Broncos all but clinch tournament bid on Senior Day
THE SANTA CLARA
November 3, 2016
Santa Clara women’s soccer essentially guaranteed their place in the NCAA tournament with a dramatic 1-0 win at Stevens Stadium over the University of Portland on Sunday afternoon, their third straight victory. Freshman Maddie Gonzalez found the back of the net in the 82nd minute on a chance created by senior Jordan Jesolva on Senior Day.
The win against Portland followed up a 2-0 victory against Gonzaga on Friday night. Winning both games on the weekend clinched an above .500 record for the Broncos, one of the three criteria for the NCAA tournament selection process. The other two are having a high RPI and performing well against the top 40 teams in the nation.
“We are absolutely confident that this win puts us into the NCAA tournament,” said Head Coach Jerry Smith.
The Broncos played the strongest schedule in the country, and have three wins and three ties against the top 40. This has contributed to their solid RPI, currently ranked at 34.
“The best present we can give our seniors is a guarantee that they will finish their careers in the NCAA tournament,” said Coach Smith.
The Broncos did just that, dominating possession and outshooting the Pilots 14 shots to one.
One Bronco creating havoc on the Portland back line all day was Jesolva. She was involved in many of Santa Clara’s chances, including having a shot ring off the crossbar. When Gonzalez was able to score late in the game, it came off of a pass from Jesolva.
The match was essentially a must-win for the Broncos postseason hopes, and was also Jesolva and the other seniors last game at Stevens Stadium (barring an NCAA tournament game at home, highly unlikely given their RPI).
“I was a little nervous at first, ” Jesolva said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I love this field and it was great to get a win on it.”
The Broncos will have their last regular season game of the year when they travel to the University of San Francisco on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.
Contact Bo Kendall at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.