Score one for defense

Defenders Turner, Bagby net first career goals in first five minutes to help UCI trounce Gonzaga.

September 01, 2010|By Barry Faulkner,

IRVINE — The UC Irvine defense was more than impenetrable in the men's soccer season opener against visiting Gonzaga Wednesday night. At least half of the Anteaters' four-man back line was also, well, indefensible.

Junior left back Jimmy Turner and senior center defender Joel Bagby each took some pregame advice from Coach George Kuntz to heart to help UCI claim a 4-0 nonconference victory that was more dominant than even the score would indicate.

Turner boomed a hooking shot into the upper right corner from about 30 yards in front just 85 seconds into the contest for his first career goal.


Bagby headed in a chip from junior midfielder Miguel Ibarra not quite three minutes later to virtually put the game away in less time than it takes to fill an order at Starbucks.

It was also the first career goal for Bagby, who, it turns out, was simply following pregame instructions.

"We gave up a couple bad goals in our preseason scrimmage at Cal," Kuntz said. "So, I told our defenders before the game to think like attackers."

The constructive words were meant to give his back-liners the right mindset to maintain optimal positioning against Bulldogs attackers. But, as it turned out, there was a more literal meaning.

"I said before the game that if defenders think more like attackers and attackers think more like defenders, we'll have a good chance to win," Kuntz said. "So [Turner and Bagby] got their first career goals, and when they came off the field, they said 'Coach, you told us to think like attackers.' "

The attack continued as senior forward Amani Walker scored in the fourth minute of the second half.

And, with most of the starters already cooling their heels on the sideline, junior Christian Hernandez added the final tally in the 83rd minute to give the Anteaters, ranked No. 20 in the College Soccer News preseason poll, an auspicious opening.

The 4-0 triumph was the biggest margin of victory in at least three seasons and the Anteaters amassed a 21-3 advantage in shots.

Junior goalkeeper Andrew Fontein was not required to make a single save to post his 10th career shutout.

Ibarra, an All-American last season at Taft Community College, had two assists in his UCI debut.

Senior forward Spencer Thompson, who took a team-high six shots, shared the assist with sophomore midfielder Zach Olow on Walker's goal.

Freshman Christopher Santana and junior Navid Torabian collected assists in the capper.

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