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Freshman midfielder Willow Collins dashes for the ball as amid an attempted interception.

On family and alumni weekend, the Gonzaga Bulldogs (11-3-0, 1-2-0 West Coast Conference) lost to conference rivals and the defending national champions Santa Clara Broncos (6-4-2, 3-0 WCC). Despite the loss, the game was a physical and hard fought match from start to finish; the teams put on a show for present and former students.

Gonzaga came out of the gates aggressive on offense. Junior forward Erin Healy started the game off quick for the Zags, scoring on a fast break only 44 seconds into the game. The team played aggressive and continued a fast pace attack approach for much of the first half.

The Zags defense was especially strong in the first half, with junior goalkeeper Lyza Bosselmann having multiple clutch saves to keep the Gonzaga lead alive. In total, Bosselmann had nine saves in the game and helped keep thier goal locked up for much of the game.

The Zags continued their offensive barrage with a goal from freshman forward Paige Alexander at the end of the 29th minute, putting the zags up 2-0. The rest of the first half was more evenly matched, with the Bronco offense and defense becoming more active. The Zags were especially scrappy, racking up nine fouls in the first half compared to the Broncos three. The Broncos ended the first half with a goal at the 40th minute, bringing the score to a narrow 2-1. 

The second half brought out a dialed in Broncos offense, with 12 total shots on goal for the half. The Zags continued their scrappy and physical play racking up another nine fouls, bringing them to a season high of 18 fouls for the game. Ultimately the Broncos were able to score two quick goals at the 70th and 77th minutes bringing them up 3-2 on the Zags.

Despite a hard fought effort, the Zags were unable to get past the Bronco line of defense. The Zags only had three total shots on goal in the second half, with the Broncos having the ball for most of the half. The Zags had a few close shots but were unable to tie the game in the final minutes, bringing them to the final score of 3-2.

“Our girls played well," said head coach Chris Watkins. "I’m pretty happy with what they did. We really had some momentum stoppers there, we had some chances, posed some calls, and had some moments that shifted the flow where we couldn’t quite bounce back as much. No complaints for our ladies, our ladies played hard and I’m quite proud of them.”

The next game on the Gonzaga soccer team schedule is an away game against Pepperdine (12-1-0, 3-0-0WCC) next Saturday at 1 p.m.

“There was a half hour of that game where we were just a little rattled and were too loose," Watkins said. "When we won the ball we were a little too panicked and gave it back too quick. So going into Saturday, we want to focus a little more on composure and support on the ball.”

Nathan Omodt is a staff writer.