SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the final nonconference game of the season, Santa Clara women’s soccer beat UC Irvine 1-0 Thursday night at Stevens Stadium. Irvine was the first team the Broncos have played this season that did not make the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
The game was even in the first half with Santa Clara holding a 3-2 edge in shots. The second half started the same way until the Bronco offense was able to build toward what would be the only goal of the game.
“We’re really pleased with the performance tonight,” Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith said. “UC Irvine is a very good team that will probably vie for their conference championship and the NCAA Tournament. This is exactly what we’re looking for in closing out our nonconference season and building some momentum.”
In the 68th minute, DB Pridham centered the ball from the left side of the box after a nice move to get past the defender. Jenna Roering one-timed a pretty shot just inside the far post for what would be the game-winner.
“The goal that we scored today was quality,” Smith said. “It was a great finish by Jenna Roering and a great assist from DB Pridham. DB was one of many players to come off the bench and make us better, which is always a good sign. I’m especially happy that we got a clean sheet.”
In net, Courtney Ogren controlled the game despite making just one save. The shutout was the first of her collegiate career and the first win she has picked up.
Despite being in every game this season, the Broncos were finally able to get over the hill and put one in the win column. The team hopes that the victory will give them momentum as they head into the always-grueling West Coat Conference schedule.
“It’s one thing to say we’re a solid defensive team or that we can play the top teams evenly, but it’s another thing to say we know how to win,” Smith said. “Ultimately what you’re trying to do is get a win somehow. Sometimes it’s pretty and sometimes it’s ugly but you have to figure out a way to get a win and we were able to do that tonight against a very good team. We’re opening up conference with a legitimate top-five team, which will be a big test for us but it’s one I feel we’re ready for and one we’re looking forward to.”
Santa Clara begins West Coast Conference play Thursday at 6 p.m. at No. 4 BYU.