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Rast Twins Make NCAA Title Their Final Tandem Goal : College soccer: After powering Santa Clara for four years, former Royal High standouts Cam and Matt pursue championship in last hurrah together.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fifteen years ago, Dennis Rast of Simi Valley took a moment from his work to watch his twin sons, Cameron and Matthew, discover the wonders of a soccer ball. The 6-year-olds kicked it and chased it. Sometimes, they tripped and fell over it.

Today, in Tampa, Fla., Dennis Rast again has taken time from his job to watch the twins play with a soccer ball.

They no longer trip and fall.

Cam and Matt Rast are the backbone of the Santa Clara University soccer team, four-year standouts who will lead the sixth-ranked Broncos into the NCAA Final Four. It is the second time in the school’s history that the soccer team has advanced this far. The first was in 1989, when the Rast brothers were sophomores.

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“The Rasts,” Coach Mitch Murray said, “have put Santa Clara soccer on the map. They are the biggest and best things ever to happen to this program.”

Cam is the star, a candidate for the Hermann Award and the Missouri Athletic Club Award, the two biggest individual prizes in NCAA soccer. Playing the sweeper position, he has become one of the most dominant defensive players in the nation.

In matches he has played, the Broncos have posted a record of 56-4-10.

“In the 49 games Cam played in his first three seasons here, we were 37-3-9,” said Murray. “Of the 13 games he missed last season with a knee injury, we were 8-3-2.”

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Cam’s soccer career will not end this weekend. He is a member of the U. S. National team and will play in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Matt’s career, however, might be nearing its conclusion. He will try out for the Olympic team but is considered a longshot.

“I’ll try, but I don’t think I’ll be part of the Olympic team,” Matt said. “If not, I’ll be a real avid supporter of the team. You can count on that.”

Dennis Rast said he never imagined that a hasty introduction to the sport 15 years ago--they thrashed around with a soccer ball in the back yard of a home Dennis was remodeling--could have turned into something so big.

“Soccer was really just a lark,” he said. “They were in the back yard of the house I was working on, and they were bored. They found the ball and the owner’s son asked them to play. They came to me and said, ‘Daddy, can we play soccer?’ ”

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Can they.

At Royal High in Simi Valley the two sparked one of the area’s greatest soccer teams. As seniors they led the Highlanders to a 27-1-2 record, the Marmonte League championship and the Southern Section 4-A Division championship. In their final two seasons at Royal the twins led the team to a 53-3-4 record.

Along with his accomplishments at Santa Clara, Cam also helped the West team to victory in the Olympic Festival three years ago and spurred his team to the semifinals of the under-19 Youth World Cup in 1989.

Matt, also a defender, has not missed a start in the past three seasons at Santa Clara. This year he has eight goals and five assists for 21 points, eclipsing his three-year career numbers entering 1991. His biggest assist came last weekend on Peter Cochran’s game-winning goal over UCLA in the West regional championship.

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His final goal of the regular season came against San Jose State, on an assist from Cam.

Santa Clara (19-1-1) faces fifth-ranked Indiana in today’s first match. A victory will bring the Broncos to the championship match Sunday against the winner of the other semifinal, which pits top-ranked Virginia against No. 2 St. Louis.

Either today or Sunday a soccer ball-thumping relationship that began quite harmlessly in 1976 will end. “I will miss soccer tremendously,” Matt said. “And I will miss playing alongside my brother.”

“I even miss the idea of playing without Matt,” Cam said. “It will feel pretty bad.”

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For Murray, who must face the 1992 season without the Rasts, the loss is doubly painful.

“Playing without them is something I have tried not to think about,” he said. “It is a scary thought. There will be life at Santa Clara without them, but to be honest, I’m not sure what that life will be.

“But it would be nice for them to leave with a bang. I think a national championship would be a nice way for it to end, and a nice way for the university to say goodby to the Rast brothers.”


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