Tigers Wrap up Regular Season with 3-1 Win over Gonzaga

Collin Bettencourt. Photo by Meghan Camino
Collin Bettencourt. Photo by Meghan Camino

STOCKTON, Calif. - Goals by Collin Bettencourt, Tariq Branche and Anthony Orendain propelled the Pacific men's soccer team to a 3-1 win over visiting Gonzaga on senior night. Bettencourt also added an assist in the win while Curtis Goldsmith notched a save between the posts.

The victory sends Pacific to 12-4-1 overall, 4-2-1 in West Coast Conference action while the loss brings Gonzaga to 6-9-2 this year, 0-6-1 in WCC play.

In the third minute Tristan Blackmon from the defensive zone passed to Tariq Branche on the right side, who streaked up the field and came back to the middle of the field. The sophomore ripped a left footed shot towards the far post but Bulldog goalie Ben Willis made a great diving stop to his right to keep it scoreless. The Tiger offense continued to press with five total shots in just over eight minutes. Defensively the Tigers shut down Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs didn't get their first shot of the match until the 32nd minute.

In the 59th minute Andres Ochoa lined up for a free kick about five yards beyond the box. The senior sent a shot around the wall of Bulldog defenders towards the near post, but Willis made another diving stop to null the threat. Finally in the 70th Anthony Orendain crossed from the right side to find Collin Bettencourt, who slid in and netted his first goal of the season.

Five minutes later Bettencourt found Tariq Branche on a perfect cross into the box, and Branche made it count as he punched it in to make it 2-0. Orendain joined the scoring party in the 78th to make it 3-0 as he scored his sixth goal of the year off an assist from Camden Riley on a play that replicated the previous two goals. Gonzaga would get on the board in the closing minutes of regulation as Isaiah Jackson ripped a shot far post to bring the score to 3-1.

The 21 shots by Pacific and the four allowed are both season-highs for the Orange and Black. 

At halftime the seniors Christian Aldama, BettencourtBlackmon, Tyson FoxGoldsmithOchoa and Spencer Vue,  who were playing in their final regular season home match, were honored. These seven were the first class for the revamped program four years ago, and all had an outstanding performance on Saturday night.

"You're looking at guys who chose to come here when there was no program in existence," said head coach Ryan Jorden. "They came here with an idea of what it could be and I think last year we acted to fruition on it with the NCAA Tournament win. The seniors have been unbelievable; obviously the performance tonight was terrific against a good team. We put ourselves in a situation where we controlled the match the way we wanted to and each and every one of them did outstanding."

The Tigers will tune into the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, which airs online at 10 AM PST.