Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Santa Clara Athletics

The No. 11 Santa Clara women's soccer team pulled out a wild victory in NCAA Second Round action tonight at Buck Shaw Stadium, defeating Oklahoma State 6-5 in a shootout after tying 1-1 in regulation. Redshirt senior Jordan Angeli had the Broncos lone goal and sophomore Bianca Henninger was solid in the shootout to earn Santa Clara the victory.

Angeli broke the ice in the 13th minute, taking advantage of senior Kiki Bosio's flip throw and heading it in past Cowgirl goalkeeper Adrianna Franch for her seventh goal of the season.

With 12:52 to go in the half, senior Amanda Poach, with her back to the goal, spun her defender on the left side and carried the ball towards the top of the penalty box and unleashed a laser towards the far upper-90 but Franch made an spectacular full-extension dive to get a hand on it and parry it wide and keep it just 1-0 Broncos.

Santa Clara finished the half with a 9-1 advantage in shots and led in corner kicks 2-1. Henninger did not have to make a save, while Franch made three.

After the break Oklahoma State's Kasey Langdon evened the game just 1:51 into the half, finishing off a through-ball from Kyndall Treadwell that zinged through the box on a diagonal to the right. Henninger made the initial stop on the hard shot from close range, but the spin off the rebound caused the ball to pass back across the goal line after hitting the ground.

At 58:17, sophomore Jenny LaPonte beat her defender and instead of shooting like the Cowgirl defense expected her to, passed the ball to wide open junior Anessa Patton near the penalty spot. Patton, thinking the goal was empty because Franch had committed to LaPonte, did not strike the ball hard enough to cross the line as Carson Michalowski recovered to clear it at the last possible moment.

Michalowski, in the 81st minute, had a chance to put Oklahoma State ahead, but this time the Broncos made a defensive stop on the line, as freshman Olivia Klei headed it clear of the goal.

With 7:49 to go Bosio, on the left corner, tucked the ball behind her leg and knocked it back out with the inside of her foot, confusing her defender long enough to burst past the Cowgirl, and nailed a low cross to Angeli. Angeli's one-timer went just wide of the goal, but it changed the momentum of the game in favor of Santa Clara.

Freshman Allie Vernon and junior Kendra Perry fired subsequent shots after Angeli's attempt while Oklahoma State was back on its heels, but Vernon's was blocked and Perry's went wide.

At the end of regulation, it was still tied 1-1 and both the Broncos and Cowgirls headed to overtime for the second consecutive game.

In the first overtime, each team had one chance that sailed wide. The second overtime featured much more excitement around the nets. Santa Clara had the first good chance, as Angeli headed in a cross, but Franch was right there to make the save. Then it was Langdon's turn, but Henninger was able to get to her shot with footwork and did not have to dive to make the save. Neither team was able to put one in the back of the net and the game headed to a shootout.

The last time the Broncos went to a shootout in the NCAA Tournament was in 2003, when Santa Clara knocked off Portland in Oregon, 4-2, after a scoreless tie in a Sweet Sixteen match.

Henninger shot first for the Broncos, firing a perfect shot into the upper left corner, and the two teams traded goals until the third round. Both Angeli and senior Katherine Reynolds scored, and Cowgirls Whitney Wenimont and Bridget Miller each tallied as well, but Henninger made a stop on opposing goalkeeper Franch's attempt to make it 3-2 Santa Clara after the third round.

Franch stepped up to the pressure though, getting a hand on redshirt junior Lindsey Johnson's shot and tipping it off the left post. Elizabeth DeLozier made the following shot to even it 3-3 after four rounds.

Both freshman Meleana Shim and senior Dani Potts made their next two shots, as well as Oklahoma State's Michalowski and Annika Niemeier.

In the seventh round, freshman Lauren Matheson, with the scored tied 5-5, put her shot away, putting the pressure on Cowgirl Colleen Dougherty to make the shot to keep Oklahoma State alive. Dougherty went right with her shot and Henninger read the play, getting in position to bat the ball out and secure a trip to the NCAA Third Round for the Broncos.

Santa Clara last reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005, knocking off Boston College 2-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

"Give credit to Oklahoma State," said head coach Jerry Smith. "I thought they played very well and they were a very tough team. It's not easy to come all the way out here and to be down 1-0 at half, but they came out and put it in the back of our net and made it tough for us. I thought we played pretty well but they were a very good defensive team and we had trouble breaking them down and scoring goals."

"We feel bad for them. Losing in penalty kicks is something we've all been on the end of, and it's a wonderful way to win and awful way to lose. Congrats to them on a great season though. Their coaching staff did fantastic job. But I'm very proud and happy for my team today for sure."

The Broncos (14-6-2 overall) will now have a date with undefeated and top-ranked Stanford, who defeated BYU, 2-0, at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium yesterday. Game time and location will officially be announced tomorrow, but the match will most likely be Friday evening on The Farm.

"Obviously were very happy to be going back to Sweet Sixteen," said Smith. "Santa Clara has had 14 previous trips to the Sweet Sixteen and it's a place where we feel very comfortable. We're excited and looking forward to our next round opponent [Stanford]. We're very familiar with them, and it's a chance to play best team in country, and they are the best team in country. It's going to be a heck of a game and a great local rivalry. It will be great for Bay Area soccer fans to watch two local teams clashing in the Sweet Sixteen."