The men’s soccer team finished their six-game homestand on Saturday undefeated, and remain unbeaten at home with one more game scheduled for Interbay. The Falcons opened the week by defeating Colorado Christian College on Friday by a score of 4-1.
In the opening seconds of the game, SPU freshman forward Grant Falco and Colorado’s senior midfielder Joe Diedrich went up to head a ball and collided. Both players went down, but Diedrich, one of the top returners for the Cougars never got up. He lost consciousness and suffered considerable bleeding from the back of the head. Play was stopped for about 25 minutes as an ambulance came and he was taken to Harborview Medical Center.
Both teams were praying on the field after the collision, and groups of fans could be seen praying as well.
As of Tuesday night Harborview would not realease information on Diedrich’s injuries, and efforts to contact coach Gary Evans were unsuccessful because of his travels with the soccer team.
When asked about the impact of losing one of his four seniors, Colorado Christian coach Gary Evans said, "Ever since we were here last time two years ago he’s been looking forward to coming back here… It took away so much from our offense… It was a huge loss for us."
After play resumed, the Falcons dominated the game with the offense controlling the ball, and the defense allowing only six shots on goal. Senior midfielder Alex Vandamme opened the scoring in the 21st minute with an 18-yard shot. Ten minutes later he assisted on freshman forward Mike Schefter’s third goal in two games. "My teammates set me up with some perfect passes," Schefter said, not wanting to take all the credit for his accomplishments.
Coach Cliff McCrath was very pleased with the play of his team and especially with some of the reserves.
"The first 15 minutes I thought we could have had four or five great opportunities for goals so we took some guys out, and Matt Peterson and Mike Schefter lit the place up," McCrath said.
He added that Bob Schefter also played great.
"I think he’s the best crosser of the ball on the team… We just gotta figure out how to get him in there more."
With the game well in hand, the Falcons were able to play the reserves for most of the second half, and rest their starters for Saturday’s game against seventh ranked Barry.
Senior goalie Johann Noetzel was able to rest for the last 30 minutes of play to help protect the hand that he hurt in the victory over Wheaton. He was kept out of practice during the week, but cleared by the doctor to play in both games over the weekend.
Saturday night was the much-publicized game against the Barry University Buccaneers coached by Steve McCrath, son of SPU coach Cliff McCrath. This was Barry University’s first visit to SPU, and the Falcons welcomed them by defeating them 1-0 on freshman forward Grant Falco’s goal in the eighth minute of the game which was assisted by Vandamme.
There was more to this game than just father and son coaching against each other. Barry assistant coaches Troy Edwards and Sergio Soriano have been involved in SPU history.
Soriano was voted SPU athlete of the quarter century, being among the top four in every SPU career goal-keeping mark and holding the record for most career saves by a Falcon keeper. Edwards never played for SPU, but scored the game winning goal that kept the Falcons from a national title in 1984 championship game.
Tostolutsky said that the team is "satisfied with the results, but could have played better," and that the "team needs to work on improvement."
The Seattle Pacific defense did a great job in shutting down the Buccaneers, allowing only two shots on goal by two-time all conference forward Andy Hylton, a junior from Essex, England. The frustration of the Buccaneers became apparent near the end of the game when there were a few emotional displays and some pushing after an SPU attack. Junior forward Tyler Suhm was knocked in the head by a goalie "going for the ball" for the second time this week, but got up and continued playing.
"We are disappointed with the result, but we put ourselves in a bad situation and had to fight an uphill battle," said Hylton.
Steve McCrath was said he felt his team played a great game, and that he hopes to meet the Falcons in the Final Four this year. "That would be big and the pressure would be huge," said the younger McCrath, adding that "in the Final Four the stakes will be higher," and it would be a great game for them on their home turf in Miami.
In the more immediate future, the Falcons will travel to Texas to take on West Texas A&M, before they play their final regular season home game next Wednesday against Pacific Lutheran and finish the season in Portland on Nov. 6.
If the Falcons manage to win these next three games they will tie the school record for most victories in the regular season, and regardless of what happens, they will extend their NCAA Division II record for consecutive winning seasons to 29.
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Title: Falcon winning streak continues | Author: John Fure | Section: Sports | Published Date: 1999-10-27 | Internal ID: 842