Oct. 18, 2006
No. 5 Portland (12-2-2 / 2-0-1) at No. 7 Santa Clara (11-3-1 / 1-1-1)
Location: Buck Shaw Stadium - Santa Clara, Calif.
Date: October 19
Time: 8:00 PM (PST)
Television: Fox Soccer Channel
ESPN.com: WCC makes case for nation's best rivalry, top conference
The biggest rivalry in NCAA Division I women's soccer takes center stage this Thursday as the defending national champion Portland Pilots travel to Santa Clara to take on the Broncos at Buck Shaw Stadium. The match will be broadcast live to a national television audience on Fox Soccer Channel with kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. (PT).
FSC is available on DIRECTV, DISH Network and most cable systems. If the channel is not available in your standard basic package, fans might need to subscribe to another level of service that includes Fox Soccer Channel. Charter (channel 409), Comcast (channel 401), and Cox (channel 325) are just some of the cable systems that carry FSC.
Winners of three of the previous five national championships, Portland or Santa Clara have won or shared every WCC women's soccer regular season title since the conference began sponsoring the sport in 1992. That streak has a great chance of continuing in 2006 as the Pilots enter the match with a 12-2-2 overall record and a 2-0-1 conference mark, while the Broncos have been equally as impressive, boasting an 11-3-1 overall record and a 1-1-1 WCC record.
Thursday's matchup will feature two of the best goal scorers in the country in Portland freshman sensation Michelle Enyeart and Santa Clara standout Meagan Snell. Enyeart leads the WCC and all Division I freshmen with 13 goals, while Snell has found the back of the net 10 times. Led by Enyeart and Snell, the Pilots and the Broncos rank 1-2 in every offensive category in the conference.
Despite the prolific offenses that will be on display Thursday evening, goals should be hard to come by as both teams also boast two of the top defenses in the nation. Against arguably the toughest schedule in the country, the Broncos have allowed only seven goals this season and have tallied 10 shutouts. Thirteen of Santa Clara's 15 opponents have been ranked in the top 25 at some point this season.
On the other side of the field, the Pilots are led by junior All-American Stephanie Lopez, who is considered one of the top defensive players, if not the top defensive player in the country. Lopez has played in just six of the Pilots' 16 matches this season, while playing a valuable role with the U.S. National Team. In Lopez' absence, the Pilots have still managed to shut down opposing offenses, allowing only eight goals, and are tied with Santa Clara for the league lead with 10 clean sheets.