Tarek Morad's first goal of the season put UCI up two.
College Soccer News: Anteaters Sprint into Championship Match
UC Riverside vs #11 UC Irvine on November 9, 2011 at Irvine, California. UC Riverside (9-6-4,4-3-3) vs. UC Irvine (15-5-1,6-3-1)
UC Irvine wasted no time against UC Riverside taking an early lead and holding the Highlanders (9-6-4, 4-3-3) scoreless for a 2-0 win in the Big West Tournament Semifinal, punching their ticket to the Final.
Cameron Iwasa (Sacramento / Jesuit HS) knocked home the opening strike 35 seconds into the match after Christopher Santana (Bishop / Bishop Union HS) set up Marco Franco (Chino Hills / Chino Hills HS) beautifully. Franco placed a perfect cross off Iwasa’s head for the score.
Both sides continued to get chances as keepers Andrew Fontein (Las Vegas, Nev. / Sierra Vista HS) and Cody Suppe were sprawled all over the goal mouth to keep balls out. Everett Pitts (Chino Hills / Ayala HS) had a perfect header that Suppe was able to fight off. Alex Racca had a pair of chances on the other end that Fontein would stop.
UCI (15-5-1, 6-1-1) would get the scoring back on track with a brilliantly-bent shot from the top of box by Tarek Morad (Chino Hills / Mt. San Antonio College) that would bang off the right post and in for his first career goal as an Anteater and stretch the lead to 2-0.
Juan Gutierrez (Santa Ana / Junipero Serra HS) and Enrique Cardenas (Coachella / Coachella Valley HS) each had shots in the final seconds of the half, but both stayed out of the net as the Anteaters would take that 2-0 lead into the half while also outshooting UCR, 7-5.
Both squads would continue to shoot and save in the second half as the physical play continued. A total of five yellow cards were given in the match, and numerous ‘Eaters were shuttled in and out of the match with bumps and bruises.
A lot of the second half was played by the younger players like Gutierrez, Bryan Breslin (Las Flores / Tesoro HS) and Dennis Martinez (Palmdale / Knight HS), and with brilliant defense from Jake Marcon (Dana Point / Dana Hills HS) and Bello Alhassan (Ghana / Arizona Western College).
Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster / Taft College) had multiple runs at the goal leading the ‘Eaters with three shots, two of them on goal, but UCI’s offense was also held at bay, and the match would finish up at that 2-0 score.
Morad’s goal was his first, giving him four points on the year.
Iwasa now has three goals for seven points on the season. His was also the game-winner, his second on the year. Each of Iwasa’s goals have come in the last three home matches.
Assists on the night went to Christian Hernandez (Palmdale / Taft College), his ninth on the season, Franco, his sixth, and Santana, his fifth, giving them 23, 6, and 11 points, respectively.
Fontein sparkled in goal as the Highlanders put seven of their nine shots on net. Fontein saved six while the seventh save was thanks to an ‘Eater defender on the goal line. He sets new single-season highs in saves with 76 and wins with 15 as well as recording his ninth shutout.
The ‘Eaters also had a good shooting night, posting eight of their 13 shots on goal with Highlander keeper Suppe saving six of them.
As far as the opening goal, 35 seconds into the match, it was the quickest the Anteaters have scored in a match during Coach Kuntz’s tenure which spans 17 seasons. It still remains the second fastest goal in UCI history behind Simone Ferrara’s goal 11 seconds into the match for the women’s team in 1997.
UC Irvine now reaches the Big West Tournament Final for the third time in four years, and, for the third time in four years, they will meet the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara. In both previous matchups, UCI was victorious; once in 2009 at Santa Barbara, and once in 2008 at Irvine making the Anteaters 2-0 all-time in championship matches.
The match will take place Sat. Nov. 12th at 7:00 p.m. at Anteater Stadium with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UC Riverside Men's Soccer Drops 2-0 Decision At UC Irvine In Big West Semifinals
According to the UC Riverside press office:
UC Irvine scored two goals in the first half against UC Riverside on Wednesday evening, including one in the first 35 seconds of play, en route to a 2-0 win over the Highlanders in the Big West Conference Semifinals. The victory, coupled with UC Santa Barbara's 2-1 win over UC Davis, means the Anteaters will host the Gauchos in the conference Championship game this Saturday, November 12, at 7 pm PT. (Box Score)
A UC Riverside win would have virtually clinched a spot for the Highlanders in the NCAA Tournament. As it stands, they must wait five more days to learn their fate when the selection committee unveils the tournament field on Monday, November 13 at 1:30 pm PT on ncaa.com.
The Anteaters put UCR on their collective heels early as Marco Franco and Christopher Santana found Cameron Iwasa open in the Highlanders defensive 18 with just 35 seconds gone in the match, and Iwasa's subsequent header made it 1-0 Irvine.
Tarek Morad tacked on an unassisted goal in the 31st minute of play scoring from 20 yards out off of the right post to make it 2-0 UCI.
UC Riverside keeper Cody Suppe kept the Highlanders in the match with six saves, a number of which forced him to come way off of the UCR end line. But the Highlanders offense was never able to dent the back of the net, and the Anteaters had their ninth shutout of the season in hand.
Andrew Fontein Named ESPN Zone Anaheim Anteater Of The Week (Again)
Fontein and the Anteaters hosted UC Riverside on Wednesday for the Big West Tournament semi-final game, coming away with a 2-0 victory.
UC Irvine men's soccer player Andrew Fontein has been named ESPN Zone Anaheim Anteater of the Week for the second time this year.
After recording five saves and helping the Anteaters shut out Cal Poly in the conference final last week, the senior goalkeeper from Las Vegas was named Big West Defensive Player of the Week for a third time.
In addition to accumulating three awards this season, totaling five in his career, Fontein also holds several records for UCI soccer including 48 wins and 28 shutouts. He is currently ranked 3rd in the nation for minutes played with 1,863 minutes this year alone. Fontein is also a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award which honors senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. Vote Now for Andrew.
Related Articles: UC Irvine on SoccerNation