and really play well and learn what its going to take to compete in the (West Coast Conference).”
The team’s newer players have already had an impact on the team’s season. Santa Clara has five international students and welcomed seven freshmen to the team this year.
Delgadillo’s assist on Santa Clara’s lone goal on Sunday illustrates his value to the team.
“(Delgadillo) is very good at holding the ball and is very crafty in and around the box,” said Rast. “He got a dangerous free kick late in (Sunday’s) game because he’s very skillful on the ball in tight space. He has a great knack for scoring goals and I think he has a lot in store for us this season.”
Delgadillo knows that he will still need to make a splash, even though he’s an underclassman.
“Being a freshman, I knew people had expectations for me and I had to make an impact,” said Delgadillo. “I knew that I would come in and try to make a difference so that’s what I’ve been working on.”
Rast continued to emphasize the impact the team’s newcomers will have.
“We’ve had lots of the younger guys really contribute to our team,” said Rast. “They’ve been a big part of our growth so far and I think will be a big part of our success as we finish up the season.”
As the team opens up their WCC season this Friday versus Gonzaga, they are keeping their focus not only on conference games, but also on their ambitious post-season goals.
“If we can get some momentum, play well in and win the conference, then I think we’re going to be progressing the way we need to into an NCAA tournament that would allow us to compete for a national championship,” Rast said.
Contact Sydney Sanchez at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.