Pilots-Broncos Rivalry – Meagan McCray Interview

Meagan McCray

Although the Portland-Santa Clara game for 2010 has been played, we have a few more player responses to share.

This time through, we have Meagan McCray, Julie Juarez’s successor. Meagan was with the Broncos from 2005 through 2008 and clocked significant minutes even before claiming the starting spot. In 2009, she spent the WPS season with FC Gold Pride, and in 2010, she was with the Washington Freedom.

Here is her take on the Portland-Santa Clara rivalry, written prior to the game…

The UP/SCU rivalry is special because we knew that we’d be playing similar possession style soccer and we usually were the top two teams of the WCC. Jerry Smith would often times talk about how beating UP in conference play would put us in a great position to win our conference title but also help us prepare for the NCAA tournament.

I was well aware of the rivalry between UP/SCU when I was still in High School because you could see both teams leaving everything on the field to get a “w” when I’d watch them play at Buck Shaw Stadium and on TV. I even considered Portland to be in my top 5 choices of colleges to go to. Sunny California won me over since I was born and raised in the Bay Area, it only felt right to be a Bronco. (sorry Portland…)

The UP/SCU match-up was something to look forward to in pre-conference play because we knew we’d have a tough game ahead. We would break our season into phases and pre-conference play was Phase 2 – the time for us to improve and mesh as a group. We could learn each other’s habits and grow from our mistakes to prepare for big games like UP and the tournament.

As a goalkeeper, my personal experiences of the games have a lot to do with their savvy play that led to some great attacks towards on our goal. I distinctly remember battling it out with Megan Rapinoe and having to block her shots and dealing with Michelle Enyeart’s speed as she would try to get in behind our back line. I remember coming from behind at Buck Shaw Stadium and then beating (the No. 2 ranked, I believe) Portland 3-2. I remember how it was miserable playing at Portland because their fans were the worst. They’d heckle every player and have obnoxious chants and drums. You could barely communicate with your teammates because it was so loud at their stadium.

Now I sometimes talk about the rivalry with my teammates and joke about great wins and difficult losses. But more so, I think there is a common level for respect for both programs. Many UP/SCU players have gone on to play in the WPS and/or on the WNT. We look back at those college match-ups as incredibly exciting games and it reminds me of how it was such an honor to be a Bronco and a part of that competitive tradition that continues today. Those were the games that have prepared me to play at the next level with the Washington Freedom and U-23s.

I’ve only seen the Broncos play once this season and I was impressed. Their backline looked sharp and with Bianca Henninger in goal, she is going to provide big saves and leadership, as she was the starting GK in the U-20 Youth World Cup. The Broncos have depth which is something they didn’t have for several years due to a spell of many serious injuries. They have players from all classes that will contribute and I see a great game ahead between UP and SCU. Jerry Smith knows how to prepare the girls for big match-ups so this game will give the Broncos another opportunity to compete, prove they are a top contender for not only the WCC title but for the NCAA tournament.

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One Response to Pilots-Broncos Rivalry – Meagan McCray Interview

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Pilots-Broncos Rivalry – Meagan McCray Interview « The Cross-Conference Collector -- Topsy.com

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