By Tyler Bindi | Sports Editor

The Gaels traveled to Spokane, WA on Saturday and defeated long-time rival Gonzaga in an impressive 1-0 victory. (Courtesy of SMC Gaels)

The Saint Mary’s men’s soccer team began West Coast Conference play Saturday night with a huge road victory.

The Gaels traveled north to Spokane, Washington in order to take on a long-time rival, Gonzaga. The Gaels came ready to compete for the full 90 minutes and were able to come away with an impressive 1-0 victory.

This match was not for the faint of heart, as the two teams had 14 combined fouls in the first half alone. Jakub Svehlik and Jake Rudel both had great looks on net early in the game, but each were turned away by Gonzaga keeper Ben Willis. 

The deciding moment in the match came 12 minutes into the second half when defender Tobias Clauss volleyed a beautifully placed set piece into the back of the net for his first career goal as a Gael.

Gonzaga would make a strong comeback push in the final five minutes of the match, but Saint Mary’s senior goalkeeper, Andrew Konstantino, preserved the lead with a couple of huge saves.

With the 1-0 win, Saint Mary’s continued their recent dominance over Gonzaga. Saturday’s match marked the 36th time these two teams have met, and the Gaels were able to improve their all-time record against the Bulldogs to 20-12-4.

Saint Mary’s has now won five straight against Gonzaga, as well as 11 of their last 13. The Gaels improved to 4-4-3 (1-0 WCC) with the win. The loss dropped Gonzaga to 6-4-1 (0-1 WCC).

Saint Mary’s now sets their sights towards their South Bay rival, Santa Clara. The Gaels will hit the road on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:00 p.m. for this matchup with the Broncos.

Head coach Adam Cooper’s club looks to build upon their hot start to conference play with another key game away from home. Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara last met in 2016 when the Gaels came away with a 1-0 victory at Saint Mary’s Stadium.

With one road game this week, the Gaels have one more remaining road game against USF on Saturday, Oct. 21. They then return home and finish WCC conference play with four games remaining against LMU, UOP, USD, and the University of Portland.

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