SPOKANE, Wash. - Saint Mary's College scored two first-half goals and the visiting Gaels made them stand up for a 2-0 West Coast Conference men's soccer victory Friday over Gonzaga University at Gonzaga Soccer Field.
The loss was the fifth straight for the Bulldogs (4-8-0; 0-5-0) as they remained winless in WCC action. Saint Mary's, the defending WCC champion, improved to 6-3-3, 2-2-1.
The Gaels got the only goal they would need at 19:32 when Nathan Arambula's flick-header to the near post off a free kick from 25 yards on the left side by Jose Cabeza got past Gonzaga keeper Keane Ellis, making his third straight career start in goal.
SMC added an insurance marker at 32:27 when Arambula scored his second goal of the match and the season with a high, hard kick from beyond the 18 that beat Ellis.
The Gaels nearly scored in the 10th minute when Bobby Conner's header off a throw-in was knocked down by Ellis and cleared by his teammates.
Both teams had several more chances in the opening half. Gonzaga's James Matern drilled a low, hard shot from 35 yards that SMC keeper Andre Rawls was able to dive and smother. Just minutes after the first Saint Mary's goal, Jake Stenberg nearly gave the Gaels a 2-0 lead when he came down the right flank and hit the near post from the right top of the 18.
Zach Hamer dribbled the ball deep in the 25th minute for the Bulldogs as he faked Rawls to the ground at the near post, but Hamer was unable to keep control of the ball and get off a shot.
In the 41st minute GU's Conner Bevans dribbled into the penalty box but could not get a shot off as the Saint Mary's defense collapsed on him at the near post.
Perhaps the best chance of the half for the Bulldogs was Nate Pacheco's shot from deep down the right wing to the near post that Rawls dove full extension to his right to get a hand on the ball and knock it out of bounds for a Gonzaga corner kick in the 43rd minute.
Neither team generated much offense in the second half, Saint Mary's content to sit on the 2-0 lead.
The Zags had their best chance of the afternoon denied by Rawls. Bevans took a left-footed shot to the back side of the goal but Rawls got to it just in time to shove it away. Clark Phillips nearly beat Rawls in the 89th minute when he had the ball at the end line and flicked a shot that went off the SMC keeper.
The Bulldogs held their own in the shot department as the Gaels had a slim 14-13 edge as well as a 7-5 edge in shots on goal. Ellis made one save in the first half for the Bulldogs and was replaced by Ryan Caballero in the second half who came up with two saves. Caballero made his first appearance since starting the first five matches for the Bulldogs.
Following the match the Bulldogs had a lengthy team meeting on the field.
Gonzaga remains home Sunday to face Santa Clara at 2 p.m. at Gonzaga Soccer Field.