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Higgins, Defense Post Another Shutout

Oct. 7, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Bryan Mullaney and Tye Perdido provided the offense and Vito Higgins and the Bulldogs defense rose to the occasion once again as 24th-ranked Gonzaga University defeated the University of San Francisco 2-0 Sunday in a West Coast Cost Conference men's soccer match.

The Bulldogs (7-2-1, 2-0-1) ran their unbeaten string to six in beating the Dons (4-5-0; 0-2-0) for the second straight match. Gonzaga had snapped a 0-6-1 winless streak against USF with a 2-1 double-overtime win in the Bulldogs 2006 home finale.

While it's way too early to starting talking championship, the Bulldogs would seem to have the schedule maker on their side as the WCC season nears the half-way point. The Bulldogs, who haven't play a home match since Sept. 7, return home for five of their next six matches beginning with Friday's 1 p.m. WCC home debut against Loyola Marymount University. Gonzaga opened the WCC season with three straight road tilts and came away with the 2-0-1 start.

Mullaney got the only goal the Bulldogs would need with his first of the season and third of his career at 34:54. He took a pass from George Josten to the left flank and Mullaney beat USF keeper Eric Connor to the right. The assist was a team-leading fourth for Josten and the 14th of his career to move him into sole possession of fourth on the Gonzaga career charts. He trails Brian Ching (23), Jason Kuska (21) and current assistant coach Mike Thompson (16).

Josten, a Hermann Trophy Watch List candidate, also increased his career points total 78 which also ranks fourth all-time for the Bulldogs. He leads the team in scoring with 10 points on the strength of three goals and four assists.

Perdido got the Bulldogs the insurance goal at 76:43 on an assist from John Reha. With the Dons pressing in an attempt to score the equalizer, Reha's pass led to a Perdido breakaway who beat Connor left from 10 yards. The assist was the third of the season and 13th of his career for Reha, who moved into a tie for fifth in career assists with Scott Yuska and Arni Ingi Pjetursson.

The Bulldogs held Conor Chin, the Don's leading scorer with 4 goals and top shot taker with 23 entering the contest, to just two shots, one on goal that was saved by Higgins barely a minute into the second half.

Gonzaga had 10 shots, nine on goal as Connor was called on for seven saves. USF had three of its seven shots on goal, Higgins handling all three for his second shutout of the weekend and fourth of the season. His four shutouts equal the four he had last season that rank fourth on the Gonzaga single-season. His 12 shutouts are third all-time, one behind Mike McCarthy for second. Josh Fouts is the all-time leader with 19.

Gonzaga's defense, anchored by seniors Daniel Scott and Austin Washington while getting significant contributions from sophomores Nick Barlcay and Tim Muravez, has helped Higgins and the Bulldogs post a 0.59 goals-against-average. The record is 0.68 set by the 1998 squad.