Gabriel Ruiz scored in the seventh minute of overtime to lift the Redhawks past the Huskies 3-2 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Rarely had the stakes been higher for a matchup between the city’s two Division I men’s soccer teams.
And if Washington and Seattle University played as if their season was on the line on a chilly Thursday night at Husky Stadium, it’s because it was.
This time, it meant much more than just Seattle bragging rights. This was about survival in the NCAA tournament, and freshman Gabriel Ruiz sent Seattle University into the second round of the tournament, scoring in the seventh minute of overtime to give the Redhawks a 3-2 victory.
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Ruiz took a pass from Seattle U senior Alex Roldan, brother of former Husky and current Sounder Cristian Roldan, on the left side of the box, then rifled a shot from about 12 yards left of the box. Ruiz’s blast deflected off a UW defender into the top right corner of the net. UW goalkeeper Saif Kerawala never had a chance.
“His very first college goal was just like that,” said Seattle University coach Peter Fewing, who led his team to opening wins in the NCAA tournament in 2013 and 2015. “All our guys were yelling at him to shoot. “
And shoot he did.
“That was an explosive moment,” Ruiz said.
And with it, the pro-Seattle U crowd at a packed Husky Soccer Stadium erupted, with Redhawk fans storming the field.
Seattle University (14-3-4) advances to play at fifth-seeded Akron (16-3-1) on Sunday at 10 a.m. Pacific time after avenging a 2-0 defeat earlier this season to UW.
“This is a huge win for our guys and our program,” Fewing said. “They are our measuring stick. It’s too bad we had to meet so early in the tournament.”
The Huskies controlled the action for most of the first half, which ended in a 1-1 tie. Husky redshirt junior Kyle Coffee, who had four shots in the first half, finally broke through in the 24th minute. He took a crossing pass from Blake Bodily just in front of the goal and kicked it in before Seattle U goalkeeper Josh Adachi could get back into position.
Seattle University tied the score in the 39th minute when Sergio Rivas sent a through ball that Habib Barry ran down on the left side of the goal box, and then beat Kerawala.
Seattle U took a 2-1 lead on Rivas’ bullet from 25 yards out in the 63rd minute, but it was fitting this would go into overtime, which happened after UW’s Elijah Rice scored on a brilliant breakaway in the 80th minute.
But in the end, some team had to lose and Washington ended its season 12-7-1. UW is now 7-2-1 against Seattle U since the Redhawks rejoined Division I in 2009.
“It’s become a real good rivalry, but it’s not a lot of fun if you’re not on the winning end,” UW coach Jamie Clark said.