MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's men's soccer team defeated San Diego 1-0 on Sunday afternoon to claim the West Coast Conference title and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels scored in the 69th minute on a strike by Jose Cabeza who kicked in the perfect pass from Emmanuel Sarabia.
The conference title is the first in men's soccer history for the Gaels and is SMC's second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance (2009 at-large bid).
The NCAA tournament bracket will be announced on NCAA.com on Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Both San Diego and Saint Mary's needed wins to claim a title as both squads came up empty in the first-half. Saint Mary's nearly scored in the 23rd minute as Justin Howard had a shot blocked and Justin Grider took the rebound and his shot was saved in the box.
The score would remain at 0-0 at halftime with SMC taking four shots while USD had taken two shots.
In the second-half, the shot count would pick-up as USD attempted seven shots compared to five by the Gaels. In the 69th minute with the match still scoreless, Sarabia dribbled to the left corner and sent a cross just inside the top of the box as Cabeza was there and kicked in the shot from about 12 yards to put SMC up 1-0.
Saint Mary's was able to keep USD from scoring the rest of the way. In the 81st minute, a USD player picked-up his second Yellow Card of the match, forcing the Toreros to play a man-down for the final nine minutes. USD was able to take two shots in the final minutes but one was blocked and the other missed high.
With two shutouts this weekend, the Gaels now have 10 shutouts on the year as SMC has been ranked in the NCAA top-5 in defense this season.
Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., the Gaels will tune-in to the NCAA Selection Show on NCAA.com to find out their opponent and location of their first-round match.
Check-back to SMCGaels.com shortly after for match information and start times.