Nov. 10, 2005
SPOKANE, Wash. - A typical soccer game lasts 90 minutes.
The Santa Clara University men's soccer team wished it was just a little longer as Hector Guzman's apparent game-winner was a fraction of a second late in crossing the goal line and Gonzaga went on to a 2-1 overtime victory this afternoon at a soggy Martin Field.
Despite outshooting Gonzaga by a wide 22-9 margin, the Broncos dropped their second-consecutive match and lost in overtime for the first time this season when Grant Lundberg scored for the Bulldogs in the 97th minute.
Eleventh-ranked Santa Clara fell to 12-5-2 on the season and 6-3-2 in the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga improved to 7-8-4 overall and 5-4-2 in league play. A number of scenarios remain that would provide the Broncos the regular-season WCC title. The fact of the matter is that a SCU win or tie on Saturday at Portland would ensure no worse than a share of the regular-season WCC title.
"Tactically, Gonzaga did what they had to do to win the match today," said SCU head coach Cameron Rast. "They played a similar style as several other teams have played us this year... to bunker in defensively then look for a counterattacking opportunity. Today it was a very effective tactic. The win keeps them in the race for the conference championship and it puts our backs up against the wall, quite frankly."
Following a scoreless first half during which Santa Clara outshot Gonzaga by an 11-4 margin, the Broncos were unable to take advantage of consecutive shots by senior Jeff Scott, a corner kick by Mehdi Ballouchy and, in the 54th minute, a shot by Peter Lowry that was blocked.
Just over two minutes later, in the 56th minute, Gonzaga's George Josten scored his first goal of the season and put the Bulldogs up 1-0. Teammate Nick Heinrichs made an individual run from midfield before passing to Josten, who cut unmarked across the top of the penalty box and connected on a shot that bounced off the back post and into the net.
In the 75th minute sophomore defender Jamil Roberts took a shot from the right side that hit the post. Just :17 seconds later, Roberts scored from 18-yards out on a set piece with assists by Lowry and Ballouchy to tie the score at 1-1.
Immediately prior to the end of regulation, Hector Guzman blasted a hard, bending shot from approximately 30 yards away past GU keeper Dade Smith for an apparent game-winner as the horn sounded. Referee Steve Elliott determined that Guzman's shot, although taken prior to the sounding of the horn, did not cross the goal line in time and disallowed the goal.
"No doubt, that was disappointing," said Rast. "But, I think the referee probably made the right call. It was just unlucky for us since Hector made a great shot which would have won the game for us."
Less than a minute into the first overtime period, SCU goalkeeper Kevin Sweeny saved a long one-hopper from Gonzaga's Mark Stock. He quickly put the ball in play and Eric Ustruck nearly capitalized on a quick goal from the right side but his sliding shot went just wide of the post.
In the 96th minute, senior Alex Tablin-Wolf gathered a cross and launched a shot that was claimed by Dade, who made a quick outlet to start a Bulldog counterattack. Mark Stock played the ball across the top of the box and slipped it to an open Lundberg in front of the goal for the game-winning shot.
Santa Clara returns to action Saturday for a 7 p.m. match at Portland. Live Internet coverage will be available on SantaClaraBroncos.com
"We still control our destiny as far as the WCC championship is concerned," noted Rast. "We need to play sharper in the attack and finish strong heading into postseason."