OMAHA, Neb. -- Inaki Aldao netted a brace while Toby Millward scored a goal and an assist to lead the No. 6-ranked and 10th-seeded Bellevue University men's soccer team to a 3-0 victory over visiting Marymount California University on Saturday evening at Caniglia Field in the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round.
#6 Bellevue: 18-1-2
(RV) Marymount: 13-5-3
Recap: Bellevue 3, Marymount 0
The game featured challenging snowy and windy conditions with temperatures hovering in the mid-20's Fahrenheit – (-2) to (-5) Celsius – but Bellevue's experience playing in challenging conditions gave them the edge over their visitors from Southern California.
Inaki Aldao put Bellevue on the board in the 32nd minute. Morgan Penn played a ball in from the far side that a defender mistimed allowing Aldao to settle the ball in the box with time. Aldao unleashed a hard shot to the top of goal that Ramon Garcia had no chance on.
Bellevue took that 1-0 advantage into halftime which they held early in the second half thanks to a terrific stop by keeper AJ Jarvis. After saving Randy Martinez's initial attempt, the rebound came to Josip Mijic at about 12 yards and Jarvis made a kick save to keep Bellevue ahead.
A Marymount foul in the 62nd minute gave the Bruins a free kick from about 35 yards that Toby Millward hit perfectly off the underside of the crossbar and over the line.
Aldao effectively put the game to rest in the 66th minute. Millward again delivered a set piece that Aldao rose up and met with his head to steer the ball into the goal making it 3-0 for the Bruins.
Marymount managed four shots the rest of the way with two being saved and the other two going wide of goal.
Jarvis stopped all six shots on target he faced to give the Bruins their 10th clean sheet of the season. He was aided by a rigid back line of Finlay Bloodworth, Jacob Pease, and Toby Millward – filling in for an injured Andy Wilkinson – as that trio limited the Mariners chances in scoring areas and frustrated 20-goal scorer Nedin Zukanovic.
Ramon Garcia made three saves for Marymount in the loss.
Man of the Match:
AJ Jarvis – The Bruin keeper made six saves, including the crucial stop with the game in the balance on Josip Mijic to keep the Bruins 1-0 up.
Coach Mark Heath-Preston:
"AJ Jarvis, Toby Millward, and Inaki Aldao all had big moments today in the game and that's what you need in games like this. Toby's free kick was unstoppable and AJ's save was world class while Inaki again scores in a big game."
"It was a great moment for the team and I'm happy for the boys. We now have 10 days off to recover before we go again."
Bellevue faces Madonna – a 1-0 winner over 7th-seeded Lindsey Wilson earlier on Saturday – on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at OC Great Park Soccer Stadium in Irvine, Calif. with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line. Kick-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Central Time, 1:30 p.m. local time.
- Bellevue improves to 4-2-0 all-time in Opening Round Matches.
- It was the first home Opening Round Match in program history.
- The Bruins equal the furthest they've ever advanced and have a chance to better that result should they defeat Madonna.