Bulldogs Fall 2-1 At Loyola Marymount Early In Second OT
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The heartbreak continued for Gonzaga University's men's soccer team Friday when Loyola Marymount University's Sean Sears scored on a header 49 seconds into the second overtime to hand the Bulldogs a 2-1 West Coast Conference loss.
The setback was the third straight for the Bulldogs to open WCC play and came on the heels of a 2-1 home setback to the University of San Francisco last Sunday.
Sophomore Keane Ellis made his first career start for the Bulldogs (4-6-0; 0-3-0) Friday as head coach Einar Thorarinsson is giving all three of his keepers a chance to step forward and win the job. Ellis redshirted as a freshman, then broke his leg last season just days prior to the start of fall camp and was sidelined for the season. He made eight saves in his collegiate debut.
Ryan Caballero started the first five matches with Chris Lowrimore starting the last four prior to Ellis getting the nod Friday.
"Keane played okay for his first match. He came up with a couple of good saves to keep us in it," Thorarinsson said.
The decisive goal came on a free kick one-touch volley. Conor Gill went up for a header off McFarlin's free kick and knocked the ball slightly back to Sears for a one-touch to the near post.
The Bulldogs had what they thought was going to be the go-ahead goal on a hard shot by Nikolai Littleton in the 74th minute that was destined for the net. But an LMU player managed to slide to the ball and deflect it clear of the goal.
"It was miraculous that wasn't a goal," Thorarinsson said.
The Lions (3-6-2; 1-1-1) came out firing in the first half, testing the rookie Ellis twice in the early going as he was called on to make two quick saves in the first 20 minutes. The fifth LMU shot of the half resulted in a 1-0 lead as John McFarlin's left-footed shot from the top of the box beat Ellis for his first goal of the season.
The score stayed that way until 61:14 when Clark Phillips' wide open header off Littleton's free kick from the left side for his team-leading fourth goal of the season knotted the match. Phillips, the 2011 WCC Freshman of the Year, matched his team-leading goal output of a year ago. Littleton placed the ball perfectly to Phillips in front of the goal mouth.
Thorarinsson said the Bulldogs played well in the second half and the first overtime.
"All the guys put their heart into the game," Thorarinsson said.
The Lions held a 22-13 edge in shots, including a 19-9 first-half advantage. The Bulldogs had a 4-2 advantage in the first overtime, and LMU keeper Paul Blanchette made two of his five saves for the match in that OT stanza.
The Bulldogs will continue their southern California swing Sunday at the University of San Diego for a 1 p.m. match.