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WCC Men's Soccer Recaps

Nov. 5, 2006

Gonzaga - 2
Santa Clara - 1 (OT)

Santa Clara, Calif. - Junior George Josten scored his 12th goal of the season 20 seconds into overtime and Gonzaga University ended the regular season Sunday with a 2-1 overtime victory over West Coast Conference champion and seventh-ranked Santa Clara University at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The victory gave Gonzaga (9-8-2; 6-5-1) third place in the WCC with 19 points, trailing only SCU (26) and USF (21). It's the highest finish for the Bulldogs since 2001 when they tied for second. The six wins are the most for the Bulldogs since the WCC adopted the double round robin 12-game schedule in 2004.

Josten, who equaled his goal output of 2005 and now has 29 career goals, won the game with a weaving solo run through the defense. After receiving the ball near midfield, Josten dribbled past three Bronco defenders and then tucked away a shot to the far post to give Gonzaga the victory. It was his fifth match-winning goal of the season. He won his second straight WCC goals and points title with 12 goals and 28 points. He was tied for the lead in both categories entering the weekend, but he had two goals in Friday's 3-0 win over Saint Mary's College.

SCU (12-4-4; 8-2-2) had already wrapped up the regular-season title. Gonzaga was one of the hottest teams in the WCC the second half of the season. After opening WCC play 0-3 with three straight road losses, the Bulldogs went 6-2-1 in WCC play down the stretch that included a 0-0 home tie with then-17th-ranked SCU and a 2-1 overtime home victory over two-time defending WCC champion and 16th-ranked University of San Francisco.

The Bulldogs won Sunday despite being out shot 20-11.

All of the scoring Sunday came in the final 10 minutes. Gonzaga freshman Ben Funkhouser got the first goal of the match and the first of his career on a breakaway goal at 81:27. A chip from the midfield sprung the product of Spokane's Eavt Valley High. Broncos' keeper Joseph Buttitta came off his line and attempted to clear the ball away, but the ball slipped by him and Funkhouser recovered the loose ball before depositing it into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

But the lead didn't last long. SCU's Amaechi Igwe scored his fifth goal of the year at 86:41. Jide Ogunbiyi got the ball on the left wing and slid a pass to Matt Hatzke who drove a low ball into the area where Igwe collected it and then blasted it past Gonzaga keeper Vito Higgins.

That set the stage for Josten's quick heroics in overtime.

In the opening 15 minutes of the match SCU sophomore Brian Martin had a great chance to put the Broncos up 1-0, Martin and Peter Lowry combining to force a turnover and Martin breaking in on the right wing with only Higgins to beat. Martin shot low but Higgins got down to make the save.

Early in the second half, Sean Danzeiser made a strong run down the right wing beating three players to free himself just inside the box. However, his low cross for Ogunbiyi was cut off by the Gonzaga defense to end the threat.

Buttitta came up big 10 minutes into the second half to keep the Zags off the board. John Reha sent a ball through to Ben Sawyer behind the defense and Sawyer had only Buttitta to beat. He attempted to chip the ball to the far post, but Buttitta dove and was able to knock the ball over the bar to keep the game scoreless.

SCU senior Erik Ustruck nearly scored midway through the second half. After picking up the ball in midfield, he ripped a 40-yard shot that beat Higgins but skimmed off the crossbar.

While SCU is guaranteed a spot in the NCAA College Cup as automatic WCC champion, the rest of the conference will await announcement of the 48-team field Monday at 1 p.m. Pacific time on ESPNEWS. USF and Gonzaga will receive consideration and USD finished the season 10-8-1 overall but 5-6-1 for fifth place in the WCC. Gonzaga went 6-3-1 in its last 10 matches.

Saint Mary's - 1
Portland - 1 (2OT)

Moraga, CA - The Saint Mary's men's soccer team concluded its season with a 1-1 draw against Portland Sunday afternoon from Saint Mary's Stadium. Seven seniors suited up for the last time as a Gael. With the conclusion of the season, SMC finishes 4-10-6 overall and 2-7-3 in West Coast Conference play.

After a back and forth intense 25-minutes in the first half where shots were rattled off the post and sprawling saves were made, the Gaels broke through.

Off a Carlos Diaz corner kick, the sophomore forward found senior Alex Christlieb near the end-line. The senior headed the ball across the box to sophomore defender Corey Heldreth who then buried the ball in the net with a header from five-yards out.

The Gaels held strong on defense until the 61st minute when the Pilots evened the score. Patrick Jurney was on the receiving end of a Christopher Sanders pass off a deflected corner kick. From five yards out Jurney volleyed in the equalizer.

From then on both teams clamped down on defense. The Gaels had some chances late in the game when Dylan Leslie rocketed a shot off the crossbar. Senior Matthew Fitzgerald also created some chances but was turned away by Portland goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Offensively the Gaels out-shot the Pilots 20-14 including an 8-5 advantage in the second half. Leslie led all players with six shots and put two on frame. Fitzgerald followed with four shots in his final showing as a Gael.

Michael Gavin led the Pilots with three shots, putting one on goal. Five other Pilots recorded two shots on the afternoon.

Making his first start of his career, David Lenser made some key saves en route to a four save afternoon. Early in the first half, the senior turned away the Pilots from point-blank range on consecutive shots. Robles tallied a game-high five saves and allowed one goal for Portland.

San Francisco - 2
LMU - 1 (2OT)

San Francisco, CA - Ardalan Attar scored on a header from close range with 6:30 remaining in the second overtime as USF (12-6-1, 7-5 WCC) earned second place in the West Coast Conference by defeating visiting Loyola Marymount (9-8-2, 5-5-2) Sunday afternoon at Negoesco Stadium.

The Dons now await notification of their third consecutive NCAA berth on Monday afternoon (ESPNNEWS, 1:00 Pacific). It would be USF's 30th bid to the NCAA postseason.

In a game that would decide second place in the West Coast Conference, the Dons prevailed in the end. It was a game that despite going into overtime tied at one, was full of offensive chances and brilliant saves. The Dons fired 21 shots and LMU 15, while USF's Geremy Uhl (8) and LMU's Robert Flores (7) combined for 15 saves.

The Lions would get on the board first when Joe Stoakley scored on a full volley at 8:18 after taking a pass from Trini Gomez.

But the Dons fought back and equalized at the 65:39 mark when freshman sensation Conor Chinn blasted a shot from the far wing past Flores from nine yards after a pass from Rob Valentino.

Again the chances continued with Flores and Uhl each keeping their team in the game. Finally, USF got the goal they needed at 103:30. After LMU played the ball out of bounds on the near sideline, Tyler Ruthven made a long throw into the penalty area which was nodded backward by Rob Valentino to Attar. Attar jumped high and nodded the ball into the back of the net from four yards.

"I am very proud of what this team has accomplished and I am sure we will be rewarded with a high seed in the NCAA tournament," said Dons head coach Erik Visser. "To get 12 wins despite playing one of the top 10 schedules in the country is quite an accomplishment. We played 19 games, with just seven at home where we were 6-1.

"We did not quit when we lost three midfielders to injury, we played harder and got the job done. This was a very good Loyola Marymount team we beat today."

UCLA - 3
San Diego - 1

Los Angeles, CA - The University of San Diego men's soccer team (10-8-1, 5-6-1 WCC) posted a 3-1 loss to the UCLA Bruins Sunday afternoon at Drake Field.

The Toreros had incredible shot opportunities in the first half but simply were unable to connect. Midfielder Ciaron O'Brien sent a ball into the box to forward Michael Caso who headed a ball at the net. Bruin goalkeeper Eric Reed punched a ball deflecting it off to the side of the net which hit off the post and nearly into the net, however the ball was cleared by the Bruin defense.

Later, in the 41st minute, Bruin Midfielder Kyle Nakazawa sent a ball into the box to forward Jason Leopold. Leopold0 attempted a header but which bounced off the far post and was cleared by Torero goalkeeper Lance Friesz. The ball rolled back to Leopold who chipped it in from 10 yards out for a 1-0 lead.

Early in the second half, forward Ryan Guy centered a ball to O'Brien, from the top of the penalty box which flew wide.

The Bruins scored again when Leopoldo passed a ball up field to forward David Estrada in the penalty box who fired off a shot from 15 yards out past Friesz for a 2-0 lead.

The Bruins took another shot in the 64th minute when the USD defense tried to clear a pass by forward David Estrada which rolled to Nakazawa who fired off a shot beating Friesz to the open net and taking a 3-0 lead.

In the 72nd minute, San Diego found themselves down in Bruin territory on the attack winning three consecutive headers, the final one by Guy sent over and settled by Caso 30 yards out. Caso took a couple of touches and fired off a shot that found the right upper corner of the net cutting the UCLA lead 3-1.

The Bruins recorded a total of 15 shots. Leopoldo recorded a team high four shots, one shot on goal, a goal and an assist. Reed recorded one goal against and two saves.

The Toreros recorded a total of 11 shots. Caso had a team ghigh four shots for San Diego and recorded one goal. Friesz recorded three goals against and one save.

The Toreros finish the season with a mark of 10-8-1 overall and a conference record of 5-6-1 in the West Coast Conference. The All-Conference awards will be announced in the upcoming weeks.