The Broncos soccer team has been red hot this season and are showing no signs of stopping.
To open the 2023 season, there was a slew of non-conference games that consisted of four matchups against Pac-12 teams. The Broncos held their own and went 0-0-4 against the likes of Oregon State, Arizona State, University of Arizona and University of Oregon.
“It was honestly pretty impressive,” Cross said. “It made us feel really good about ourselves. I think that was just what we needed to start the year off.”
As ten of the Pac-12 schools are ranked within the top 100 nationally, holding off Pac-12 opponents is an incredible feat of its own.
“In last year’s preseason we weren’t really able to get a dub against many of the Pac-12 schools,” Crenshaw said. “So it was exciting that we were able to come out and stay undefeated against them compared to what we’ve done in years prior.”
Not only was going undefeated in Pac-12 impressive, but Cross and Crenshaw have had a career season already, and it’s not even over.
After starting her career notching just one goal in each her freshman and sophomore season, Cross has made a name for herself as a Bronco and has garnered eight goals on the season already.
“The last two seasons have obviously been rough,” Cross said. “Growing up and figuring out how to play for your team and not just for yourself, was really important to me.”
To go along with her incredible statistics was an even more dominant career night as she scored three goals, including a hat trick, against Eastern Washington in early September.
“Oh gosh, it meant so much to me,” Cross said. “Obviously it wasn’t just me … I had the girls pretty much just hand it to me … my team being able to do that is so special and I am so thankful for it.”
Just as Cross has been having a phenomenal season, as has the star studded goalie.
Crenshaw is coming off an already impressive 2022 season with 52 saves as well as making the First Team All-Mountain West Team. However, Crenshaw already has 63 saves on the season and there are no signs of stopping.
“Wow that’s crazy,” Crenshaw said, stunned to learn the amount of saves she has had during the season. Of course Cross hyped up her teammate and said “That’s so good!”
“I really want to make a statement,” Crenshaw said. “Come in and represent my team … we had a historical defense last season and I want to continue those strides.”
Though this team is much younger than previous years, there is no stopping this defense.
“We did come in kind of newer this year,” Crenshaw said. “We had some fresh faces back there, but it doesn’t mean they’re not as good … we still are so good defensively … it’s just team unity.”
With both Crenshaw and Cross being each a force in their own right, Cross on the offensive side of the ball and Crenshaw on the defensive side, there’s no doubt that the two combine for a powerful leadership duo amongst the young Bronco squad.
The way they both lead the team tends to differ in each and every matchup and their strong leadership skills has given them an impressive 6-2-6 record on the season and 4-1-1 in Mountain West play.
“I walk into the locker room each day, and it’s like ‘hey, what’s the vibes for today?’” Crenshaw said. “What do we need? Do we need something that’s going to be a bit more cut and dry and to the point? Or do we need some empowerment and some positivity on the day?”
Crenshaw’s powerful message to the team: remind them the reason for playing the sport they love.
“Always reminding everyone that you play soccer because you love it,” Crenshaw said. “As soon as you stop loving it, it’s not worth it. So go out there and do you, and do something you love today.”
Cross’ approach, however, is more geared towards the new and fresh faces on the team.
“Just talking about how important these games are,” Cross said. “Especially in the younger faces … they don’t really understand yet, so I think that’s one aspect too.”
The team currently sits in second place in the Mountain West conference, which is an overwhelming improvement from last year, when they just missed the Mountain West tournament after finishing tied for sixth in the conference.
There’s no denying that the energy on this squad is different than last year.
“We’re just different this year,” Crenshaw said. “Whether we are winning, or losing or tying, we all know we have a lot to give.”
Winning, losing or tying, this team has not given up and their energy on the field is unmatched.
“We all want to win,” Cross said. “We’re just worried about one game at a time and winning each game at a time and we’re not looking back at our losses.”
With just two weeks left in the regular season, the Broncos eyes are on the prize.
Go and show the Broncos support and watch Crenshaw and Cross in action when they return to Boas Soccer Complex on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.