Oct. 29, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - On Senior Day it was freshman Tye Perdido who made the biggest shot of the day.
Perdido's goal 56 seconds into the second overtime gave Gonzaga University a 2-1 West Coast Conference men's soccer victory over 16th-ranked University of San Francisco on a chilly Sunday afternoon.
Perdido took a pass from Ben Funkhouser on the top left side top of the 6-yard box and put it to the far side and past USF keeper Eric Connor his left for his fourth goal of the season.
The loss snapped a three-match losing streak for the Bulldogs (7-8-2; 4-5-1) and was the first win for Gonzaga over the two-time defending WCC champion Dons (10-6-1; 5-5-0) since a 2-0 road victory in 2001. USF had won six of the previous seven meetings - the teams tied 1-1 in the first meeting last year - including USF's 2-1 home win earlier this season.
Neither team generated much offense in the first half despite the 5-4 edge in shots by the Dons. The best chance was by the Bulldogs in the 43rd minute when Perdido had a low, point blank shot from the left post bounce off the chest of Eric Connor, who had gone down to cut the angle on a low shot.
John Palladino broke up the scoreless dual at 51:49 to give Gonzaga a 1-0 lead. He lofted what appeared to be an apparent cross from the right wing that sailed to the far post and into the net. He had broken down the right wing on a nice combination from seniors Ben Sawyer and Steve Owens, both getting credit for the assists when Palladino's ball landed in the net.
Ardalan Attar got the equalizer for the Dons at 72:00, taking a pass from Aaron Chandler, dribbling to the left side and shooting to the far corner from 16 yards past Bulldog keeper Vito Higgins.
The Bulldogs had an excellent chance to go up 2-0 when John Reha's shot from the left side hit high on the left post and the defense cleared the rebound in the wide open goal box.
Both teams had opportunities to win in regulation.
Rob Valentino's shot from near the top of the 18 forced Higgins to make a diving hand save to his left to deflect the ball out of harms way.
In the final minute of regulation Reha had another point blank shot from the left side hit Connor in the chest and the rebound came to Perdido who shot it into the chest of the prone Connor.
The Bulldogs had another great chance to win in the first overtime, but Connor took a point blank shot off the foot of George Josten, the WCC's leading scorer, off his body and the Bulldogs couldn't corral the rebound.
Gonzaga held a 17-10 shots advantage, including 12-6 in the second half and overtime periods. Connor had six saves in his first appearance of the season while Higgins had three for the Bulldogs.
The match was the home finale for the Bulldogs, who finish the season with matches Friday at Saint Mary's College and Sunday at Santa Clara University. The first-place Broncos officially eliminated Gonzaga from the title chase with last Friday's win over the University of San Diego. SCU has 23 points following a Sunday victory over Loyola Marymount University while the most points Gonzaga can accrue is 19 if the Bulldogs win both matches this weekend.