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WCC Men's Soccer Recaps

Oct. 6, 2006

Portland - 2
Saint Mary's - 1

PORTLAND, Ore. - Junior forward Christopher Sanders scored his second goal of the game in the 88th minute to lift the Portland Pilots past the Saint Mary's Gaels 2-1 in a West Coast Conference men's soccer game Friday night at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex. Sanders' game-winner came on a header off a beautiful pass from junior midfielder Matthew Dallman.

The win is the third in the past four games for the Pilots, who improve to 5-3-2 overall and 2-2-0 in the WCC. It's the first conference loss for Saint Mary's, as the Gaels drop to 4-4-4 and 2-1-1 in the conference.

Dallman, who provided speed and energy to create opportunities all night long for the Pilots, fed Sanders with a long pass from the right wing with the score tied at 1-1 and 2:30 remaining on the clock. Dallman's pass was perfectly placed to Sanders who out-jumped two defenders 12 yards in front of the frame. Sanders' shot was just over the head of SMC goalkeeper Brian Mason and found the top-right corner of the net.

"Matt (Dallman) was wearing down the defense all night and eventually somebody was going to get on the end of one of his crosses," head coach Bill Irwin said. "It was a classy finish by Sanders."

It's the ninth career game-winner for Sanders (pictured), tied for the sixth most in UP history.

Saint Mary's had taken a 1-0 lead into the break on a first-half goal by David Blanchard. On a throw in from the right wing, Alex Christlieb's toss sailed into the middle of the box. The ball bounced free into an open space right to the feet of Blanchard, who blasted a shot inside the right post from seven yards out.

The score remained 1-nil until Sanders capitalized with his first goal of the game in the 79th minute. On a free kick from 24 yards out, Sanders placed a perfect ball into the top left corner that sailed over a wall of leaping SMC defenders and in.

"I thought we came out flat, which there is no excuse for playing at home on a Friday night," said Sanders. "At halftime, coach challenged us and we responded. I felt that as a team co-captain I needed to be more of a leader.

"On the free kick, I told the guys that I was going to take it and it make it, so everybody let me do my thing."

The Pilots had a golden opportunity for the game's first strike in the 22nd minute. Sophomore defender Bryan Irwin sent a beautiful pass from the backline looking for sophomore forward Alex Elliott. Mason came off his line to defend Elliott, who had made it behind the defense. Elliott beat Mason to the ball on the right wing at the top of the box, made a move to the left and ripped a shot towards the empty net. Elliott's shot from 16 yards out sailed high.

Portland also had the first good look of the second half five minutes in. Junior midfielder Michael Gavin found Dallman with a long pass to the endline just right of the goal. Dallman took a touch and rifled a cross into the box. A sprinting Elliott was able to get a foot on it for an off balanced shot that was wide right by three yards.

The Pilots had another opportunity in the 67th minute. Off a long ball from Irwin, Sanders was able to gain possession near the top of the box. After muscling through a couple of defenders, Sanders slid a short pass to Elliott to the extreme left of the goal. Elliott's shot from a tough angle bounced off the left post. Gavin was there to fire a shot off the rebound, but it was high.

"The WCC is a very tough conference," said Irwin, "but if we can win all of our home games, we'll be in good shape. Tonight was a good start."

"If we can take care of business at home we'll be fine," Sanders added. "We need to get points and keep climbing the standings."

Senior keeper Luis Robles went the distance between the pipes for the Pilots and recorded six saves on 20 shots by the Gaels. Portland countered with 17 shots.

Five cautions in all were shown during the match, with two yellows and red card going to Saint Mary's. Portland received two yellows. The Gaels' Corey Watts was shown a red card after time had expired and will have to sit out SMC's next match.

The Pilots next host the No. 17 Santa Clara Broncos for a conference match at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday at Merlo Field. The Broncos played Gonzaga to a scoreless tie in Spokane, Wash. on Friday night.

San Francisco - 1
Loyola Marymount - 0

Los Angeles, CA - San Francisco's Chris Rodd scored the game's only goal in the 71st minute to lead the #18 Dons to a 1-0 win over the host Loyola Marymount Lions this afternoon in WCC men's soccer action at Sullivan Field. The battle was tightly contested, with the scoresheet showing almost identical numbers in all offensive categories. The Lions return to action on Thursday when they host San Diego to wrap up the first half of WCC play.

LMU outshot USF 4-2 in the first half, but the Dons had the best opportunity of the half. Conor Chinn broke away from the defense and had a shot towards the far post, but the ball bounced off the post and dribbled harmlessly away from the LMU goal.

Both offenses geared up in the second half. Five of LMU's eight shots were on goal, but Geremy Uhl stopped all of them to record the shutout. USF had nine shots in the second half, including the game-winner.

In the 71st minute, the Dons earned a corner kick, taken by Matt Languis. His kick to the far post was headed down by Rob Valentino. The ball bounced around inside the box, and Chris Rodd was able to get his body on the ball and push it past the Lion goal line.

LMU was able to get a barrage of shots off in the final 20 minutes of the game, but could not equalize.

For the game, LMU outshot USF 12-11. Brad Stisser led the Lions with three shots, all on goal. Bobby Burling and Jawaan Delaney had two shots for LMU. Languis led the Dons with three shots.

LMU's Robert Flores made three saves in goal, while Uhl finished the day with six saves.

The Lions take the rest of the weekend off and will take on San Diego in two games next week. LMU will host USD at home on Thursday before traveling to San Diego for a Sunday afternoon contest.

LMU falls to 6-5-1 overall, 2-2-1 in WCC play. San Francisco wins its third straight WCC game to improve to 8-3-1, 3-2.

Gonzaga - 0
Santa Clara - 0

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University returned home Friday for the first time since Aug. 27, and the Bulldogs played 17th-ranked Santa Clara University to a 0-0 double-overtime West Coast Conference draw at Martin Field.

The Bulldogs (3-5-2; 0-3-1) maintained their home-field mastery over the Broncos (6-3-3; 2-1-1) as Gonzaga is now 5-2-1 overall at Martin Field against SCU. Last year Gonzaga topped the then-11th-ranked Broncos 2-1 at home.

The scoreless deadlock was the second for Gonzaga in as many years, the Bulldogs and the University of Detroit going scoreless Sept. 4, 2005, at the Fr. Leo Sweeney Jesuit Cup hosted by the Loyola University of Chicago. The only other time Gonzaga has been involved in a scoreless match in WCC play since joining the conference in 1993 was Nov. 4, 1994, at Loyola Marymount University. Friday was the third time Gonzaga has played a scoreless tie at home. The first was Oct. 2, 1982, against the University of Puget Sound and the last was Sept. 23, 1998, against Oregon State University.

For the Broncos it was the second scoreless match in exactly two weeks as SCU and visiting San Jose State University went without a goal on Sept. 22.

Both teams had excellent chances to win in overtime. Jide Ogunbiyi forced Gonzaga keeper Vito Higgins to make one of is seven saves in the match early in the first overtime, turning and taking a low hard shot from 15 yards. A minute later Higgins had to sprawl to his right to save Brian Martin's low, hard shot from 15 yards that appeared ticketed for the far post.

The second overtime belonged to the Bulldogs. John Palladino's diving header from the left of the box off a Grant Lundberg right-to-left cross halfway through the second overtime rocketed past the far post and out of bounds. With 1:30 to play John Reha's point blank shot from the left of the net hit SCU keeper Joseph Buttitta in the chest for one of his two saves in the match but the Bulldogs were unable to corral the rebound.

Gonzaga appeared to take the early lead less than 10 minutes into the match, but George Josten's apparent goal from the left wing was nullified when Gonzaga's leading scorer was called offside.

SCU had its first solid scoring attempt of the match in the 39th minute when Sean Danzeiser's shot from 25 yards was tipped wide and out of bounds by Higgins.

Ryan Brown almost gave the Broncos the lead in the 59th minute, his header from 8 yards off a cross following a corner kick snapped up by Higgins, and two minutes later Lundberg broke down the left wing, but his shot was blocked by a trio of SCU defenders.

The most challenging save of the day for Higgins came in the 69th minute when Jeff Cosgriff blasted a shot from 10 yards out off the left wing, Higgins making the initial save at the post and the Bulldogs defense clearing the loose ball out of the way of the open goal.

The shutout was the second of the season and the sixth of his career for the junior Higgins, who is third on the all-time shutouts list at Gonzaga. Buttitta posted his fourth shutout of the season and of the career for the sophomore who was sidelined with an injury as a freshman in 2004 and did not see any playing time after joining the team at mid-season last year.

SCU held a 17-8 advantage in shots - including 15-3 in regulation play - and a 7-2 edge in shots on goal. Gonzaga out shot the Broncos 5-2 in the two overtime periods.

Gonzaga returns to action Sunday at 1 p.m. against Saint Mary's College, a match that follows an 11 a.m. women's match that has Gonzaga meeting the University of Portland. The Broncos will continue their Northwest swing at Portland on Sunday in a 2:15 p.m. match.