By Konner Hancock and Troy Vigil
Seattle Pacific University overcame 0-2 start with two straight wins
The Seattle Pacific University Men’s soccer team entered this past week 0-2 in conference matchups for the year, but they were determined to change their record.
Seattle Pacific University went on the road last Thursday to faceoff against the Montana State Billings and broke their losing streak with a 3-2 win.
SPU moved into their game last Saturday against Saint Martin’s University with the intent to even out their Great Northwest Athletic Conference record to 2-2, and that is what the Falcons did with a 1-0 victory.
The Falcon’s head coach, Mark Collings, said that the team was “confident going into the game with SMU” and that they are a “better team than their record shows.”
After losing two straight conference games to open the season, Collings said he wanted to quickly turn things around.
Collings said that the team has been working on finishing scoring opportunities and being more mentally tough on defense. With a lot on the line, a win for either team would likely catapult them atop of the GNAC standings.
The Falcons’ forward Titus Grant scored a goal in the 12th minute thanks to a rare mistake by the Saints goalkeeper Griffin Small.
With the goal, Grant is now tied with midfielder Alden Massey as lead scorer for SPU with four goals on the season.
The Saints relentlessly kept pushing the ball upfield trying to tie the game, but their shots only found their way into the hand of The Falcons’ keeper, Lars Helleren, who had three saves in the first half.
The Falcons would have been awarded another goal from Grant in the 34 minute when he managed to maneuver his way through Saint Martin’s defense and apply a powerful shot on goal, but the shot was stopped by the fingertips of Saint Martin’s goalkeeper, who deflected it wide of the goal.
Going into the half, the Falcons had put five shots up, three of which were on goal.
The Saints were able to execute seven shots, but only three of them were on goal.
Coming back from the half, SMU found a perfect chance to tie the game up in the 62nd minute, but Helleren stopped the shot on goal.
Late in the second half, the Falcons’ defender Luke Postma received a yellow card that granted The Saints forward Brandon Madsen a free kick, but Helleren blocked the shot with an impressive dive, denying the chance SMU from getting on the board.
The Saints made their own workload harder when their forward, Oscar Aguilar picked up a late second-half red card, forcing SMU to play a man down.
The Falcons were able to keep SMU off the scoreboard the whole game thanks to Helleren, who was able to stop all of the Saints 7 shots on goal; he collected the first shutout of his career.
SPU’s shutout over SMU improved The Falcons’ overall record to 5-5, 2-2 in their conference.
The win also gave SPU three more points, which moved them into third place in the GNAC standings.
After SPU’s four-game road trip, they are home for the next six games.
Seattle Pacific will face-off against The University of Mary at Interbay Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.