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WCC Men's Soccer Recaps

Oct. 8, 2006

Gonzaga - 4
Saint Mary's - 0

SPOKANE, Wash. - John Reha scored a goal and assisted on two others and keeper Vito Higgins recorded his second straight shutout as Gonzaga University posted a 4-0 West Coast Conference men's soccer victory over Saint Mary's College on Sunday.

The win was the first of the WCC campaign for the Bulldogs (4-5-2; 1-3-1) while the Gaels (4-5-4; 2-2-1) were swept on their weekend trek to the Pacific Northwest after losing Friday at the University of Portland.

"We played well today," Gonzaga head coach Einar Thorarinsson said. "The offense came to life and we had a lot of guys play hard today. I thought our freshmen also played well."

Higgins, who recorded a shutout in Friday's 0-0 deadlock against 17th-ranked Santa Clara University, had four saves in Sundays' match in earning his third shutout of the season and the seventh of his career. His three shutouts tie him with Josh Fouts for fifth on the Gonzaga single-season list, and his seven career shutouts moved the junior from Kailua, Hawai'i, who is currently fourth all-time, closer to Mike McCarthy's 13 which currently ranks third on the all-time charts.

Higgins had a couple of big saves, and one huge assist from his defense in recording the shutout. Early in the match the Gaels' Corey Heldreth took a shot off a corner kick by Dylan Leslie, the ball headed for the far post only to see the Bulldogs' Ben Sawyer sweep in to clear the ball. In the 73rd minute Matthew Fitzgerald had a header off a corner that Higgins stopped at the near post, SMC players near the play claiming the ball had crossed the goal line. In the 86th minute Higgins made a diving stop to his right off a low, hard shot from 25 yards off a free kick by Alex Christlieb.

While Higgins was holding the Gaels at bay, the Gonzaga offense scored four goals for the third time this season, the Bulldogs downing UNLV 4-1 at home in the season opener and Oregon State University 4-1 on the road. It was the first time the Bulldogs had scored four goals in a WCC match since defeating Loyola Marymount University 4-1 at home on Oct. 21, 2001.

The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard early, George Josten scoring his WCC-leading seventh goal of the season at 6:51. His shot from the right side came off a cross from Reha that set Josten up with a wide-open right side of the net, a SMC defender arriving too late to clear the ball as it was across the line. It was Josten's first goal in five matches after getting six goals in the first six matches of the season, and his 24th career tally. He has been fourth on the Gonzaga career list since early in the season. His 58 career points also rank fourth.

Reha came right back 76 seconds later to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead, Chris Hoyd with a blind flick to Reha who, like Josten had a wide open right side of the net to shoot at. It was Reha's second goal of the season.

Gonzaga all but put the match away early in the second half, Grant Lundberg, who had several rushes in the match, finally found the net at 48:22. He took a pass from Reha on the left wing, dribbled in on Gaels' keeper Keenen Flynn, deked Flynn to commit to his right and shot into the open net to the far side for his third goal of the season. As if the Bulldogs need any insurance, they got it at 62:02 when Bryan Mullaney scored his first goal of the season on a rebound. Austin Washington had fed Tye Perdido on the right wing and Flynn came out to make the save. But the rebound went right to Mullaney who found the back of the net.

Gonzaga held a 9-7 edge in shots. Flynn had two saves for the Gaels, while Higgins had four for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs, who returned home this weekend for the first time since Aug. 27, will meet the University of Portland in a home-and-home series this weekend. The Bulldogs will be at Portland on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. match then host the Pilots at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

San Francisco - 2
San Diego - 1

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The University of San Diego men's soccer team (7-3-0, 2-3-0 WCC) dropped their Sunday evening match against the University of San Francisco Dons by a score of 2-1, their first loss of the season from Torero Stadium.

In the first half, the toreros fired off three shots on goal. Their best look was from caso in the seventh minute when he received a centering pass 320 yards out. He blasted a shot that was on target but just a little too high. The half ended in a 0-0 tie.

San Diego came out shooting when in the 50th minute forward Ciaran O'Brien from midfield sent a ball over the head of forward Ryan Guy who was onside and sprinting up the field. Guy, with two defenders on him, fired off a shot from the top of the penalty box which was blocked by the Dons defense. The ball bounced back at Guy who fired off a second shot immediately scoring and taking the 1-0 lead.

In the 53rd minute, San Francisco responded with a goal of their own as a loose ball in the penalty box landed at the feet of forward Ardalan Attar. Attar through traffic slipped a quick shot into the right lower corner of the net past Torero goalkeeper Kelin Briones tying the game 1-1.

In the 58th minute the Dons again were in Torero territory when Rob Valentino from the far side of the field fired off a centering pass to Brandon McDonald who from 25 yards out put another shot past Briones for a 2-1 lead and sealed the victory for USF.

For San Francisco, the Dons posted a total of nine shots. Neil Stuart, Aaron Chandler, and Ardalan Attar all posted team high two shots. Goalkeeper Geremy Uhl allowed only one goal and recorded three saves.

For the Toreros, Ryan Guy posted a team high three shots. Michael Caso and Ciaran O'Brien posted two goals each. As a team, USD out-shot USF posting 13 shots. Briones allowed two goals and recorded no saves.

San Diego returns to action as they travel to Los Angeles on Thursday, October 12 to take on the Loyola Marymount Lions at 4:00 p.m.

Santa Clara - 2
Portland - 1

PORTLAND, Ore. - The 17th ranked Santa Clara Broncos scored twice during the first eight minutes of the second half to defeat the Portland Pilots 2-1 in a West Coast Conference men's soccer match on Sunday at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex. It's the first loss at home this season for the Pilots, who drop to 5-4-2 on the season and 2-3-0 in the WCC.

Santa Clara improves to 7-3-3 and 2-1-1.

After a scoreless first half, Santa Clara scored two quick goals after the break. On a free kick in the 47th minute, Matt Hatzke took a low shot that bent around the left side of the wall of Portland defenders. The shot was just out of the reach of UP senior goalkeeper Luis Robles and snuck inside the left post.

The Broncos made it 2-0 six minutes later. On a through ball from Peter Lowry, Sean Danzeisser was able to split two UP defenders in the middle of the field. Danzeisser sent a chip shot towards the frame from the top of the 18-yard box. The shot was perfectly placed over the head of Robles and into the top of the net.

The Pilots cut the lead in half with 4:30 left to play. Junior forward Christopher Sanders ripped a shot from the top left of the box that bounced straight back off of the far post. Freshman midfielder Collen Warner (pictured) took a shot off the rebound and found the back of the net with a low ball from ten yards in front of the goal. It's the second score this season for Warner and the first assist for Sanders.

Portland then applied pressure during the game's final minutes, but Santa Clara held on for the win.

Santa Clara had the game's first serious threat on goal 35 minutes in. On a free kick from 30 yards out, Brian Martin rifled a line drive over the Pilot wall and towards the goal. Robles was able to knock the shot down, but was unable to hold onto it. Amaechi Igwe was there to make an attempt on the rebound, but his header was high.

Portland followed with a similar sequence two minutes later. Sophomore midfielder Brayton Knapp ripped a low shot from 25 yards out. SCU keeper Joseph Buttitta laid out to save the shot with his body. The ball bounced away from Buttitta directly in front of the goal to sophomore forward Steven Hosseinmardi, who chipped it high of the frame.

The match was evenly played as the Broncos outshot the Pilots 10-9 and held a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks. Sanders led the Portland attack with three shots.

The Pilots return for another home match on Friday, as Gonzaga visits for a conference match at 7:30 p.m. at Merlo Field. The game follows a UP women's soccer match against San Francisco, which is slated to start at 4:00 p.m.