Baca, Lions Do It Again, Beat #5 Dartmouth 3-2
Junior scores twice as LMU knocks off second top-10 opponent
Sept. 20, 2009
San Diego, Calif. - Another Sunday game. Another top-10 opponent. Another LMU victory. Junior Rafael Baca scored two goals, including the game-winner in the 82nd minute, as knocked off its second top-10 opponent in a week, downing #5 Dartmouth on Sunday morning at the San Diego Nike Classic. The 18th-ranked Lions (4-2-0) jumped out to a 2-0 lead, then held off a furious rally to hand the Big Green (4-1-1) their first loss of the season.
A week ago, LMU upset then-#6 UC Santa Barbara to catapult into the Soccer America top-25. They look assured of staying there with their win over the Big Green. The Lions took only two shots in the first half but made the second one count as senior Steffen Canty finished off a free kick. With 1:24 left in the period, the Lions sent in a free kick from 30 yards out, where senior Andrew Kristof fed Canty, who beat Dartmouth goalie Sean Donovan for his first goal of the year and fourth of his LMU career.
Canty was involved in Baca's first that doubled LMU's lead six minutes after the break. On a counterattack that started on LMU's defensive end, sophomore Roger Downes found Canty upfield, who sent a pass to Baca. Baca's shot snuck inside the far post.
The Lion lead would remain at 2-0 until Daniel Keat scored twice within the span of five minutes to pull Dartmouth level. In the 75th minute, Bryan Giudicelli crossed to Keat, who bicycled his finish to cut LMU's lead in half.
After Keat's second of the game drew Dartmouth level, Baca took over to give the Lions the lead back to LMU just two minutes later. Off a corner kick by sophomore Logan McDaniel, the ball was cleared out of the box to senior William Johnson, who played it to Baca at the corner of the 18-yard box. Hitting his shot on a volley with the outside of his foot, Baca navigated his low shot through the crowd and into the net for the game-winner. It was the Hermann Trophy candidate's team-leading fifth goal of the season, tying his career-high set last season, and 12th of his career.
"That was one of the best goals I have ever seen live, at any level," said Associate Head Coach Mathes Mennell. "Rafa has shown time and time again why he should be considered one of the best players in the country."
Dartmouth would mount one last furious attack in search of another equalizer but a combination of the Lion defense and sophomore goalkeeper Jack McCormack kept the attack at bay. The Big Green took five shots in the final 8:34 but three were blocked, McCormack saved one, and Giudicelli's attempt went wide on the game's final attempt.
McCormack stopped three shots to improve to 2-0-0 this season. Donovan had one save for the Big Green, who held an 11-8 shot advantage. At the conclusion of the tournament, both Baca and Canty were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
LMU improved to 2-1-0 against ranked opponents this season and has now recorded at least two victories over a top-25 squad in eight of the last nine seasons. They also ran their unbeaten streak against Ivy League schools to three games.
The Lions close out their non-conference schedule next week with a home and away match. On Thursday, LMU hosts UC Riverside at 4 p.m. Then they travel to Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday for a 7 p.m. in a game that has been pushed back to a 7 p.m. kick-off.
San Diego Nike Classic All-Tournament Team: