Sept. 7, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's soccer team finally got the monkey - or should that be Husky - off its back Friday when Ben Funkhouser's goal at 84:42 broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 non-conference win over 15th-ranked University of Washington in front of a school record 1,127 fans at sun-baked Martin Field.
The Bulldogs had never defeated the Huskies in 19 previous tries dating back to 1981, the tie a 2-2 deadlock in 1999 at Martin Field.
Funkhouser got the decisive goal when Tye Perdido dropped a pass on the left wing, the Husky defense split and Funkhouser dribbled in to take the virtually uncontested shot which beat UW keeper Rylan Hawkins low to his far side. It was Funkhouser's second career goal and his first match winner.
But it didn't look good for the Bulldogs early on Friday when Taylor Mueller scored his first goal of the season just 2:33 into the match to give the Huskies (1-1-1) a quick lead. Mueller scored when he took Matt Van Houten's corner kick and beat Bulldog keeper Vito Higgins to the left post.
But the Bulldogs (2-1-0) came right back at 14:19 when Hermann Trophy candidate George Josten collected his first goal of the young season, a high, hard shot to the right side of the net straightaway from 22 yards. It was the 30th career goal and the 71st career point for Josten, both ranking him fourth in school history. John Palladino got the assist as the product of Spokane's Central Valley High picked up his first point of the season.
Had it not been for Hawkins, who finished with six saves as the Bulldogs launched eight of their 17 shots on goal, the Bulldogs would have had the lead at halftime. The save of the match came at 31:51 when Funkhouser's header off a cross from John Reha was ticketed for the left post. But Hawkins made a diving, sprawling save to his right at the post to thwart the Bulldogs. Three minutes later he knocked down a shot through traffic from the right wing by Perdido.
The Huskies never really threatened and didn't test Higgins after the goal, Washington not getting another shot on goal the rest of the afternoon.
Gonzaga head coach Einar Thorarinsson, who was 9-0-1 against the Huskies since coming to Gonzaga for the 1995 season, was obviously pleased his team finally cracked the win column against their cross-state rivals.
"We finally got one," Thorarinsson said. "Our guys really came prepared. They didn't let the early goal phase them and they hung in there and pretty much dominated play most of the day. I'm pleased for the team, but I'm especially pleased for the seniors.
"We know Washington is always going to be a tough match, and today was no different. But we didn't lose our composure early when it would have been easy for us to do so," the 13-year Bulldog coach said.
The Bulldogs return to action next weekend at the Panther Invitational hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Gonzaga will meet the University of Wisconsin on Friday and then face the host Panthers on Sunday. Gonzaga doesn't return to Martin Field until Oct. 12 against Loyola Marymount University, a stretch of seven straight matches away from home.