Oct. 31, 2008
Los Angeles, CA - Sophomore Rafael Baca scored the game's lone goal as LMU defeated Saint Mary's 1-0 in a crucial West Coast Conference game at Sullivan Field on Friday. The win, which snapped a four game winless streak, vaulted the Lions (5-6-5, 3-4-1) into third place in the WCC pending results of Friday night's other conference games.
The game got off to a rough start as LMU lost freshman Tyler Krumpe to an injury two minutes into the first half. Krumpe collided heads with Saint Mary's Emmanuel Sarabia, with Krumpe coming away worse. Both players left the game with head wounds but Sarabia returned in the second half. From there, most of the play was in the midfield during the first half as the teams combined for one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes.
The first shot, by LMU senior Brad Stisser, came more than 16 minutes into the game and it was blocked away from the net. Sophomore Vincent Ocampo put the only shot of the half on net, an easy save for Gaels' goalie Jason Badger.
Saint Mary's had the best scoring chance of the half when they had a goal off a corner kick waved off due to offsides. The Gaels didn't register their first, and only, shot of the half until there was a little more than two minutes to go before halftime and that attempt sailed wide.
Both teams had more chances in the second half. LMU turned their first chance into a goal by Baca in the 49th minute. The goal came almost out of nothing. Junior Steffen Canty sent a ball over the top from inside the Lion half to Baca streaking down the right side. Without much hesitation, Baca volleyed a blast from 20 yards that streaked past Badger's outstretched arms and ripped into the side of the net. It was Baca's team-leading fourth goal of the season and snapped LMU's three-match scoreless drought. Junior Wilkie Johnson assisted along with Canty on the play.
The Lions had another great chance with a little less than 13 minutes to go in the game when freshman Phil Da Silva
dribbled and juked his way past a couple defenders before shooting a low ball that Badger dove to his right to save. The shot was one of Da Silva's three on the game, tying him for the game-high with Baca and Stisser.
The Gaels weren't without chances of their own, though. Their best opportunity came in the 86th minute when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Left-footed Jared Medina blasted a shot over the defending wall and away from junior goalkeeper Patrick Sampson but the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and off the ground before it was cleared. Despite the close call, Baca's goal stood up in the first win for the Lions over Saint Mary's since 2006.
The win meant a lot for Head Coach Paul Krumpe and the Lions. "I felt bad for the team after our two losses against San Diego. I thought we played well in both games but we didn't get the results," he said. "It was good for us to get a win and a shutout of our own today."
Sampson ended up with three saves in the game while Badger had six for Saint Mary's. The shutout was Sampson's fourth of the season and first since blanking Portland 1-0 on October 10.
The Lions head up to the Pacific Northwest next Friday to play Portland at 7 p.m. Their final road trip of the season ends Sunday at Gonzaga.
- GO LIONS -