SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's men's soccer team left everything it had on the field, but an 82nd minute header off a corner kick proved to be the difference as the Gaels dropped a 1-0 decision to longtime rival Santa Clara Friday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Gaels fall to 6-8-4 on the season a 4-4-2 in the West Coast Conference, while Santa Clara remains in second place in the league standings with a 9-8-0 overall record and 6-3-0 mark in league play.
Despite the loss, Saint Mary's remains in third place in the WCC with 14 points after Gonzaga suffered a 3-1 defeat at San Diego. The Bulldogs are in fourth with 12 points, while San Francisco remains in fifth place with 10 points. Portland and San Diego are in the bottom two spots with nine and six points, respectively.
Saint Mary's returns to action next weekend with a season-ending road trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Gaels play at Portland Friday in a 7 p.m. kickoff, then travel to Spokane to face Gonzaga in a noon start at Gonzaga Soccer Field.
Santa Clara outshot the Gaels 14-10 in the match and 4-3 in shots on goal. The Broncos committed eight fouls, compared to seven for SMC, and owned a 9-3 edge in corner kicks.
SMC sophomore goalkeeper Lucas Champenois fell to 2-2-1 on the season after taking the loss, despite stopping three of the Broncos four shots on frame, including fine save against SCU's Keigo Kameya on a 1v1 matchup in the penalty area in the 20th minute. SCU keeper Kendall McIntosh also made three saves without giving up a goal.
Justin Howard led the Gaels with three total shots, while Gerardo Mendoza attempted two. Michael Semenza, leading scorer Alex Braman, Ever De La Torre, Bobby Conner and Jake Stenberg all attempted one shot apiece.
In the 82nd minute, SCU's Harrison Hanley floated a ball across the Gaels' net for a header by Brennan Castro that was blocked away by Champenois for a Bronco corner kick. Cesar Rocha served the ensuing corner kick and Jared Hegardt connected with a header into the corner of the net for the only score of the match.