Men's Soccer Posts Home NCAA Victory Over Fullerton, 2-1

Photo by Meghan Laurel Photography
Photo by Meghan Laurel Photography

STOCKON, Calif. - The Pacific men's soccer team moved on to the NCAA Second Round with a 2-1 win over Cal State Fullerton at Knoles Field Thursday night behind goals from Bob Groenendijk and Spencer Vue.

Pacific (13-4-1) posted an NCAA First Round win for the second consecutive season, remaining unbeaten in both their NCAA First Round history, and on the home pitch of Knoles Field in 2017 at 7-0-0.

On a rainy night and soggy pitch, Pacific broke through on a scrum in front of the net in the 54th minute. After an initial shot by Diego Villapudua was saved, the rebound caromed around in the box until Groenendijk found it at his feet and roofed it under the crossbar for a 1-0 Pacific lead.

The Tigers stretched the advantage to 2-0 as Andres Ochoa slotted a through ball for Anthony Orendain on a run to the top of the box. Orendain put it on goal and Vue buried the rebound into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead in the 84th minute.

The goals were each the first of the season for both Groenendijk and Vue.  Groenendijk, an All-West Coast Conference defender, had handed out six assists this year before getting his first tally of the season. Vue came on as a substitute in the 69th minute and registered just his second shot attempt of the year for what stood up to be the game winner.

Cal State Fullerton, showed their meddle as Big West champions by upping the pressure in the final six minutes. The Titans forced Pacific keeper Curtis Goldsmith into a pair of saves, the second coming off a header from Bass Sarr in the 86th minute, but Sarr poked in his own rebound to cut the Tigers' lead to 2-1 with 4:53 remaining in regulation.

But the Tigers defense, which held opponents to just 1.09 goals per 90 in the regular season, clamped down and only allowed one more shot the rest of the way, an attempt from distance which sailed high and wide with 1:20 left in the game.

Pacific out-shot Fullerton 17-13 for the game and held a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal. The Tigers also earned eight corner kicks to the Titans' three.

Goldsmith finished with four saves, while Titans keeper Paul-Andre Guerin finished with five.

Up next for the Tigers is a rematch with Stanford in the Second Round on Sunday. The Cardinal are the No. 9 seed in the tournament, as well as two-time defending champions after advancing past Pacific in the Second Round in 2016.

Kickoff for the Second Round game in Palo Alto is 5 p.m. on Sunday.