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2. TV PREVIEW: Santa Clara pumped up for UP
October 19th, 2006 4:04AM

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Santa Clara-Portland is one of the biggest rivalries in women's soccer.

No. 5 Portland and No. 7 Santa Clara have either won or shared all 14 WCC titles and have claimed three of the last five NCAA championships. Santa Clara took the 2001 title and Portland followed in 2002 by beating the Broncos for its first NCAA Championship. The Pilots also won the title last year with an undefeated 23-0-2 record.

They renew their series Thursday night when they meet at Santa Clara's Buck Shaw Stadium in the NSCAA Match of the Week (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, live, 8 pm PT/11 pm ET).

Both teams are coming off tough weekends. Santa Clara lost to Pepperdine, 1-0, Sunday after tying Loyola Marymount, 1-1, two days earlier. San Francisco tied UP, 1-1, on Friday -- the Dons were 0-18-0 against the Pilots going into the game.

Injuries have hindered both teams. Santa Clara lost forward Tina Estrada (66 points in three seasons) before the campaign even began, and Tiffany Roberts (who scored against Portland in 2004 and 2005) is out for the season after being injured earlier in the fall. UP lost 2005 Soccer America Freshman of the Year Megan Rapinoe with a knee injury five days after she scored her first two goals for the U.S. national team.

Young players have come up big for both teams, however. Santa Clara freshman Kiki Bosio is second in the WCC with eight assists. The Pilots counter with the conference's leading scorer in freshman forward Michelle Enyeart (13 goals, 32 points)

Both goalkeepers are have excellent seasons. Santa Clara keeper Meagan McCray is the WCC leader with seven shutouts and a 0.52 goals-against average. Right behind her is Portland's Cori Alexander with a 0.54 GAA.

Santa Clara coach Jerry Smith says televising the game nationally will pump up his players.

"This, to us on our level, is comparable to the feeling NFL players get when getting to play on 'Monday Night Football,'" he says. "It increases the intensity and excitement about the game. First of all you are playing the defending national champions and second of all you're playing your biggest conference rival."

WEDNESDAY WOMEN'S ACTION

#24 DARTMOUTH 2 NEW HAMPSHIRE 0. Dartmouth hasn't allowed a nine games. The Big Green earned bragging rights in the Granite State derby with goals from Emily Tracy and Megan Wijas. First place in the Ivy League will be on the line Saturday when Dartmouth (4-0-0 in league play) faces Columbia (3-0-1).


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