By Kimberly Paschal | Sports Editor

Maleah Milner saves a shot to preserve the Gaels’ 1-0 victory against Pacific. (Courtesy of SMC Gaels)

On Saturday, Nov. 4, Gaels fans saw an exciting double-header with men’s and women’s soccer taking on the Pacific Tigers. The day started off at noon with a men’s soccer match. The Gaels tied 0-0 after double overtime. Men’s soccer is now in fifth place in WCC standings with eight conference points. Following the men’s match, the women took the field to celebrate Senior Day and defeated the Tigers 1-0. The women finished their season 7-11-1 overall and 3-5-1 in WCC action.

The first half went scoreless with a tough defensive battle between the Gaels and Tigers. In the 17th minute, the Gaels almost took a lead with Jakub Svehlik’s shot in the 18-yard box, but Pacific’s keeper Curtis Goldsmith saved the Tigers. The first 20 minutes of the match had the Gaels’ strong defense hold the Tigers to no shots. In the opening 45 minutes, both teams had a combined seven shots, and only one was on frame.

Lucas Andrews almost launched the Gaels over the Tigers with a shot on goal with 20 minutes remaining, but the shot was saved by a Tigers defender. Stephen Dougherty curled a free kick outside the 18-yard box at the 76th minute, but the shot hit the fingertips of the Tigers’ keeper and bounced off the left post. With the match tied 0-0 at the end of regulation, the Gaels and Tigers headed into overtime. Both teams had a combined nine shots in overtime and double overtime. Pacific almost took the match with a shot on goal, but a strong save by Remi Prieur forced a corner kick and the 0-0 draw.

Saturday’s match is the sixth time this year the Gaels have gone into extra time. The Gaels host their final match of the regular season against the Portland Pilots on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 1:00  p.m. Saint Mary’s will also honor seven seniors in celebration of Senior Day.

The second part of the Saturday afternoon doubleheader was a women’s soccer matchup also against the Pacific Tigers. The Gaels celebrated five seniors: Valerie LaForge, Hannah Diaz, Jaslyn Gullien, Jackie Dutton, and Heather Seybert.

The match went scoreless in the first half with a solid defense against the Tigers. The Gaels forced six shots outside the 18-yard box in the first 40 minutes of the match. At the 48th minute, Anyssa Dominguez almost broke the tie with a shot from 17 yards out, but the shot was saved by Pacific’s keeper Regan Heslop.

At the 55:55 mark, the Gaels took the lead with a penalty kick off a foul by Jasmine Edwards. At the 59th minute, Pacific almost tied the match, but fortunately for the Gaels, it hit the crossbar. The Tigers had another attempt to tie the match at the 85th minute mark, but the Gaels keeper, Maleah Milner, tipped the shot off her finger to save the Gaels.

Head coach Travis Clarke said, “We played well today, and I was happy with our team’s energy. We had chances and converted on the penalty kick. Our defense did their job again, and it was great to see a solid performance in today’s match.” When asked about his five seniors, Clarke said, “I couldn’t be more proud of the senior class. They have been great to coach and have been tremendous leaders for our young team.”

The Gaels finished their season 7-11-1 overall and 3-5-1 in WCC action. As a team, the Gaels grabbed 10 conference points—the most points in conference play since 2003—which meant a lot for Coach Clarke.

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