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WCC Men's Soccer Recaps

Nov. 16, 2007

Portland - 4
Cal Poly - 3

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The No. 25 Portland Pilots case for an at-large NCAA playoff bid got a big boost with a dramatic come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Cal Poly Friday evening. Junior Bryan Irwin buried the game-winner in the 89th minute, less than a minute after the Mustangs had equalized, to extend the Pilots' unbeaten streak to eight matches.

The game-winner came at 88:42 when junior Alex Elliott sprinted down the left flank and sent a low cross to the near post. Irwin got on the end of the pass and redirected the ball into the right corner with the outside of his right foot. The goal came just 58 seconds after Cal Poly tied the score at 3-3 on a corner kick.

"We adapted well after the half and got three good goals to win this thing," Portland head coach Bill Irwin said. "The guys stuck with it to the final horn and were confident the entire match. Even trailing at the half, we felt like we were going to win."

Portland (10-4-5) has now won five matches in a row, perhaps none more important than beating the Mustangs (10-4-4)) on the road. Cal Poly was ranked No. 31 in the latest NCAA RPI ratings, while Portland was No. 42. A total of 48 teams get in the men's tournament and the Pilots have positioned themselves well with the late season run.

Irwin finished the game with two goals and an assist, while Elliott added a goal and assisted on the game-winner.

It was a quite the back-and-forth affair on Friday as momentum shifts were frequent and furious between the two sides. The evenly played match finished with 11 shots for each team, including seven shots on goal per side.

Portland freshman goalkeeper Austin Guerrero made three saves, while Cal Poly's Collin Sculley also stopped three shots. The Pilots defense also cleared an attempt off the line early in the match.

The Pilots got on the board first when Irwin took a cross from junior Leland Wright. Sculley came off his line and deflected the cross, but Irwin got to the loose ball and finished to the open net.

The Mustangs answered with two consecutive goals to take a 2-1 lead. In the 28th minute, Julian Alvarez notched his sixth goal of the season, rebounding a shot that was cleared off the line by the UP defense and finishing past Guerrero. Daniel Gray put Cal Poly on top in the 39th minute with a 10-yard strike off a pass from Josh Didion.

After the halftime break, Portland re-took the lead with goals from Elliott and freshman Frankie Lopez. Elliott tallied his team-leading seventh goal in the 50th minute off a corner kick taken by senior Michael Gavin. Lopez corralled a cross from Irwin drilled a 12-yard shot over the head of Sculley.

That set up the dramatic 88th minute goal by David Zamora, cleaning up the mess after a corner kick scrum to equalize at 3-3, and Portland's game winner seconds later.

"We have a lot of goal scorers on this team," Irwin said. "We are full of confidence right now and believe that we are going to win every game. Tonight was an important result, but now we've got to shift our focus to Santa Clara."

Portland will have one final opportunity to make another big impression on the NCAA selection committee when the Pilots host WCC rival and No. 3 ranked Santa Clara at Merlo Field on Sunday at 3 p.m. The Broncos have already clinched a playoff berth and the WCC title, while Portland is second in the league standings.

"Our guys are looking forward to the (Santa Clara) match," Irwin noted. "It will undoubtedly be a battle, but we'll be ready to bring it. This team wants to keep playing into the playoffs and we're definitely playing like a postseason team right now."

San Diego - 3
Saint Mary's - 1

MORAGA, Calif. - University of San Diego sophomore defender Tim Grey scored the game winning goal as well as notching a second goal lifting the Toreros (10-8-1, 7-3-1 WCC) to a 3-1 West Coast Conference victory over the Saint Mary's Gaels (6-9-2, 2-7-2 WCC) on Friday Afternoon from Garaventa Field.

San Diego responded with an attack and on their first shot of the game, USD scored the first goal in the third minute of the match.

Junior midfielder Eddie Ahman dribbled the ball into the right corner on the far side. Ahman crossed the ball perfectly in the penalty box where Howlan fired off a header to the far post past SMC goalkeeper Keenan Flynn.

San Diego held its 1-0 lead into halftime, but the Gaels outshot the Toreros 6-3 in the first half, had four shots on goal compared to two by USD. Both teams had one corner kick at the intermission.

In the 48th minute, USD scored again similar to the Howlan goal, only Howlan passed off to Tim Grey who finished the play with a header inside the left post.

The USD lead reached 3-0 when Grey scored his second goal of the game and of the season. For the third time in the game, San Diego scored on a header, but this cross came off a free kick from just outside the left corner of the penalty box. Fabrice Gautrat swung the left-footed cross into the box, and Grey out-jumped a Saint Mary's defender to push the ball into the back of the net.

Saint Mary's answered in the 80th minute when Justin Kim scored his first goal of the season. Just like the San Diego goals, Kim also scored on a header. The shot came following a corner kick off the foot of Eric Robert from the right corner.

The Toreros were out-shot 14-7 by the Gaels. Goalkeeping duties were split between junior Kelin Briones and freshman Mike Sinodis combining for eight saves. SMC goalie Flynn made only one save.

San Diego will finish their 2007 season against the University of San Francisco Don's on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at Negoesco Field.

San Francisco - 4
LMU - 0

San Francisco - The San Francisco Dons snapped a three-game skid, exploding for a season-high four goals in a 4-0 shutout victory over Loyola Marymount at Negoesco Stadium on Friday night.

The Dons got goals from four different players, and sophomore Conor Chinn assisted on three scores as USF improved to 7-10-1 and 3-7-1 in WCC play. LMU falls to 3-15-1, and 1-10-0 in conference action.

Jesse Henderson struck first for the Dons, burying a shot from the top of the box just past diving Lion goalkeeper Patrick Lane in the 17th minute. The Dons added a second score less than three minutes later, as Jordan Keyes knocked in a rebound after a shot from Chinn was saved by Lane.

USF kept the pressure on in the second half, with Brandon McDonald scoring his first goal of the season on a header from a Daniel DeGeer corner kick just three minutes after intermission. DeGeer closed out the scoring for the evening, picking up his third goal of the year after Chinn dribbled in to the box and beat the Lion defense to find DeGeer.

The Dons out-shot LMU by a 16-5 margin for the contest, with Ben Dessard leading the team with three shot attempts. Brad Stisser led the Lions with a pair of shots on the night.

San Francisco closes out the 2007 season at home against San Diego on Sunday. The contest is slated for a 2:00 PM.

Santa Clara - 1
Gonzaga - 0 (2OT)

SPOKANE, Wash. - The No. 3 Santa Clara men's soccer team's unbeaten streak reached 16 games Friday afternoon with a 1-0 overtime victory against Gonzaga at Martin Field. Chris Sauter scored the overtime winner on a header with under a minute left in the game. Santa Clara is now 14-1-4 on the season and 9-0-2 in West Coast Conference play.

The winning goal came after a corner kick from Peter Lowry. The Gonzaga defense cleared the ball out, but it was sent back into the box by Stephen McCarthy. Sauter got free of his defender and headed the ball over the line. The ball just slipped across the goal line as a host of Bulldogs defenders attempted to clear the ball away. The goal was just the second of Sauter's career and the second overtime winner for the Huntington Beach native. He also scored in overtime to beat San Diego in 2006.

Bronco goalkeeper Kevin Klasila had another strong match and earned his seventh shutout of the year, while pushing his record to 10-0-3 on the season. He made two big saves early in the match to keep SCU in the match. Five minutes in, he came off his line to stop Tye Perdido from close range. Then with under 15 minutes to go in the first half Klasila stopped a point-blank shot from Gonzaga's George Josten to keep the game scoreless.

Santa Clara had two chances late in the game, but the Broncos were denied by the Gonzaga defense. Bulldogs goalkeeper Vito Higgins made a diving save of a Kellen Wantulok shot with 11 minutes left. In the final seconds of the game, junior Brian Martin had his attempt at the game-winner cleared off the line.

In the second overtime, the Broncos continued to push forward looking for the winner, but Higgins was up to the task. He stopped Lowry and Wantulok, but Sauter eventually got the goal that the Broncos needed.

With the win, Santa Clara is still alive for a bye in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The seedings for the tournament will be announced on Monday, Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m. PT on ESPNews.

The Broncos finish the regular season on Sunday, Nov. 18 on the road against the Portland Pilots. The game kick