Penalty kick save propels Broncos to win
THE SANTA CLARA
September 24, 2015
Santa Clara women’s soccer picked up a huge 1-0 win versus sixth ranked Stanford last Sunday in front of a packed home crowd of over 3,000.
“Playing for a school like this with such great fans is huge,” junior goalie Andi Tostanoski said. “And when they’re all here, it’s like I know we can do this; let’s win this.”
The stands were rowdy as the Ruff Riders club showed up in full force, giving the Broncos a true home-field advantage against one of the top teams in the country.
Despite the energy in the stadium, the game started off slow with Stanford keeping possession for most of the first half.
“Today I felt we were very disciplined on defense,” head coach Jerry Smith said of his squad after the game. “If they’re good enough to beat us then fine, but let’s not beat ourselves.”
Even though the Cardinal were seemingly playing to their style, the Broncos didn’t allow a single shot on goal in the first half.
“We tried to force them outside and we knew we’d give up some corner kicks,” Smith said. “But to get more shots, and more shots on goal than they did was a pretty big indication of us being the more dangerous team on the day, and that’s saying a lot when you’re talking about Stanford.”
In the second half, both teams continued the intensity as they each held high presses on defense.
As a result, fatigue began setting in for the players as the game wore on, both defenses refusing to give up any easy pass.
In the seventy-fifth minute, however, an “I believe that we will win” chant sounded from the student section, clearly giving the players energy for a late push and a go-ahead goal.
“It looked like our energy was a little low and the student section pumped up their cheering, sensing that the girls needed a little help, and you could see the girls being lifted by it,” Smith said.
The breakthrough would come just a few minutes later, but not for the Broncos.
Santa Clara left back, Anjel Brown, seemed to pull a muscle leaving her flank vulnerable. The Cardinal took advantage by attacking the box from Brown’s side, forcing other defenders to come over and help. A heel click in the box on that attack would award Stanford with a golden opportunity to take the lead off a penalty kick.
The crowd became quiet as Stanford’s Haley Rosen lined up for the attempt.
Seconds before the kick, Santa Clara goalie Andi Tostanoski began to shade to her left, favoring that side of the goal.
“I knew she was going to the other side,” Tostanoski said. “She kept looking at my left side and thought there was no way she was going there.”
Right as Rosen kicked the ball Tostanoski dove across the goal to her right, punching away the go-ahead goal from entering the bottom right of the net.
The crowd erupted in support of the Broncos .
“I thought, this is it,” Tostanoski said of her game saving deflection. “It is meant to be, our team has worked so hard since we’ve been here and we deserve this more than anything else.”
After the Santa Clara defense fended off the Stanford attack immediately following the missed penalty, the Broncos wasted no time in producing their own counter-attack and were awarded a corner kick in the 85th minute.
Senior Megan Crosson lined up to take the kick and whipped in an on target cross.
“We call that a shot cross,” Smith said. “It’s a ball that’s bending and it’s supposed to be on goal and if it just misses then it’s a cross and we hope someone puts it in, but if it’s on goal it challenges the keeper.”
The ball deflected off the foot of forward Dani Weatherholt in the box and slipped by the surprised goalkeeper before hitting the back of the net, giving Santa Clara the lead and the eventual winning goal.
“It didn’t feel real,” Crosson said. “The first thing I thought about was the whole process leading up to the game today and Jerry’s game plan. My only thing was to go out, make a difference and do my job.”
“Little things make a big difference and a big assist goes to the students of Santa Clara University tonight,” Smith said. “Without them being here and without the atmosphere that they created tonight, I don’t know if we would have won this game.”
With the win, Santa Clara improves to 6-3 on the season as Stanford falls to 6-2.
On another note, Andi Tostanoski was named West Coast Conference Player of the Week after recording six total saves in the Broncos’ two games versus Cal State Northridge and Stanford last week.
“A huge thing for us is to take it game by game,” Tostanoski said. “We’ve gotten a little better every day but now we need to go back out there and improve, and once tournament time comes around we’ll be ready to go.”
Next, twenty-third rankedSanta Clara travels to UC Irvine this Friday to finish off their non-conference schedule. Kickoff is set for 7 PM.
Contact Nick Redfield at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.