Men's Soccer Falls To Fourth-Ranked UC Santa Barbara 3-0
SPOKANE, Wash. - It was a match that didn't get away from Gonzaga University's men's soccer team until the 79th minute, but in the end Bulldog head coach Einar Thorarinsson said UC Santa Barbara's penalty kick at 79:26 was the difference in the fourth-ranked Gauchos' 3-0 victory in the final match of the Gonzaga Nike Soccer Classic Sunday.
"I thought all of the momentum was going our way when they got the PK," Thorarinsson said. "It was unfortunate."
But he was quick to commend the Gauchos (2-0-1) as well
"Obviously, they are a very good team; a very talented, quick team. We had difficulty handling their speed and quickness, the quickness more than the speed," Thorarinsson said of the highest-ranked team to come to Spokane since third-ranked Santa Clara University in 2007.
Oregon State University captured the tournament with a 6-0 win over Manhattan College in Sunday's opener. The Beavers and UCSB each finished with 1-0-1 records after they tied 2-2 Friday, but OSU got the tiebreaker nod by virtue of an 8-5 edge in goals scored. The teams were equal in the first three tiebreaker criteria - total points 4 (3 for a win, 1 for a tie), head-to-head competition (Friday's 2-2 deadlock) and goals allowed (2 each). Gonzaga finished third with a 1-1-0 mark and Manhattan was fourth at 0-2-0.
OSU's Khiry Shelton was named the Offensive MVP with 2 goals and an assist for 5 points, while UCSB's Daniel Welsh was named the Defensive MVP.
A school-record crowd of 1,327 at Gonzaga Soccer Field eclipsed the previous school mark of 1,127 in 2007 when the University of Washington visited the old Martin Field. And while the Bulldogs had some opportunities to give the home crowd something to cheer about, they couldn't quite dent the Gauchos' defense.
UCSB got the only goal it would need at 30:35 when Nic Ryan scored his second goal of the season, taking a left-to-right cross from speedy Dion Acoff from outside the 18 and finding the upper right "V" as Gonzaga keeper Ryan Caballero had little chance to make the save.
Acoff's play caught the attention of Thorarinsson as the speedster led many UCSB rushes and presented the Bulldog defense a challenge with his speed and quickness.
"He's a very good player, probably as good of a player as I've seen in years; a player that has both speed and touch on the ball," Thorarinsson said.
Caballero made three saves in each half. He made a point-blank save on Achille Campion on a cross right in front of the goal in the 16th minute and Acoff tested Caballero with a dribble down the left side and a shot from outside the top of the 6 handled by Caballero in the 35th minute.
Freshman Parker Victor nearly tied the match in the final minute of the opening half. The Bulldogs made a good rush down the right flank and Victor's shot from 10 yards tested UCSB keeper Austin Mansker with a waist-high catch save.
The Bulldogs, outshot 9-4 in the first half, carried the play for much of the second half. The Bulldogs had four second-half corner kicks but couldn't convert. UCSC finished with a 17-10 shots advantage.
Just minutes prior to the penalty kick Caballero made a diving save as Ema Boateng took a shot from deep on the left side. Minutes later Campion converted the penalty kick, going to the right side of the net with the shot.
"There were a couple of opportunities. It (momentum) was swinging our way, but it just wasn't happening," Thorarinsson said.
The Gauchos ended all doubt at 86:17 when Goffin Boyoko added the final goal, a free kick from deep on the right flank crossed to the far post by Boateng for the goal.
The Bulldogs also lost the services of freshman Lars Ludwigs in the 72nd minute when he was hit in the eye and experienced some blurry vision. Gonzaga was without Nate Pacheco who was on the sidelines in a boot and on crutches after suffering an ankle injury in Friday's victory over Manhattan. Thorarinsson is hopeful Pacheco will be able to return in two weeks.
UCSB lost starting defender Peter McGlynn just 35 seconds into the match when he fell to the ground following a header, was motionless for a few seconds and left the field under his own power.
Gonzaga will be idle until Sept. 15 and a match at Oregon State. The Bulldogs will return to Corvallis, Ore., Sept. 21-23 for the Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic hosted by OSU. The next home match for the Bulldogs is Sept. 30 when the University of San Francisco visits for the West Coast Conference home opener.