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Pacific Advances To NCAA Soccer Second Round

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The West Coast Conference went 1-1 in NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament opening round action Thursday, Nov. 17. Pacific won the first NCAA Tournament game in program history after defeating CSUN on the road while Portland fell at New Mexico following nine attempts in a penalty kick shootout after the two teams played to a 0-0 draw.

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Tariq Branche picked a good time to net his first collegiate goal as the visiting Pacific men's soccer team topped host CSU Northridge 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night. The win brings the Tigers to 13-3-2 on the year while the loss drops the Matadors to 9-7-5, their first home loss of the season.

"Going on the road is never easy, especially on the west coast where every team is very good," said Pacific head coach Ryan Jorden. "We knew we were going to be playing a very good team that is hot and Northridge has had a very good run at the end. I'm pleased with how our team played throughout." 

Off a corner in the 13th minute Andres Ochoa sent the ball into the box that was met by a Camden Riley header. The rebound ricocheted in the box and eventually came back to Riley by the right post who tried to tap it in the corner, but his shot sailed just wide. About eleven minutes later Julio Cervantes received the dish and took it towards goal. The defender pressed on Cervantes but the senior danced around him to find an open Riley, who rifled off a shot towards goal but it was saved by Matador goalie Kevin Marquez.

Shortly after the Tigers drew a foul resulting in a penalty kick. Cervantes lined up and sent a low shot towards the middle but the diving Marquez blocked it with his foot, denying the Pacific opportunity. The Tigers dominated the first half offensively as the visitors registered ten shots in the first 45 minutes of play compared to the Matadors' four.

In the 56th minute of action the Matadors saw themselves with a promising opportunity to get on the board when Juan Samayoa sent a bullet on target from roughly ten yards outside of the box. The ball looked to be going top shelf, but goalie Curtis Goldsmith made a great leaping save to punch the ball up and out, one of his two saves on the night. Going the other way with just over 22 minutes left in regulation the Orange and Black accumulated a series of passes that found Ochoa at the top of the box. The captain sent the ball in towards the near post that beat the diving 'keeper, but it just hit the post.

In the 77th minute the Tigers finally broke through the Northridge backline as Tyson Fox came streaking down the right side and sent a perfect dish to Branche across the box and the freshman sent it to the back of the net for his first collegiate goal. The defense did the rest for Pacific to preserve their first NCAA Tournament win in program history.

The Tigers now head to Stanford as they continue their NCAA run this Sunday at 5 PM at Cagan Stadium.

NEW MEXICO 0, PORTLAND 0 (UNM advances on PKs, 6-5)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer, the NCAA First Round match between Portland and New Mexico went to a dramatic penalty shootout, and after clutch saves and makes by both sides, the No. 22 Lobos finally prevailed over the Pilots 6-5. The loss ends a historic season for the Pilots, who won the West Coast Conference Championship and were making their 15th NCAA Postseason appearance on Thursday night at the UNM Soccer Complex.

The shootout was needed after neither side was able to find the back of the net during 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes. The Lobos attempted the first PK, and Portland keeper Paul Christensen got a touch on it before it ended up in the back of the net.

The Pilots then leveled the shootout 1-1 before the Lobos surged ahead 3-1 and were on the verge of advancing, needing just one more make. That's when Christensen had to come through for the Pilots, and just like he has all season long the junior produced, denying the Lobos' attempt to clinch the PK's.

Portland's Kris Reaves then stepped to the spot and slotted one in to extend the shootout with the Pilots now within 3-2. The Lobos followed with another chance to end it, and Christensen again knocked down the would-be winner, continuing Portland's night.

Next up for Portland was Matthew Coffey, who calmly leveled the PK's 3-3, continuing the shootout into extra attempts. The Lobos then blasted one high, and only moments after the Pilots were down two, they now had a chance to win.

But this time it was Jason Beaulieu's, the New Mexico keeper, chance to come through in the clutch, and he did just that, saving the Pilots' PK.

The two teams then exchanged a handful of made penalties before the Lobos went up 6-5, and that's when Beaulieu stopped another one, sending the Lobos to the next round to face Washington.