Nov. 24, 2006
Wake Forest - 3
Santa Clara - 1
Winston Salem, N.C. - The Santa Clara Broncos ended their season with a 3-1 loss to Wake Forest University in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals at Spry Stadium. Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the first half on a Peter Lowry penalty kick, the Broncos surrendered three straight goals to the Demon Deacons. SCU finishes the season with a 13-5-5 record and their best finish since 2003 when they advanced to the College Cup. Seniors Keith DeVey and Erik Ustruck played the final matches of their stellar careers for the Broncos after helping lead the team to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances and two West Coast Conference championships in four years.
Despite being on the road, the Broncos set the tempo early and came out attacking. After a good combination in midfield, DeVey had first bid for SCU in the second minute. He hit a low shot to the far post that slid just by the far post.
In the fourth minute, Wake Forest got its first chance as Marcus Tracy got free in the box and attempted to slip a ball into the middle. However, Jamil Roberts alertly stepped into the passing lane to break up the dangerous attack.
Sam Cronin nearly gave the Demon Deacons the lead 17 minutes into the game after picking up a loose ball in the box. Following a Wake Forest free kick, the ball dropped at Cronin's feet and he fired a shot that was blocked by a sliding Matt Marquess.
Peter Lowry forced a turnover deep in Wake Forest territory to set up a great chance for the Broncos minutes later. The junior captain stripped Evan Brown of the ball and then fed Amaechi Igwe, who broke into the box. As he set up for the shot, a Wake Forest defender made a sliding tackle to break up the play.
Lowry put the Broncos up 1-0 in the 24th minute with his sixth goal of the year and his fourth from the penalty spot. Lowry and Ustruck combined to set up penalty by springing DeVey for a breakaway. Ustruck received the ball from Lowry and then fed DeVey, who maneuvered around Wake Forest goalkeeper Brian Edwards. Edwards clipped DeVey on the way by and referee Abbey Okulaja pointed to the spot. Lowry then slotted the ball to the right of Edwards. DeVey suffered a shoulder injury on the play and did not return to the match.
Igwe nearly made it 2-0 just minutes later but his low shot from just inside the box was gobbled up by Edwards at the near post.
Roberts made another big defensive play for SCU with 10 minutes left in the half. Tracy got some space on the right wing for the Demon Deacons and chipped a cross into the box that was deflected and appeared headed for the far corner. Roberts raced back to the goal and headed the ball out of danger to prevent the equalizer.
With just over two minutes left in the first half, Wake Forest tied the game with a free kick goal by Steven Curfman. After a foul by Stephen McCarthy at the top of the box, Curfman stepped up and curled the free kick over the wall and into the lower corner to make the score 1-1.
In the opening two minutes of the second half, Roberts again played the role of hero as he saved a shot on the goal line. After a cross from the wing was deflected to the top of the box, Wake's Ryan Solle blasted a low shot past Buttitta but Roberts was there to deflect the ball wide and keep the game tied.
Matt Hatzke's hustle created the Broncos best chance of the opening 20 minutes of the second half as he beat two defenders down the left wing before finding Lowry inside the box. Lowry stepped around a defender and ripped a shot to the near post, but Edwards dove to make the save keeping the match even.
Lowry had two more attempts to break the tie soon after. On the first, he stole the ball at midfield and seeing Edwards off his line chipped a shot to the far post but the Wake Forest goalkeeper was able to recover in time to make the save. Five minutes later, he hit another long shot from the edge of the penalty box that went wide.
With 15 minutes left, Demon Deacons forward Mike Lahoud put his team into the lead with a shot from the right wing that found its way past Buttitta and into the far post. Lahoud eluded a defender on the wing and sent a cross to the far post that ended up finding the side netting to put Wake Forest up 2-1.
Wells Thompson put the finishing touches on the Wake Forest victory with a breakaway goal with seven minutes to play. Solle found Thompson behind the defense and he slid a shot underneath an onrushing Buttitta and into the net for a 3-1 lead.