The Falcons (14-0-1, 11-0-0 GNAC) returned to Interbay Stadium last week in hopes of extending their winning streak after being on the road for a couple of games. On Oct. 23, Seattle Pacific went up against South Dakota School of Mines.
In the second minute, sophomore forward Stephen MacDonald put in an unassisted goal, giving the Falcons a quick lead.
Not a minute later, another opportunity arose when junior midfielder Danny Olivas was able to connect with MacDonald once again. This was MacDonald’s second goal of the game. Olivas and MacDonald, who both attended Sandra Day O’Connor High School together in Phoenix, Ariz., have been teammates for five years.
SDSM stepped up their defense after these initial goals and held the Falcons back for a little while. In the 29th minute, Olivas once again saw a great opportunity to get the ball to junior midfielder Matt Merchant who was able to sneak it past the Hardrocker’s goalkeeper.
Right before the end of the first half, in the 44th minute, there were two quick passes from sophomore midfielder Keenan dePinna and Olivas. They got the ball to freshman forward Julian White, who scored the first goal of his collegiate career. This was also Olivas’s third assist of the game.
Olivas has been a key player for the Falcons this season. In this game in particular, he showcased the talent that he has possessed and developed over the past months.
“Everyone [on the team] is a good player, so being a part of scoring goals feels awesome,” Olivas said about his three assists.
The Falcons ended the half with a 4-0 lead. When SPU took the field in the second half, they played just as strong as the first. Coach Mark Collings even put in a rotation of players that do not usually see much playing time.
“The fact that we were able to play quite a few guys on Thursday will really help us down the stretch,” Collings said. “The game against SDSM gave us an opportunity to see some guys play extended minutes and allowed them to get into a good rhythm so that they’ll be ready for our upcoming games on the road.”
Shortly into the second half, freshman midfielder Jess Cayetano passed off the ball to MacDonald for another goal, giving him his first career hat trick. A hat trick is when one player scores three goals in one game. This is the first one for SPU since 2011 when Tyler Schultz tallied one against the University of Mary.
“Tyler Schultz was a great player so it is really cool to know that I am able to achieve something that he did as well,” MacDonald said.
White finished out the scoring for the Falcons when he scored his second goal in the 57th minute off an assist from dePinna. This was dePinna’s first game back after being injured for 13 games. DePinna is a transfer student from Oregon State University.
“It feels awesome to come back, especially to such a great team and knowing I have their support,” he said. “I am just contributing what I got. I am not back to 100% [conditioning wise], but it feels good to be back on the field.”
The Falcons beat the Hardrockers 6-0, giving sophomore goalkeeper Cody Lang his seventh shutout.
Coming off a dominant performance, the Falcons faced the University of Mary Marauders at cold but lively Interbay Stadium on Oct. 25. Seattle Pacific started off strong and played with intensity.
In the fifth minute, the ball slipped past the Marauders’s goalkeeper, and MacDonald followed up to put the ball into the goal, giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead. After this goal, the defense knew what they needed to do in order to stay ahead. Despite rain, extremely cold temperatures and high winds, SPU controlled the game for the remainder of the half.
When the teams returned to the field in the second half, weather conditions were more extreme, making it difficult for either team to score. Although there were some good looks, neither team scored before the stadium lights went out with 8:31 remaining in the game.
As fans cleared the stadium, both teams returned to the locker room where they would wait out the time set by the NCAA to see if the lights would turn back on. The game was eventually called, giving the Falcons another victory.
Contrary to the complaints of UM fans, Collings said that “the power outage was a new one for us. It’s definitely not something that you plan for. It caught all of us by surprise. I’m not sure that anyone can say the game ended unfairly because we did our best to play the final eight minutes of the game and we followed the protocols that have been laid out by the NCAA.”
Though both games last week were a bit abnormal, the Falcons win streak continues with only three games left in the regular season.