Nov. 16, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's soccer season ended 44 seconds short Friday at Martin Field as third-ranked Santa Clara University's Chris Sauter scored his first goal of the season at 109:16 to virtually end the Bulldogs dreams of the NCAA Tournament.
Whether or not a tie over one of the nation's elite teams would have been enough to get the Bulldogs (9-6-4; 4-4-4) into the field of 48 will never be known, but the loss almost assuredly brings an end to the collegiate careers of 10 Bulldog seniors.
SCU (14-1-4; 9-0-2) moves on to the University of Portland Sunday for the regular-season finale, the Broncos already assured of the West Coast Conference title prior to taking the field on Friday. The Bulldogs and Broncos had played to a 1-1 double-overtime tie at Santa Clara in the first meeting this season.
Sauter's goal came amidst a scramble in front of the net following a corner kick by Peter Lowry. Stephen McCarthy and Lowry were credited with assists on the goal.
The sudden end sent the Bulldogs off the field disappointed, the team going 0-3-1 the last three weeks of the season and going without a goal in those four matches.
"We might have been 44 seconds from the playoffs," a dejected Gonzaga coach Einar Thorarinsson said. "A tie might have got us in (to the NCAA Tournament)."
The Bulldogs had a couple of golden scoring opportunities in the first half as the Bulldogs had the territorial advantage.
Tye Perdido, getting a rare start, broke down the left wing on SCU keeper Kevin Klasila in the fifth minute, Klasila coming 10 yards out to meet Perdido and stuffing the shot. The rebound came out to a charging John Reha who shot high to the right side over the open net.
In the 33rd minute George Josten had another close-range shot on Klasila that the freshman keeper stopped from 8 yards at point blank range.
Both teams had good looks mid-way through the second half. Reha had another shot from just outside of 6 yards that went high, Lowry had a chip shot from inside the box that sailed high and Josten dribbled down the left wing and shot high to the far post from 14 yards.
The save of the match came from Gonzaga senior keeper Vito Higgins at 79:00. Kellen Wantulok took a hard, high shot from just inside the 18 that Higgins made a leaping tip of to send the ball over the crossbar.
Brian Martin nearly ended the match seconds prior to the match winner when his ball was cleared off the goal line by the defense. The ensuing decisive corner kick followed.
SCU finished with an 11-7 shots advantage. Higgins had four saves while Klasila had a pair of saves.
Gonzaga said good-bye to 10 seniors in pre-game ceremonies - keeper Dade Smith (Bozeman, Mont.), Higgins (Kailua, Hawai'i), defender Daniel Scott (Maui, Hawai'i), defender Austin Washington (Spokane), midfielder/defender John Palladino (Spokane), forward George Josten (Idaho Falls, Idaho), midfielder/defender Grant Lundberg (Spokane), midfielder Scott Campbell (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and midfielder John Reha (Tacoma, Wash.).