BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Saint Mary's men's soccer team is on to the next round after defeating No. 25 CSU Bakersfield in NCAA Tournament first-round action. In the 41st minute, Tom Mohoric headed in a free-kick from Julian Godinez and the Gaels held off the Roadrunners for the rest of the match.
With the win, Saint Mary's improves to 9-6-5 and will face No. 7 UC Irvine on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. on the Anteater campus.
The win was SMC's first NCAA Tournament win, after the 2009 squad lost a 4-0 decision at Stanford in the Gaels' only other tourney appearance.
The match was played in front of a CSUB record setting crowd of 2,207 fans. With the match nearly scoreless the entire first-half, Godinez sent a free-kick into the box as Mohoric was on the receiving end to head in the ball. The goal was Mohoric's second of the year and Godinez had his team-high seventh assist.
At halftime with the Gaels leading 1-0, both squads had attempted six shots and CSUB had a 5-1 edge in corner kicks.
In the scoreless second-half, CSUB outshot the Gaels 7-2 and finished the match with a 13-8 total advantage. The Roadrunners held a 9-3 edge in corner kicks and the foul count was 13-9 Saint Mary's. There were three yellow cards issued in the match with two called on the Gaels.
Doug Herrick was in goal for the Gaels with his third consecutive shutout. Saint Mary's has now shutout its last three opponents, winning each match by a 1-0 score. SMC is up to 11 shutouts in 2011.
Saint Mary's now heads to Irvine to take on the Anteaters on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. on the UCI campus. Saint Mary's is 5-3-1 all-time against the Anteaters, with the last meeting resulting in a 2-1 SMC win in 2OT at Irvine.