IRVINE, Calif. - Sweet Sixteen bound!
Justin Howard of the Saint Mary's men's soccer team (10-6-5) headed in the winning goal in the 103rd minute, sending the Gaels to a 2-1 victory over No. 7 UC Irvine on a stormy night on the Anteater campus. The Gaels advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen on Sunday, November 27 against Brown (12-4-3).
The Gaels struck first on Riley Hanley's goal in the 58th minute and SMC looked to be headed to the next round with under 10 minutes to play. UCI rallied to score the equalizer in the 84th minute, just six minutes away from the Gaels winning the match in regulation.
After a scoreless first 10 minute OT period, the Gaels came out attacking in the second OT period. After Malcolm Alugas fired a shot from eight yards out that was saved, the Gaels kept the ball on the UCI side of the field.
A cross into the box was headed by Trevor Newquist which found Howard near the goal as Howard headed in the game-winner in the 103rd minute to give SMC the 2-1 victory.
The statistics of the match were nearly even as UCI took 14 shots compared to 13 by SMC. Both squads attempted six shots on goal. The Anteaters attempted 13 corner kicks compared to just three by the Gaels. SMC had 14 fouls while UCI had 11 fouls. The Anteaters had the only two yellow cards of the match.
Julian Godinez led the Gaels with five shots while Howard attempted three shots, with all three coming on goal, including the match-winner. Hanley attempted two shots which included his goal to put the Gaels on top 1-0. Justin Grider was the only other Gael to attempt shots as he took three shots. In goal, Doug Herrick made five saves in 103 minutes, allowing UCI's lone goal.
Miguel Ibarra scored UCI's goal in the 84th minute while Christian Hernandez and Marco Franco attempted three shots each.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Saint Mary's and Brown in men's soccer. The Bears advanced earlier in the day, defeating the national No. 9 seeded St. John's Red Storm 1-0. This is Brown's second consecutive NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance.
The time and location of the SMC vs. Brown match-up will be released soon. Check back to the Saint Mary's men's soccer schedule page for quickest updates.