PAPILLION, Neb. -- Transfer Gabriel Gaiotto scored twice and added an assist in his Bruin debut as the Bellevue University men's soccer team opened the season with a 5-1 victory over William Penn University on Saturday afternoon at Papillion Landing.
William Penn: 0-1-0
Recap: BU 5, WPU 1
Bellevue blitzed the Statesmen in the early going, scoring four times in the opening half hour and having several other quality chances just off the mark.
Gaiotto made it a 3-0 game in the 25th minute with his headed goal off a Millward corner kick.
Ricky Reyes found his way onto the score sheet in the 28th minute. Millward slotted a ball ahead to Reyes but his first shot caromed off the post but he ripped a strike to the far side that rippled the back of the net.
Bellevue held that 4-0 lead into the break as they out-shot their guests 15-6 in the first 45 minutes.
BU wasted little time out of the break in adding to their lead in the 52nd minute. Ramy Katit played a ball from the near touchline into the box that Gaiotto banged in for his second goal of the night.
William Penn avoided the shutout scoring on a throw-in that deflected off a BU defender and into the Bruins' own net in the 53rd minute.
The Statesmen were coming off their best season in program history in 2019, a year in which WPU posted a 15-5-1 mark, a No. 19 final NAIA ranking, and reached the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in program history.
The Bruins finished with a 20-9 advantage in shots and a 5-3 edge in corners while each team was whistled for 11 fouls.
Harry Wray made four saves in goal to preserve the win.
Coach Mark Heath-Preston:
"The first 35 minutes the score could have been doubled. We played some fantastic football and I'm really happy with the performance in 100-degree temperature."
Man of the Match:
Gabriel Gaiotto -- Scored two goals and an assist and was very instrumental in the BU attack all game.
Bellevue plays their next three games on the road, beginning with Wednesday's tilt at Concordia. Kick-off is set for 8 p.m. from Bulldog Stadium in Seward, Neb.
- Bellevue improves to 12-9-4 all-time in season-openers, and 2-1-2 under Mark Heath-Preston.
- The 5 goals matched BU's output in their 2018-opening win over Doane.
- The Bruins are now 4-1-0 against teams from the Heart of America Athletic Conference dating to the start of the 2018 season.