Sept. 21, 2012
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PALO ALTO, Calif. - Craig Nitti broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth minute of overtime, heading home the golden-goal, game-winner to give the LMU men's soccer team a 2-1 victory over Stanford Friday at Cagan Stadium.
Just inside the 96-minute mark, a Stanford foul set up a free kick opportunity for the Lions. Jack McCracken sent a long centering ball to the front of the goalmouth where the 6-5 Nitti was able to head it in to the net. The goal was Nitti's second of the season and his first game-winner.
A Cardinal foul and LMU free kick set the stage for the Lions (2-4-1) first goal at the 12:44 mark. Dylan Seedman's header shot off the free kick hit the cross bar and rebounded back into play. Eric Brunter was there to follow the shot and direct it right back into the net for an early 1-0 Lion lead.
Stanford (3-4-0) picked up its offensive intensity in the second half, out shooting LMU 17-3 in the 45-minute period. Lion freshman goalkeeper Paul Blanchette made five of his season-high eight saves in the frame, but the Cardinal finally broke through to tie the score in the 81st minute. Aaron Kovar had his first shot saved by Blanchette, but the blocked ball came back into play and Kovar was able to one-touch it back into the net.
The Cardinal opened overtime with a quick header shot by JJ Koval that went high and the Lions' Juan De Rada followed with a shot of his own that also sailed high before the Stanford foul set up the game-winning opportunity at 95:55.
It was a day of firsts for the Lions as, on their first roadtrip of the season, Blanchette, a Palo Alto native, earned his first collegiate win, improving to 1-2-0. The win also marked the first in three all-time tires against the Cardinal.
LMU closes out its non-conference schedule on Sunday, traveling to Berkeley to face its third consecutive Pac-12 opponent. The Lions and Cal Bears kick off at noon at Goldman Field/Edwards Stadium. The game will also be carried live on the Pac-12 Network.