Last week the 5-3-1 Seattle Pacific University’s Men’s Soccer team kept both of their conference games all within one point of each other.
The Falcons came out with a double overtime win against the Northwest Nazarene Crusaders 1-0. Then, a couple of days later on Oct. 21, SPU fell to the Montana State Billings in another close matchup 2-1.
The double overtime win against the Crusaders was much needed. The victory left the team tied for second place with the 5-2-1 Western Washington Vikings in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
The late goal that put SPU over the top was forward Gabe Kellum’s ground cross in the box over to his teammate midfielder Trevor Lee for an easy boot in.
“I don’t think anyone had any doubt we weren’t going to win the game,” Lee said. “We had plenty of chances and it was just time one of them went in. Even though it came so late I don’t think doubt ever entered anyone’s mind, all we were doing was continuing to fight and find the late winner.”
The Falcons created plenty of chances throughout the game, doubling the Crusader’s shots on goal total. Despite the offensive effort, the 106 minute shot by Lee was the only one to reach the back of the net.
“We definitely had chances throughout the game and could’ve scored earlier,” Lee said.
“We had several near misses and the NNU goalkeeper made some really good saves. We just kept fighting and found the goal we needed.”
Both teams played hard physical defense with a total of 23 fouls, 14 of them earned by SPU players.
“I thought that we played pretty well defensively and were able to secure our first shutout of the year,” Mark Collings, SPU men’s soccer head coach, said. “The guys were pretty excited about the win, but in this league you don’t get time to enjoy it with another game less than 48 hours away.”
Despite their effort, the Falcons lost their next matchup to the Montana State Billings 2-1.
The Falcons started off the game in a good position, scoring off of a major mistake by the Billings goalkeeper. Midfielder Mori Tsuchiya was able to poke the ball past the Billings goalkeeper after he mishandled the ball.
After MSUB goalkeeper’s mishap and SPU’s awareness to capitalize, the Falcons were unable to seize any other scoring opportunities.
“Scoring goals is hard, that’s what makes the game so difficult,” Collings said. “I would say that there were a few factors for us not being able to put another one away. I thought that MSUB played great and really held their defensive shape pretty well.”
SPU’s shots on goal were only successful in one out of their nine attempts.
“I thought we were a little too impatient with the ball and were trying to force things,” Collings said. “Lastly we missed a few chances that I would normally expect us to finish.”
The Montana State Billings were able tie the game late in the second half and then take the lead with another score to finish off the night.
“Saturday we didn’t play our best and didn’t put away our chances,” Lee said. “We didn’t complete our jobs and we got punished for it. With that being said, we created several chances we could’ve scored and wouldn’t changed the outcome of that game.”
The team only has a few games left in the season. On Thursday, Oct. 26, SPU faces the second to last place Concordia Cavaliers at home at 4:30 p.m. Then, on Saturday, Oct. 28, the team will matchup against the last place Saint Martin Saints at home at 7 p.m.
“Everything this team has done so far this year is great,” Lee said. “We’ve been playing good together and I know our team will put in the time and work it takes to get back on track and end this season correctly.
“We need to stay composed and play our game and continue to get better.”