Wins agaisnt WWU and NNU set Seattle Pacific University at the No. 2 in the GNAC
The Falcons’ men’s soccer team added two more wins to the books and achieved this conference season’s first hat trick for the team.
Seattle Pacific University’s Titus Grant scored the hat trick in first half of game in a 3-2 victory over Northwest Nazarene University.
Along with the victory over NNU, The Falcons notched another victory against their rival Western Washington University, 4-2, improving their overall record to 7-6-0 and improving to 3-3 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
The last time NNU and SPU met up, NNU beat SPU 2-0.
Before the game, the Falcons’ head coach, Mark Collings, said, “We need to stay focused for 90 minutes. We haven’t played well for a full game yet, we’ve had too many lapses.”
Collings said that his team was, “looking forward to the [Northwest Nazarene University] game, because we felt like the first time we played them was our worst performance of the year.”
NNU was also looking for redemption after losing to Western Washington a week ago. The Nighthawks’ overall record was 3-7-1 and 3-2-0 in GNAC.
Collings also addressed that his team had been working on remaining focused for the entirety of the game but also stressed that his team has been playing with a “real sense of purpose.”
The Nighthawks struck first early in the third minute thanks to their midfielder Alex Mitrovic, who was assisted by their forward Dominic Abdel-Ahad.
However, the Falcons were not brought down by the early goal from NNU, forming many attacks and controlling the ball well.
Early in the first half, SPU midfielder Trevor Lee sent a corner kick into the box, which was headed by the Falcons’ defender Ed Weise, before being denied by NNU’s goalkeeper, Jacob Hillyer.
Seattle Pacific University showed strong defense after allowing the early goal by way of strong counter attacks.
Early in the first half, NNU midfielder Sam Ho tackled SPU forward Alden Massey in the box, granting the Falcons a golden opportunity to tie the game. The Grant, a forward for SPU, took the penalty kick and placed it in the back of the net, tying the game at one.
Grant would strike again just two minutes later with a spectacular move around the Nighthawks’ last defender, which gave him room to put a shot on goal. The goal was Grant’s 10th this season.
Then, 10 minutes after his second goal, he scored again. Grant, who was able to get past the goalie, had an open net to shoot at to obtain his hat trick.
Grant, who is the Falcons’ lead scorer with 11 goals, has scored nine goals in the last six contests.
Going into the end of the half, NNU was determined to get one of the goals back before halftime. However, SPU’s defense was too tough to get by; at the half, the score was 3-1 in SPU’s favor.
Entering the second half, the Nighthawks scored as their forward Rafael Junqueira’s shot deflected off the left post of the goal into the goal.
Northwest Nazarene University controlled the ball for the majority of the second half. However, SPU’s defense managed to hold strong and were able to kill a majority of the Nighthawks’ attacks.
The Falcon’s second half goalie, Kary Whitney, was put to work due to NNU’s strong attacks. Whitney had three saves in the second half.
NNU went on full attack in the last three minutes of the game, putting a lot of distress among the SPU home crowd. Thanks to great defense by the Falcons, they were able to hold off the Nighthawks, securing a victory and improving their overall record of 8-6-0 and their conference record to 4-3-0
The matchup against Western Washington University that happened Thursday of last week, Oct. 11, was a stellar victory for SPU as well.
The Falcons scored early, and they scored often. The first two goals of the game came in the opening 20 minutes of the first half, while the other two goals came within the first 10 minutes of the second half.
“I really liked how we started the game with two quick goals. More importantly our response to them tying the game up was fantastic,” Collings said.
Based on the rankings, Seattle Pacific University should be able to keep things hot as they face off against last place Concordia University on Thursday, Oct. 18. The game will be at home for the Falcons at Interbay Stadium, at 7 p.m.