Broncos acquire another West Coast Conference win
THE SANTA CLARA
October 30, 2014
Sofia Huerta led Santa Clara to victory, scoring two of the team’s three goals and putting up six of its seven shots on goal.
“It was great to score in this last game, giving me confidence going into our last three home games,” said Huerta. “But both goals wouldn’t have happened without amazing assists from my teammates.”
The women’s soccer team dominated their final road game of the regular season last Sunday with a 3-1 win over the University of San Diego.
The Broncos have improved to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in the West Coast Conference.
“Our team’s mindset (going into the game) was the same as it always is -— to compete with toughness and determination and play for each other all game,” said freshman Kellie Peay.
Santa Clara controlled most of the game, outshooting San Diego 9-6 overall and 8-3 in shots on goal.
The Broncos took control of the game early in the first half. Newcomer defender Peay scored her first collegiate goal to give Santa Clara a 1-0 lead. Redshirt sophomore forward Brittany Ambrose took a shot at the goal which was deflected. Peay followed up on the rebound and shot the ball into the net.
“The ball came up short (off Ambrose’s shot) towards the keeper’s hands but it bounced off of her in a perfect spot for me to simply head the ball in,” said Peay.
Less than a minute later, Huerta put away her first goal of the match off an assist from senior midfielder Kat McAuliffe, putting the Broncos ahead 2-0.
“(That goal) came from an amazing outside of foot pass from (McAuliffe), where she cleared it into space,” Huerta said. “I then realized the goalie was off her line and I shot the ball from 25 yards out with two defenders on me and the ball went in.”
Santa Clara held on to the lead for the remainder of the first half and into the second.The Broncos added to their lead in the 77th minute when Huerta started pulling away from the San Diego defense on a breakaway. She took off down the left side of the field and got past the goalie for her second score of the game, bringing the score to 3-0.
San Diego briefly came back in the 79th minute with a goal that barely got past Santa Clara goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski, who picked up two saves in the net during the game.
Santa Clara fought off the Toreros for the remainder of the game to earn the 3-1 win.
Huerta’s huge impact on Santa Clara’s season so far gave the Broncos an opportunity to structure their offense around her.
“We spent time finding (Huerta’s) space around USD’s defense,” said Peay. “It took us the first half to understand the right place to play the ball, but once we did, we denominated that space.”
Huerta contributes much of the team’s win to their attitude before and during the game.
“We were able to focus on the game,” she said. “As it winds down to the end of the year, distractions arise such as NCAA qualifications and it’s easy to stray away from the moment. We were able to focus on the game, instead of focusing whether or not we’ll make the tournament.”
Sunday’s game also marked the last of Santa Clara’s regular season road games. The Broncos’ three remaining conference games will all take place at Buck Shaw Stadium.
“A home-field advantage just creates such a different positive atmosphere for the team,” said Peay. “To finish out our season at home is very humbling.”
Huerta also agreed that finishing out her last conference season at Santa Clara will be a great experience.
“It means a lot, considering I only have three collegiate games guaranteed and wouldn’t want to play on any other field than Buck Shaw,” said Huerta.
With the postseason on the horizon, the Broncos are still focused on their next game versus Gonzaga University.
“We are working our hardest to make sure that we continue to play past conference and although our main focus is taking on the Zags Friday, we are keeping in mind the possibility of the NCAA tournament and our desire to be a part of that,” said Peay.
The Broncos will face Gonzaga at Buck Shaw Stadium this Friday at 7 p.m.
Sydney Sanchez is a junior accounting major.