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No. 5 Santa Clara Men's Soccer Opens Season This Weekend At Buck Shaw

Aug. 29, 2007

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Next Up For Bronco Men's Soccer
The No. 5 Santa Clara men's soccer team opens up its 2007 campaign this weekend with two home matches at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Broncos begin the season on Friday, Aug. 31 against Alabama A&M at 8 p.m. SCU last played the Bulldogs in 2003 and are 3-0-1 all-time against them. On Sunday, Sept. 2, the Broncos then host the Vermont Catamounts at 2 p.m. PT. It will mark the third meeting between the teams all-time with SCU leading the series 2-0-0. Fans can watch both games live on Broncos All-Access at SantaClaraBroncos.com.

Last Season For Bronco Men's Soccer
The Broncos advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and finished with a 13-5-5 record. SCU captured its ninth West Coast Conference title with a 8-2-2 record in conference play. 11 Broncos earned All-WCC honors, while head coach Cameron Rast was named WCC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Peter Lowry and Keith DeVey tied for the team lead in scoring with six goals and two assists apiece for 14 points. Overall, 13 different players found the back of the net in 2006. Defensively, Joseph Buttitta posted eight shutouts in goal for the Broncos and the team had nine shutouts overall.

Head Coach Cameron Rast
Cameron Rast (Santa Clara '92) is in his sixth season at the helm of the Santa Clara men's soccer program and has a 67-27-13 (.687) overall record and a 30-14-4 (.667) mark in West Coast Conference matches. He has led the Broncos to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons and his 2003 team advanced to the NCAA College Cup, where it lost a double-overtime decision to eventual national champion Indiana. He has now led the team to two WCC titles after clinching the 2006 championship on Oct. 29 of last year. Rast has also won two WCC Coach of the Year awards (2003, 2006). After eight years as an assistant coach and four as a player, Rast has now reached the College Cup in three different capacities while at Santa Clara. He is already in the top-10 on the WCC career list for league wins. Rast is assisted by Eric Yamamoto, Rusty Johnson and Tim Martin.

Broncos vs. Alabama A&M
Santa Clara has played Alabama A&M on four occasions in program history. The Broncos hold a 3-0-1 edge in the series with the Bulldogs, dating back to 1990. The teams tied 0-0 in the first match in 1990, but SCU has won three straight since then. SCU won 1-0 in 2000, 3-0 in 2002 and 2-0 in 2003. None of the current Bronco players was a member of the 2003 team that played Alabama A&M.

Broncos vs. Vermont
The Broncos series against Vermont has been on hiatus since 1993. The teams have played twice in their history with SCU winning both games, 3-0 in 1991 and 4-3 in 1993. In the 1991, Cameron Rast's twin brother, Matt, scored one of the Bronco goals. The Broncos played that 1991 game at Vermont in the Shearson Soccer Classic. The 1993 game was played at Buck Shaw Stadium. Vermont is also playing at San Francisco on Aug. 31 on its West Coast road trip.

Lowry Making National Impact
Senior captain Peter Lowry has received a lot of preseason hype in 2007 after earning a spot on the All-Far West Region First Team last year. The Fair Oaks, Calif. resident was one of 29 players across the country named to the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy watch list by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He was also named a College Soccer News Preseason All-American Second Team.

Lowry Aiming for Top 10
Peter Lowry enters the 2007 season with 14 career goals at Santa Clara, putting him within striking distance of reaching the program's all-time Top 10 in goals scored. With five goals, he would earn a tie for 10th all-time and with seven goals, he could jump all the way to seventh all-time. Lowry scored six goals to tie for the team lead in 2006.

Bronco National Team Players
The Santa Clara men's soccer team has a number of players on the roster with U.S. youth national team experience. Senior Peter Lowry played for the U.S. U-23 team in February last year during a trip to Japan. Freshman Jalil Anibaba played for both the U-18 and U-20 teams in the past year, including playing in the Pan Am Games in Brazil this past summer. Stephen McCarthy and Kevin Klasila were also both part of the Pan Am Games team and both have played for the U-18 team on other occasions. McCarthy also attended a U-20 camp in 2006. Redshirt freshman Ricky Character also spent time in U-18 training camp. Senior Jamil Roberts, junior Brian Martin and sophomore Jeff Cosgriff all played together with the U-18 team at the 2005 Milk Cup.

2006 All-WCC
Santa Clara dominated the 2006 All-WCC teams with 11 players named all-conference and head coach Cam Rast named Coach of the Year. Keith DeVey was named All-WCC First Team and Peter Lowry and Erik Ustruck were named All-WCC Second Team. In addition, Joseph Buttitta, Matt Hatzke, Amaechi Igwe, Brian Martin, Stephen McCarthy, Jide Ogunbiyi and Jamil Roberts were All-WCC Honorable Mention. The All-Freshman Team included Jeff Cosgriff, Igwe and McCarthy. McCarthy was also the WCC Co-Freshman of the Year. Eight of those players are back for 2007.

Season Opener
The Santa Clara men's soccer team has won six season opening games in a row. The team last lost a season-opener on Sept. 1, 2000 against Sacramento State (2-1 OT). The Broncos are also unbeaten in their past five home-openers, going 4-0-1 since 2002. They last lost in their first home game on Sept. 4, 2001 against Bradley (2-0).

Returnees
The Santa Clara Broncos return 19 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's team that reached the NCAA quarterfinals. The team lost seniors Keith DeVey and Erik Ustruck, along with freshman Amaechi Igwe. Igwe was selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft by the New England Revolution. Ustruck also reached MLS, as he was drafted by the Houston Dynamo. The 2007 Broncos are deep at every position with so many key returnees from last year's squad. Eleven players return that appeared in more than 20 games last year.

Defense Intact
The Broncos return all four starters from their 2006 back-line. Sophomore Chris Sauter and seniors Matt Hatzke, Matt Marquess and Jamil Roberts all played more than 1,600 minutes a year ago and helped SCU post a 0.95 GAA and nine shutouts.

Opening Up Strong
Santa Clara has been known for their fast starts during the past few seasons. Last year, SCU got off to a 4-0-1 start to the season on the way to a 13-5-5 overall record. The team posted a 7-1-2 record in 2003, an 11-1-0 record in 2004 and an 8-2-0 mark in 2005 to get the season started on the right foot.

Broncos In The Pros
Santa Clara soccer has produced a number of professionals over the years and right now, SCU players are playing big roles all over Major League Soccer. Ryan Cochrane '05 and Eric Ustruck '07 are both members of the defending MLS Cup Champion Houston Dynamo. Cochrane helped Houston lift the Cup last year, while Ustruck is in the middle of his rookie year. Two former Bronco goalkeepers are both playing on the Los Angeles Galaxy, alongside star David Beckham. Two-time league Goalkeeper of the Year Joe Cannon '98 is the starter and he is backed up by Steve Cronin '05. Jamil Walker '04 still plays for D.C. United and 2005 WCC Player of the Year Mehdi Ballouchy '07 is a member of the Colorado Rapids after a mid-season trade from Real Salt Lake. Amaechi Igwe is a rookie for the New England Revolution after being drafted in the first round of the SuperDraft.

Unbeaten on the Road in 2006
SCU posted a 5-0-1 record on the road in conference in 2006, its first unbeaten run on the road in conference since 2001 when they went 3-0-0. Since the introduction of the double round robin format in 2004, SCU had not lost fewer than three games on the road in conference play.

WCC Leaders
Cameron Rast's squad had a number of individuals among the WCC's league leaders in the 2006 regular season. Senior Keith DeVey and Amaechi Igwe tied for eighth in points with 13, while DeVey tied for sixth in goals with six. Junior Peter Lowry and Igwe tied for ninth with five goals each. Sophomores Brian Martin and Jide Ogunbiyi tied for eighth with four assists. Goalkeeper Joseph Buttitta led the league in shutouts with seven and goals against average (0.79).

Broncos as a Team
As a team, the Broncos finished near the top of the ladder in a number of statistical categories in the WCC regular season in 2006. The Broncos finished third in goals (32), first in shutouts (8), while placing first in corner kicks with 145. SCU's corner kick total was 49 higher than the next closest team. The team allowed only 18 goals on the year, the second lowest total among conference teams. Their 0.86 goals against average was tops in the conference. The Broncos also had the second highest home attendance in the league with an average of 1,178 fans for seven home dates.

Rast Moves Into Third
Cameron Rast has now passed former Bronco coach Steve Sampson and moved into third place all-time in wins at SCU. He now has 67 wins. Steve Sampson earned 64 wins from 1986-90 on the Mission Campus. The all-time leader is Mitch Murray (1991-2001), who has 143 victories followed by Dave Chaplik with 92. Rast is the second-fastest coach in school history to reach the 50-win plateau, just behind Murray.

Lineup Consistency
Despite a number of injuries and a tough schedule, Santa Clara had great consistency in its starting lineup last season. In 23 games in 2006, seven players started every game; Joseph Buttitta, Matt Marquess, Jamil Roberts, Peter Lowry, Erik Ustruck, Brian Martin and Keith DeVey. Amaechi Igwe has started 20 out of 23 games, while Stephen McCarthy has started 22 out of 23.

Balanced Attack
The Broncos had a very balanced attack in 2006 as 13 different players have scored goals and 15 different players notched at least one point.

Iron Man
Broncos defender Matt Marquess has proven to be a rock on the back-line for SCU the past two seasons. After appearing in all 23 games in 2006, Marquess has now played in 45 consecutive games for SCU. In 2006, he played 2,142 of a possible 2,177:44 minutes. His partner in central defense, Jamil Roberts, who also started every match, led the team in minutes with 2,152 minutes played. The pair started every game together in central defense.

Home Sweet Home
Buck Shaw Stadium has provided an excellent home-field advantage for the Broncos over the years. They have posted a 194-72-25 record good for an incredible .710 winning percentage. The team has lost only six home games in Rast's tenure at SCU.

Hatzke and Marquess All-Academi
cSeniors Matt Hatzke and Matt Marquess are both finance majors and both players earned WCC All-Academic honors in 2006. They were also named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII for their outstanding efforts in the classroom and on the field last year.

Matt and Matt's Blog
Seniors Matt Hatzke and Matt Marquess will be writing a blog for SantaClaraBroncos.com in 2007. The pair will write about the latest happenings with the team, their lives and with SCU in general. Be sure to log on to SantaClaraBroncos.com throughout the year to read what they have to say.

Student-Athlete GPA
The Santa Clara University student-athletes reached the athletic department's long-stated goal of raising their cumulative GPA above 3.0. Following the spring quarter of 2007, the GPA had reached 3.05.