Aug. 25, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University scored three unanswered goals Friday to open the 2006 regular season with a 4-1 non-conference men's soccer victory over UNLV in front of 400 sun-baked fans at Martin Field.
The four goals were the most for the Bulldogs since a 5-1 home win over Montana State University-Billings in 2004, and the most against a NCAA Division I opponent since a 5-3 win at Air Force to open the 2003 season in the Parents Weekend Invitational.
Junior John Palladino, who sat out last season after suffering a knee injury during the summer, got the Bulldogs on the board early at 22:09, his right-to-left shot ricocheting off the far post and into the net. It was his second career goal, his first coming as a freshman in 2003. He was assisted by George Josten, last year's leading Bulldog scorer with 12 goals, 5 assists and 29 points. Friday's assist gives Josten 41 career points to move into a tie for sixth with Jason Adams on the all-time Gonzaga list.
UNLV, with first-year head coach Mario Sanchez making his debut, came back just 30 seconds later when Nicholas Paterson's free kick from the left wing beat Gonzaga keeper Vito Higgins to the far side.
Grant Lundberg gave Gonzaga a 2-1 halftime lead when he took Austin Washington's pass on the left wing and his shot changed direction a couple of times on its way past Rebels' keeper Brett Hafeman at 34:31.
The Bulldogs scored a big insurance goal at 77:09 as John Reha, with an assist from Lundberg, caught the far post from the left wing. Freshman Nick Barclay of Boise, Idaho, made his Gonzaga debut a memorable one with a header from the top of the box at 83:09 for his first collegiate goal to all but end any hopes of a UNLV comeback.
Gonzaga held a 14-4 edge in shots and controlled the territorial play for much of the afternoon. And several of the shots were on target as Hafeman was called on for seven saves while Higgins had a relatively easy day in the nets with just two saves.
Gonzaga remains home Sunday to face UC Davis at 1 p.m., a match that was changed from its original 2 p.m. kickoff to accommodate UC Davis' flight schedule home. Sunday's match will be the final home appearance for the Bulldogs until Oct. 6 when Santa Clara University visits Martin Field.