Pair of Branche Goals Helps Pacific Blank West Virginia

Tariq Branche. Photo by Hannah Baber
Tariq Branche. Photo by Hannah Baber

MORGANTOWN, W Va. - The Pacific men's soccer team wrapped up non-conference play on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over host West Virginia. Tariq Branche scored both goals for the Tigers in the 12th and 70th minutes and Curtis Goldsmith added four saves in the win.

Pacific improves to 8-2 overall while the loss drops West Virginia to 6-3-2 this season.

Pacific got on the board in the 12th as Bob Groenendijk sent a beautiful cross into the box from the left side that found a streaking Tariq Branche who punched it in past the Mountaineer 'keeper for an early 1-0 advantage. The Tiger offense created another opportunity in the 41st minute when Alfredo Alaca found Tyson Fox on the right side heading into the box. The senior's shot went towards the far left post and got past the diving Stephen Banick, but the ball went just wide of the goal and out of play.

Despite playing a man down in the final 45 minutes, the Tigers were able to extend their lead in the 70th minute as Branche once again found the back of the net. The sophomore fired off a shot from near the top of the box that squeezed by the goalie near the right post to make it 2-0. The Mountaineers would take nine second half shots, but Curtis Goldsmith and the rest of the Orange and Black defense denied every opportunity to preserve the shutout and hand West Virginia their first loss at home of the season.

Groenendijk's assist gives him four on the year which leads the team and ranks him third in the West Coast Conference. The clean sheet for Goldsmith gives him eleven in his career and fourth shutout of the 2017 campaign. 

Conference play begins on Oct. 7th when the Tigers take on defending WCC Champion Portland for a 7 PM kickoff. Pacific returns home on Oct. 27th to host San Diego at 7 PM and the first 250 fans in attendance will receive a free vuvuzela.