SPOKANE, WA— The Gonzaga Bulldogs had the benefit of scheduling with four straight matches at home to open their 2016 men’s soccer season. Those four matches have come and gone and the Zags find themselves unbeaten after Sunday’s wild 4-2 win over the #16-ranked Redhawks of Seattle U (1-2-0.)
The Zags scored the first two goals of the game in the first 27 minutes, but the Redhawks tied it midway through the second half with goals seven minutes apart. Only three minutes later, GU scored the first of its two second half goals on the way to the victory. It was Gonzaga’s first ranked opponent this season and marks the third time in the last four seasons that GU has defeated a ranked team.
The win pushes Gonzaga’s record to 3-0-1 on the season, making it the first time since 1997 that GU has been unbeaten through the first four games. That season they started 4-0-0 before taking a loss in the fifth game.
“The third goal was huge for us after they came back and tied it,” head coach Einar Thorarinsson said. “I’m proud of the way the guys battled back to get the momentum back on our side.”
Graison Le got things started for the Zags in the 21st minute after two perfect passes up the field from Cavey and Kalamar. Cavey sent a 40-yard pass over the defense along the far sideline which was collected by Kalamar on the edge and passed over to Le just outside of the penalty area. Le took two touches to get clear of his defender and ripped a shot in the upper right corner for his first goal of the season.
Just five minutes later, Seattle U goalkeeper R.J. Noll was setting to hit a long ball when Kalamar rushed in and blocked the kick right back into the net. The goal was Kalamar’s second goal of the season.
The Redhawks didn’t go away easily, as they collected a pair of goals in the 61st and 68th minute from Alex Roldan and Julio Rubio to tie it at 2-2.
After the SU game-tying goal, the Zags took the momentum back less than three minutes later with a goal from Cavey. Granlund got the play started cutting through the defense before shooting a pass from the endline back to Cavey in the middle of the box, and he promptly deposited it in the net for a 3-2 lead.
Granlund then sealed the game for the Zags with a long run after Christo Michaelson headed the ball away from Seattle U deep in his own end. Granlund outran the defense with the ball and took away any hopes of a Redhawk comeback in the 89th minute for a 4-2 lead.
Gonzaga will hit the road for the first time this season on Sept. 9 when they travel to Washington, D.C., to face American University. The match is slated to start at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET.