Nov. 14, 2010
The 2010 West Coast Conference men's soccer championship race came down to the final moments of the season with Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University sharing the regular season title. Both teams finished atop the standings with 25 points, as Santa Clara finished 7-1-4 and Loyola Marymount went 8-3-1.
The Lions dropped a 1-0 home decision to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, and the Broncos then claimed a share of the conference championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Championship with a 2-0 home victory over Gonzaga.
The Broncos earned the West Coast Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship based on a 1-0-1 head-to-head record this season against the Lions. The tournament berth marks Santa Clara's 19th NCAA tournament appearance and 11th WCC title, its first since 2007. After a two-year playoff hiatus, the Broncos were picked to finish fifth in the seven-team WCC this season.
The WCC Championship is the fourth in nine seasons under head coach Cameron Rast. Santa Clara is 31-13-16 over the past four seasons in conference play.
"This is amazing, I can't even describe it," said Santa Clara's Erik Hurtado after the win. "We have such a good core group on this team. It's incredible."
Even with the loss, LMU has secured one of its best seasons in school history. The Lions' previous best finish in the WCC had been second place in 2004 while this year's eight conference wins matches the school record also set in 2004. LMU posted 12 victories during the regular season, its most since 2003, and registered consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since 2003-04. The conference title is the first in men's soccer for LMU and the school's first since women's rowing and men's golf won the WCC crown in 2006.
The NCAA Men's Soccer Championships field will be formally announced on Monday at 1:30 p.m. (PT) on ESPNU. The Broncos will learn their seeding as one of the 48 teams in the field, and the Lions will hope to earn their second consecutive at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.