SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Looking for a perfect weekend, Santa Clara women’s soccer beat Saint Mary’s 2-1 Sunday afternoon at Stevens Stadium.
The Broncos trailed at the half but came out in the second period with a purpose and created several chances before breaking through with a pair of goals.
“We’ve had some slow starts this year but this was the first game where we were just dead flat,” Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith said. “We had no energy in the first half and I’m not sure how to explain it. To give up such a late goal was a very appropriate way to end that first half. We had a lot more energy in the second half but sometimes you can’t crawl out of a hole like that.”
The Broncos finally converted in the 77th. A nice ball was sent into the box by Machaela George that got deflected by the defense and went right to Julie Vass. She took a touch and blasted the ball into the back of the net to make it a 1-all game.
Just moments later, in the 79th minute, Kellie Peay put the Broncos on top 2-1. Jordan Jesolva won a ball in the air and deflected to Peay who was just onside and close to the six-yard box. She was able to easily tap the shot into the empty net in front of her.
“It was a relief to score those two goals,” Smith said. “We had a lot of chances and could have scored more than we did but it’s not easy to do, especially when a team puts all their players behind the ball. I’ve been in many games just like this where we weren’t able to get a goal so I’m proud that we were able to come through.”
Santa Clara had trailed because with just one second left on the clock in the first half, Saint Mary’s took a 1-0 lead. Sophie Santos passed to Jordyn Cunningham and she dribbled all the way into the box before sliding a shot that hit the far post and went in.
“The team was deflated and knew they played poorly,” Smith said. “There’s only one thing you can do and that’s look forward. We tried to focus on things we could do better in the second half. We wanted to play with a little more urgency and attention to detail. Thankfully we did just enough right to come back and get a much-needed victory.”
The Broncos were clearly the better team in the second half. They outshot Saint Mary’s 11-0 drew five corners in the second period to the Gaels one.
The Broncos take a week off before heading back out on the road where they will face Pepperdine Oct. 21 at 3 p.m.