IRVINE — In a conference with a penchant for an unsightly brand of play, the UC Irvine men's soccer team showed in the Big West Conference opener Wednesday night that it maintains a preference for a more beautiful game.
The Anteaters, ranked No. 9 by College Soccer News, dominated possession in a scoreless first half and peppered the net after intermission to produce a 3-0 victory over visiting UC Riverside.
The win was the third straight for Coach George Kuntz's two-time defending conference tournament champions (8-1), who have now earned shutouts in each of their victories this season.
Junior goalkeeper Andrew Fontein made just two saves as the hosts amassed an 18-4 shot advantage.
But it wasn't until senior forward Amani Walker knocked one inside the far post in the 47th minute that UCI could fully claim the upper hand on the Highlanders (3-5-1).
The third straight "clean sheet" for the 'Eaters was, however, stained slightly by some wayward elbows, dangerous tackles and other manner of mayhem, as the visitors collected three of the four yellow cards issued and had 14 fouls, one more than those whistled against UCI.