Lions Score Twice Early To Topple Bulldogs In Men's Soccer
SPOKANE, Wash. - Loyola Marymount University jumped to an early 2-0 lead, Pedro Velazquez scored twice and the visiting Lions defeated Gonzaga University 3-1 Sunday in a West Coast Conference men's soccer match at Gonzaga Soccer Field.
The Lions (5-10-3; 3-5-2) had a goal disallowed on an offside in the fourth minute, but three minutes later LMU was on the board.
LMU's Felix Ryan rifled a hard shot Gonzaga (4-13-0; 0-10-0) keeper Ryan Caballero knocked down, then Ryan got to the rebound for a second chest-high shot that Caballero was able to again knock down. Former Zag Mitch Boland took yet a third shot from close range near the far post that Caballero stopped, but Velazquez was able to get the rebound and fourth shot past Caballero at 7:27.
"Ryan made a couple of great saves on the first couple of shots. It was one of those balls no matter what you try to do you can't get out. They had the open man. It was like a pinball machine," Thorarinsson said of the rapid-fire shots the Lions launched.
The loss was the 10th straight for the Bulldogs, their longest single-season losing streak since 1992 when Gonzaga opened the season with 12 straight setbacks. Since then the Bulldogs have lost 10 straight spanning two seasons twice - the 1992-93 seasons when they lost the last two matches of '92 and the first eight of '93, and the 2003-04 campaigns when the Zags lost the last eight matches of '03 and the first two of '04.
Thorarinsson believes his team is playing well enough to win.
"They know they are playing well. Nobody from the outside has to tell them that. I just try to keep things always moving forward, and I talk to them about that; not looking back and staying positive. We are playing well. But, having said that, we are losing," the 18-year Gonzaga head coach said.
After Velazquez scored his second goal of the afternoon to put LMU in front 3-0 at 58:37, the Bulldogs cut into the lead when Clark Phillips was pulled down by LMU's Craig Nitti in the box for a penalty kick. Phillips went right, LMU keeper Paul Blanchette guessed left and the Bulldogs had their lone goal and Phillips his team-leading fifth of the season.
The Bulldogs had a couple of solid scoring chances in the first half. Nick Hamer took a thru ball and got off a shot from 8 yards that Blanchette knocked down in the 13th minute, and Lars Ludwigs had a hard shot from inside the 18 that Blanchette knocked down at the far post.
Clark Phillips had a pair of good second-half looks. His first in the 66th minute from the top right corner of the 6 went just wide right, and his shot from deep down the right flank just sailed high in the 89th minute.
The Zags nearly found the net in the 84th minute when Blanchette, who had six saves, stopped a Ludwigs shot, an Andrew Owenson shot was blocked and Zach Hamer got off a low shot off the rebound that was an easy save for Blanchette.
"We had chances, maybe not great chances but Clark had a couple of opportunities. And we had a couple of other good shots, one from Lars and one from Andrew. We're still hungry and we still want that win," Thorarinsson said.
The second goal for the Lions came when Eric Brunter was wide open in front of the net to put home a throw-in from Connor Gill, and the second Velazquez goal, his team-leading sixth of the season, came on a thru ball he dribbled deep down the left flank, cut in front and beat a defender before getting Caballero to commit low for the easy tap in.
The Bulldogs face a busy week as they enter the final week of action. The Zags will play their final home match Wednesday when the University of Portland visits for a 2 p.m. match, then conclude the season Friday at the University of San Francisco in a 7 p.m. match.
"There's no turnaround; get your muscles back and get ready for another match," Thorarinsson said. "We'll do light training Tuesday, play Wednesday and get ready for Friday again with a travel day in between."
Since Sunday was the last weekend game of the season for the Bulldogs, seniors Ryan Caballero, James Parted, Erik Nielsen and Casey Ames were honored in pre-match ceremonies.