University of San Francisco, now 3-4-2 overall and 0-1-1 in West Coast Conference play, earned their first shutout since their opening weekend on Sunday, Oct. 6 against WCC rival Gonzaga at Negoesco Stadium. After 110 minutes of aggressive play from both sides, the game ended with a score of 0-0.
San Francisco’s goal heading into this game was to play with high energy, and to put pressure on Gonzaga’s defense. The Dons came out flat in the first half, but became more aggressive as the game continued.
The Dons had one opportunity to score in the first half when senior midfielder Mauricio Diaz de Leon split two Gonzaga defenders, but placed the ball above the goal. The Dons’ offense remained active after the missed opportunity while their solid defense kept Gonzaga scoreless.
In the second half, the Dons came out looking to put the ball in the back of Gonzaga’s net. In the 61st minute, senior midfielder Vegard Karlsen fought his way through the Gonzaga defenders and shot the ball from 15 yards out, but his shot was knocked away by the fingertips of Gonzaga’s goalkeeper.
USF’s defense suddenly came under attack as the game neared the end of regulation time. Gonzaga had an opportunity to score in 75th minute, but the ball soared over the crossbar. Soon after, in the 86th minute, San Francisco fans, players, and coaches let out a sigh of relief when a Gonzaga player’s shot attempt bounced off the crossbar and was cleared successfully by the Dons’ junior goalkeeper, Chase Hauser.
As the game entered overtime, USF’s offense increased its energy. The Dons were able to put three shots on goal during the two ten-minute periods, including one by junior forward Miguel Aguilar that bounced off the goal post. At the end of the overtime period, the Dons were unable to put the ball in the back of the net, and their defense had kept Gonzaga (5-2-2, 0-0-2 WCC) from doing the same, resulting in the 0-0 tie.
Last Friday, USF lost its West Coast Conference home opener against the Portland Pilots. The Dons fell 3-2 after coming back from a 2-0 first-half deficit.
“I’m very disappointed that we lacked the energy and intensity especially on the defensive side in the first half and we really allowed Portland to set the tone and to dictate the tone of the game,” Head Coach Erik Visser said to USFdons.com.
Any momentum that the Dons were able to gain was diffused by the Pilots, who picked apart the Dons’ defense. Portland scored in the 36th minute and the 48th minute of the first half. USF tied the game in the second half, as goals from junior defender David Romney and Aguilar evened the score at 2-2. In the 86th minute, however, the Pilots scored again, breaking the tie and winning the game 3-2.
The score from USF’s home game against the St. Mary’s Gaels on Wednesday, October 9th was not available at press time. The Dons play next at Santa Clara on Friday, October 11th at 7 p.m., a game that marks the first of four consecutive road games for the team.