Red Storm beat UC Irvine in third round on NCAA Tournament

December 1, 2008

When Sverre Wegge Gundhus scored a goal to put the St. John’s men’s soccer team up 1-0 in the 82nd minute against UC Irvine on Saturday, it seemed like it was just insurance.

Gundhus’ third goal of the year came just four minutes after a header goal from Trevor Chiduku that put the Storm up 2-1 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Chiduku’s goal came equipped with all the expected emotion of a game-winner, but just it was Gundhus’ that would prove to be the tally that sent the Storm into the NCAA Tournament Field of Eight with a 3-2 win.

Just two minutes after Gundhus tallied the would-be insurance, the Anteaters Irving Garcia notched his second point of the game with a one-timer that beat Red Storm goalkeeper Neal Kitson.

“I thought that we were going to be pressured after that third goal, but I didn’t think that we would let in their second goal,” Wegge Gundhus said. “It’s great that it meant that much but we should be more alert and more focused to not let in that second goal.”

Though St. John’s seemed to be controlling the action early in the first half, the Anteaters opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Amani Walker headed a long cross from Garcia to the far post. Neal Kitson dove to his left but was unable to get his outstretched arms on the ball as it when by him into the net. The 1-0 deficit meant the Red Storm would be playing from behind for the first time in months.
“It was a good performance in some areas of the box,” head coach Dave Masur said. “But defensively we need to be a little more assertive at times.”

But in the 29th minute, the Storm got on the board.

Wegge Gundhus, who was a major part of all three goals, worked the ball deep and lofted a ball to the far post that looked liked it might have been heading for the net on its own. But Joel Gustaffson, up from his position in the backfield, worked his way through a full box and powered the ball past UC Irvine goalkeeper Andrew Fontein and into back of the net.

The Red Storm had some quality chances in the second half but didn’t get on the board again until the 78th minute when Nelson Becerra danced his way into the box and left a ball for Wegge Gundhus who smashed a hard shot right at UC Irvine goalkeeper Andrew Fontein. Though he deflected it, the shot was too hot for Fontein to catch. It ricocheted straight up and Chiduku was able to beat the Anteater keeper to the rebound, and head it into the back of the net.

The Red Storm will face Indiana on Saturday at Belson Stadium in the next round of the tournament.

“Every game creates another type of challenge, another type of story,” Masur said.