Oct. 3, 2010
MORAGA, Calif. - Like at the start of the regular season, LMU made it a perfect weekend to start the West Coast Conference campaign, shutting out Saint Mary's 1-0 on Sunday at Saint Mary's Stadium. Sophomore David Ponce scored the game's only goal in the 17th minute for the Lions (6-3-1), who improve to 2-0-0 in WCC play for the first time since 2004 and take over sole possession of first place in the conference standings after the opening weekend.
With both teams coming off of 1-0 victories on Friday, this was an important fixture for the Lions to complete their eight-game road trip with their first sweep in the Bay Area since 2002. After Saint Mary's (5-3-1, 1-1-0 WCC) registered the first two shots of the game in the opening five minutes, LMU used an offensive push that resulted in Ponce's game-winner.
In the 15th minute, LMU won a corner kick and junior Roger Downes began the onslaught with a header that was blocked. The rebound came to junior Phil Da Silva, whose shot brought the first save from SMC goalie Doug Herrick.
Two minutes later, LMU was in front. Junior Jonas Reiter and senior Rafael Baca provided the service, with Baca finding Ponce eight yards out on the left side. The sophomore transfer from UC Santa Barbara's finish was clinical, beating Herrick to the right corner for his second goal of the season. Ponce's other goal this year was also the game-winner, when he scored in overtime to beat Kentucky 1-0 on September 10.
Baca, the Preseason All-American, continues to play provider for the Lions as he registered his WCC-leading sixth assist of the season. The six assists move him into a tie for 10th on the LMU single-season charts and are the most by a Lion since Armando Melendez had eight in 2004. Baca also moved into a tie for fourth place on the LMU career assist list, as his 17 as a Lion place him alongside Andres Murragui (1999-2002).
Following Ponce's goal, the rest of the first half contained little chances for either side, with junior Artur Jozkowicz's
header drawing Herrick into a save in the 28th minute proving to be the only other real chance.
The game opened up more in the second half, as Saint Mary's pushed forward looking for the equalizer. Junior goalkeeper Jack McCormack was again stellar, however, making five saves, all in the second half, for his second straight clean sheet and fourth of the season.
All afternoon long, the Gaels had little answer for Ponce, who attempted a match-high five shots, including putting four on target. One of those was unlucky not to give him his second goal of the game when it clattered off the post in the 71st minute.
Saint Mary's finished with a 14-10 shot advantage and a 9-1 edge in corner kicks but came away empty-handed at home against the Lions for the second straight season. LMU won 2-0 in Moraga in last year's season finale.
Having now won two in a row and unbeaten in its last four, LMU concludes the eight-game road trip having gone 4-3-1. The Lions return to Sullivan Field next week for the first time since September 5, opening up a three-game homestand with a visit from Gonzaga on Friday at 3 p.m. LMU will then host #25 Portland on Sunday at 1 p.m.
- GO LIONS -