Women’s Soccer Heating Up Before League Play
Broncos, winners of four straight, get set for WCC action
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 11:09
Bronco goalie Andi Tostanoski made six saves over the weekend during two shutout victories for the Santa Clara women’s soccer team.
They beat California State University, Northridge in overtime Friday night, then shutout Pac-12 opponent Washington State 3-0 on Sunday.
The team’s record improved to 6-2-3. They are currently ranked number 25 in the NCAA Coach’s Poll and are number 14 in the RPI, a rating system that heavily factors in strength of schedule.
Julie Johnston, who recently returned from representing the U.S. National Team at the U-20 Women’s World Cup, has already made a huge impact on the team. The Broncos have gone 3-0-1 since her return, and both of her goals this weekend ended up being the difference in the game.
“It’s great having her back,” said forward Sarah Jackson. “Julie is a player who has that natural fire to her. She adds energy and lifts everybody up. She has a great attacking mentality and it really helps everyone around her.”
On Friday night, CSUN and Santa Clara battled to a scoreless draw at the end of regular time, despite the Broncos outshooting the Matadors 22-9.
“We had a lot of attack, especially in the second half,” said Jackson. “We were getting a bunch of crosses in, it was just that the quality of our crosses wasn’t right and our finishing wasn’t good.”
Several Bronco shots eluded the goal, passing just over the crossbar.
The deciding goal finally came when Johnston scored in the 98th minute with a shot that went over the outstretched arm of the Matador goalkeeper. It was the second loss for CSUN, who fell to 3-2-3 on the year.
On paper, the second opponent figured to give the Broncos a tougher test. The Washington State Cougars came into the game 6-1-1. Their sole loss was against last year’s national runner-up, Duke University, currently ranked fourth in the country. They had also just tied third-ranked UCLA.
Despite the Cougars’ strong record, the Broncos imposed their will in the second half. Santa Clara finally broke through to open the scoring when Johnston knocked a corner kick from Jackson past the Washington State keeper in the 55th minute. The Broncos added another one when midfielder Katie Speidel scored in the 76th minute.
The final Bronco goal came in the 89th minute, when forward Paige Robertson scored on a goal assisted by Jackson.
For her efforts this weekend, Johnston was named both the West Coast Conference Player of the Week and the Top Drawer Soccer Player of the Week, the latter being a national honor.
The Broncos will take the field again in their final non-conference game tonight against the Fresno State Bulldogs. The game could be something of a reprieve for the Broncos, as the Bulldogs are only 2-6-3 this season. However, despite their rocky start, the Bulldogs are showing improvement: their only two wins came in their last two games.
“We don’t take any team lightly,” Jackson said. “The challenge for us is to come out with the same fire as we would with Brigham Young University. This is a game where we could build up our confidence by scoring a lot of goals, especially going into BYU.”
Jackson was referencing the Broncos’ first West Coast Conference match, which will be played at BYU. The Cougars, who sit at 10-1 with a myriad of impressive victories, often play before several thousand vocal fans.
“From what I’ve heard, (BYU) fills the stands and it’s just an insane amount of school and team spirit,” Jackson noted. The Broncos did not play at BYU last season, which was BYU’s first in the WCC.
Contact Ryan Mahoney at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (916) 600-2369.