Published: August 22, 2016
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Playing its second ranked Pac-12 opponent in three days, No. 21 Santa Clara women's soccer again used extra time, this time beating No. 18 Cal 1-0 in double overtime on Sunday afternoon at Stevens Stadium. With the win the Broncos are the only team in the country to beat two teams ranked in the NSCAA top-25 during the opening weekend of the season.
Cal (1-1) came out and had control of the game in the first half but after a halftime adjustment, Santa Clara (2-0) evened the playing the field. The Broncos were the better team in the overtime periods, outshooting the Bears 4-0 in those 16 minutes.
Jenna Roering scored the game-winner in the 107th minute but it took beautiful plays from Jordan Jesolva, who got the assist, and Maddie Gonzalez to make it happen.
Jesolva sent a long pass from just inside midfield and Gonzalez blocked out her defender from making a play on the ball. This allowed Roering to gain control at the top of the box and take a touch before finishing just inside the left post.
"Jordan did a really nice job to compose the ball near midfield and sent a really nice pass to Maddie," Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith said. "Maddie did exactly what she's supposed to do by blocking out her defender. Jenna was in a great position to capitalize and hit a perfect shot to get us the win."
Lost in the excitement of a double overtime win was Melissa Lowder who played her best game as a Bronco to collect her first clean sheet. She made diving saves in the 53rd and 79th minutes to keep the game knotted at 0-all.
"Melissa's mental game is unreal," Smith said. "She's fearless and very confident. In both games this weekend she had to make big saves and to do that against this level of competition is very impressive."
Cal controlled much of the first half, outshooting the Broncos 4-1 and 3-0 in shots on goal. Santa Clara struggled to string together any threat on the offensive end and spent most of the first 45 minutes trying to stop the Bears' attack.
The second half saw much better play from Santa Clara with a number of close chances. In the 57th minute Gonzalez had a shot tipped just over the crossbar by the Cal goalkeeper Emily Boyd and in the 88th only a sliding stop by Boyd prevented Roering from finding the back of the net.
"The challenge in a weekend like this, similar to the NCAA Tournament, is that you play two great teams," Smith said. "We invested a tremendous amount of energy on Friday night so it's not easy to do that again two days later. We didn't do a good job with that in the first half. At halftime we talked about working harder and investing more energy. Once we did that, the game was at least even, if we weren't the better team."
With the win over No. 11 USC on Friday, Santa Clara has now beaten two ranked teams to start the season for the first time since 1993. That season the Broncos took down No. 7 UConn 4-1 on Sept. 4 and No. 4 Hartford 2-0 on Sept. 6. Both games were played on the road.
It was also the first time Santa Clara has beaten ranked opponents in back-to-back games since 2009. The Broncos beat No. 5 Notre Dame 2-0 on Sept. 11 and No. 7 Purdue 3-1 on Sept. 13 at then-Buck Shaw Stadium.
"This was a great opening week for us, there's no doubt about it," Smith said. "We had two very good performances against two very good Pac-12 teams. The team showed their toughness in a pair of overtime matches and we were able to score some nice goals this weekend."
The Broncos return to action on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Washington State.