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Lions Win Overtime Thriller

Oct. 27, 2006

Box Score

Los Angeles, CA - Nick Blanco scored the game-winning goal with 1:12 remaining in the second overtime period to help the LMU men's soccer team to a 2-1 win over Saint Mary's in West Coast Conference action this afternoon at Sullivan Field. Junior Ybarra gave the Lions a 1-0 lead with an unbelievable goal from 45 yards out in the 57th minute, but the Gaels forced extra time with a goal in the 89th minute. The Lion offense pressed for 18 minutes before scoring the game-winner. Bobby Burling assisted on both goals and now has 18 career goals, tied for second all-time in LMU men's soccer history. The Lions improve to 9-6-2 on the season, 5-3-2 in WCC play and will wrap up their home schedule with a contest against #10 Santa Clara on Sunday at 2:00pm.

The Gaels (4-8-5, 2-5-2) opened the game strong, taking several shots in the opening minutes. The Lions finally settled down in the middle of the first half and had several opportunities. The best opportunity came in the 22nd minute when Blanco's shot from 20 yards out bounced off the post and out of harm's way.

LMU finally got on the scoreboard in the 57th minute. After Burling settled a pass at the top of the box, he crossed the ball past several Lion players who distracted the Gael defenders. That set up Ybarra's blast from 45 yards out. SMC goalkeeper Brian Mason had no chance to get a hand on the ball, which dislodged the net with the force of the shot. The goal was Ybarra's first of the season.

Lion fans thought they saw LMU take a 2-0 lead when Trini Gomez recovered a Diego Barrera rebound off the post and sent it past Mason, but the Lions were called for offsides and the goal was taken off the scoreboard.

It appeared that LMU would walk away from the game with a 1-0 victory, but the Gaels spoiled those plans in the 89th minute. A foul in the SMC half of the field set up a free kick for goalkeeper Mason. He sent a long bouncing kick into traffic, and after several bounces, Matthew Fitzgerald got his head on the ball and touched it past LMU goalkeeper Robert Flores for the equalizer with 1:17 on the clock.

Burling nearly gave the Lions the win with 40 seconds on the clock in regulation with a soft shot right in front of the goal, but Mason used every inch of his body to push the ball out of the goal and force extra time.

The Lions continued to pressure the Gael defense in the first overtime period, forcing Mason to make three saves in the 10 minute period. Blanco and Diego Barrera had several shots roll just wide in the second overtime period, and finally the Lions were rewarded for their efforts with 1:12 on the clock. The ball was played into the box to Burling who headed it to Garrett Maloney. The sophomore defender redirected the ball to the feet of Blanco who stretched out to poke the ball past Mason to the far post for the golden goal win.

It's the second time in three years that Blanco delivered double overtime heroics against Saint Mary's. In 2004, the then-freshmen headed in a goal in the 104th minute to give the Lions a 2-1 win at Sullivan Field on Senior Day.

For the game, LMU outshot SMC 23-12, including a 12-8 shots on goal advantage. Blanco led all players with seven shots, and Barrera added six. Dylan Leslie led the Gaels with five shots. Flores finished the game with seven saves, and Mason made 10 stops for SMC.

LMU will wrap up its home schedule with Senior Day on Sunday, hosting Santa Clara at 2:00pm at Sullivan Field. The Lions will honor their eight member senior class in a ceremony before the game.

Saint Mary's (CA) (4-8-5, 2-5-2) vs. Loyola Marymount (9-6-2, 5-3-2) Date: Oct 27, 2006 Attendance: 477 Weather: sunny, warm

Goals by period 1 2 OT O2 Tot ------------------------------------- Saint Mary's (CA)... 0 1 0 0 - 1 Loyola Marymount.... 0 1 0 1 - 2

SCORING SUMMARY: 1. 56:40 LMU Ybarra, Junior (Burling, Bobby) - shot from 45 yards out 2. 88:43 SMC FITZGERALD, Matthew (MASON, Brian) - flick over the keeper after pass from keeper 3. 108:48 LMU Blanco, Nick (Maloney, Garrett;BURLING, Bobby) - sliding shot from headers

Shots: Saint Mary's (CA) 17, Loyola Marymount 23 Saves: Saint Mary's (CA) 10 (MASON, Brian 10), Loyola Marymount 7 (Flores, Robert 7)

- GO LIONS! -