MORAGA, Calif. - The NCAA Sweet Sixteen bound Saint Mary's men's soccer team returned to campus on Monday evening, entering town with a police escort and hundreds of welcoming fans on campus. The Gaels, who upset two ranked opponents last week in the NCAA Tournament, took the long but joyous bus ride back to Moraga from Irvine where Saint Mary's defeated No. 7 UC Irvine 2-1 in double-overtime on Sunday.
"The fans being there to welcome us home was incredible," said head coach Adam Cooper. "It shows how close of a community our school and our athletic department are. Our team is deeply honored and humbled to be able to bring all of the excitement and enjoy to everyone at SMC."
The Gaels were dropped off in front of McKeon Pavilion and were welcomed by friends, family, athletic administrators, professors and fans. Several signs were to be seen congratulating the Gaels, the players and encouragement on their next opponent, the Brown Bears.a
"This was such a great feeling for our entire team," said Justin Howard. "We have put so much hard work and dedication into this year that it is awesome to see the results we are getting. It was a really neat experience to see all the people cheering us on as we entered St. Mary's by way of escort. It shows what the SMC community is all about. We hope to keep doing this for many years to come!"
On Sunday, November 27, Saint Mary's will head to Providence, Rhode Island to take on Brown at Stevenson Stadium. The NCAA Sweet Sixteen match will have a 2:00 p.m. (PT) kickoff. Check back to SMCGaels.com for the weekly preview which will include all links including audio/video and live stats.