Nov. 29, 2008

Courtesy of St. John's

QUEENS, N.Y. - Sophomore Sverre Wegge Gundhus tallied his second-straight game-winning goal and also added an assist as the St. John's men's soccer team advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 3-2 win against UC Irvine. Joel Gustafsson and Trevor Chiduku each added goals, while Nelson Becerra tallied an assist. Neal Kitson made one save for St. John's (18-2-3). Amani Walker and Irving Garcia each had a goal and an assist, while Andrew Fontein made one save for UC Irvine (15-2-6).

"UC Irvine is a deep team with a lot of talented and physical players," said head coach Dr. Dave Masur. "I thought we played with a lot of intensity and were able to take advantage of opportunities around the net."

UC Irvine took an early 1-0 lead with a goal in the 14th minute. After working the ball down into the right corner, Irving Garcia sent a centering pass towards the far post. Amani Walker then headed the back towards the near post to beat Kitson and put the Anteaters on the board.

Rory Quinn took the first shot for the Red Storm in the 18th minute, but sent his attempt wide. Pablo Punyed followed with a great effort in the 23rd minute, but the shot sailed just over the bar.

In the 30th minute, Gustafsson would tie the score at 1-1. After a foul gave St. John's a free kick, Wegge Gundhus sent the kick into the wall. The rebound went right back to Wegge Gundhus and he sent a pass into the box. Gustafsson broke through and dove towards the goal, sending a header past the keeper to tie the game.

Spencer Thompson sent a shot on net in the 44th minute for UC Irvine, but Kitson made the save and the game remained tied 1-1 at halftime.

UC Irvine had the first chance in the second half, but Carlos Aguilar sent a shot high in the 48th minute. Matt Murphy followed with a shot just wide in the 62nd minute. Aguilar had his next shot blocked in the 65th minute, just before Walker sent a shot high in the 66th minute.

Ryan Soroka chased down a great forward pass from Tadeu Terra in the 71st minute, but sent a shot just wide.

Murphy broke through in the 72nd minute to take a shot, but Ben Clack dove to block the attempt. Murphy sent another shot wide in the 76th minute.

Wegge Gundhus then sent a great shot on net in the 78th minute, but Fontein made the save by tipping the ball up into the air. Chiduku then chased down the rebound and headed the ball into the open net to give St. John's a 2-1 lead.

St. John's quickly made it a 3-1 game with a goal in the 83rd minute. After working the ball down the left side, Becerra sent a centering pass into the box. Wegge Gundhus then sent a one-timer into the back of the net from 12 yards out.

UC Irvine, however, responded in the 85th minute. After a pair of shots were blocked, Walker collected a rebound and sent a forward pass into the box. Garcia then blasted a one-timer past Kitson to bring the score to 3-2.

Becerra had the final scoring chance of the game, but had his shot blocked in the 90th minute.

St. John's advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals and will host Indiana at 5 p.m. on Dec. 6.

Notes: St. John's improved to 11-0-0 at home ... the 11 home wins for the Red Storm is a new school-record, eclipsing the 10 wins in 1997 ... Wegge Gundhus has two goals and one assist in the NCAA Tournament ... Kitson now ranks tied for second all-time with 18 wins in a season ... St. John's improves to 16-4-1 at home in the NCAA Tournament.