It appears that the GU men's soccer team is ignoring all that chatter about this being a rebuilding year. After losing ten seniors from last years NCAA Tournament team, many fans thought that this season would be a struggle for the team. However, after a tough loss to Creighton, the Bulldogs have played inspired soccer the past couple of weeks, including a championship performance this weekend in the Gonzaga Nike Soccer Classic. Coming off a breathtaking comeback against UMKC, GU edged Cal State Bakersfield 1-0 in the championship game.
It was a chilly and rainy day in Spokane, and the soccer on the field was conservative and defensive on the wet pitch. The lone goal of the game came in the 9th minute, when Philippe Garre converted a cross from Bryan Mullaney. After scoring the goal, the Zags dropped into a defensive formation, and relied on Scott Barnum to protect his net. Barnum was up to the challenge, as he made three terrific saves in the second half that kept CSB from tying the game.
The GU defense was recognized for its terrific performance throughout the tournament, as Nick Barclay, Tim Muravez, and Mitch Boland were named to the All-Tournament team. Tye Perdido, who scored the game-winning goal against UMKC, was named the tournament MVP. Next up for the Zags is the opening of WCC play, as they will visit the University of Portland on Friday. This is a very winnable game for the team, and they will be looking to start WCC play with a bang.
Here are some quotes from head coach Einar Thorarinsson after the tournament.
- "Friday we showed character. Today we were resilient and endured," he said. "CSUB is a good team."
-"We could have used up more clock late in the game," he said of the final hectic 14 minutes which saw CSUB control the territorial play. "But they kept coming at us and applying pressure."