The Seattle Pacific University men’s soccer team almost lost their No. 3 spot in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, barely keeping hold of it with a close win.
The Falcons sustained the No. 3 seed in the GNAC after defeating conference foe the Concordia Cavaliers, 2-1. The two teams met last Saturday in Concordia for the game.
SPU started off scoreless until the last seven minutes of the first half. Forward Gabe Kellum took a free kick 23 yards back at the top of the box. The ball was spotted just left of the arc and Kellum curved a low shot around the wall of defenders and inside the right post.
After the first score, the next goal didn’t come until the second half of the game. A Cavalier received an assist from a fellow teammate where he capitalized and scored about 10 yards away from the goal.
The game went on tied until Falcon Trevor Lee served a cross from the left corner and Concordia goalkeeper Benoit Bouillant punched it away from the goal to defender Julian White, who smashed a 16 yard goal to put the Falcons ahead with a 2-1 lead.
The win saved them from falling to the No. 4 spot in the GNAC after their loss to the No. 1 Western Washington Vikings on Oct. 5.
“The good and bad thing about soccer is that there aren’t ‘plays’. As a team we have a team structure and system and then from there we rely on the decision making of each player,” said Mark Collings, the men’s soccer head coach.
The Falcons kept the game against the Vikings tied for the entire first half with neither team scoring a goal. That ended quickly after the second half started with a Vikings player scoring within the first three minutes. Western Washington scored once more in the last 17 min of the game, ending at 2-0.
“Obviously I wasn’t happy with our lack of transition which allowed them to score. I was pretty sure that we would create additional scoring opportunities, it was just a matter of if we would finish or not,” Collings said.
Despite the 2-0 ending the Falcons accounted for four total saves, one less than WWU. The Falcons also had 9 total shots on goal, but none of them went through.
“We believe our plan was right, it just came down to a lack of execution. Of course as a coach there are always things that you might change, but we don’t get a replay. When the team doesn’t play well I need to take responsibility for that, it’s my job to get them ready to play,” Collings said.
The loss to WWU put the Falcons in jeopardy of falling to No. 4 in the GNAC, the lowest spot that can be held to qualify for postseason play.
“We felt like that game against WWU was our worst performance of the year,” Collings said.
“That being said we still had a couple of good chances, but we were unable to finish them. At the end of the day they executed better than we did,” he said.
The remainder of the season is all GNAC rivals for the Falcons. In order to stay in the top four they will need to win a least three more matchups.
The team’s next game is Thursday, Oct. 12, against the last place St. Martin’s Saints.
“I would like to see us come out and compete. We still haven’t played a complete 90 minutes this season. This Thursday against St. Martins would be a great time to have that happen,” Collings said.