New Students integrate into community, enjoy seven goal thriller

Titus Grant’s Golden Goal caps off Falcon Fest

Daniel Newman, Sports Editor

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Falcon Fest took place on Thursday, Sept. 26 and both the event and the Men’s Soccer game that took place after became something that new students would not soon forget.

Falcon Fest was held for the third year in a row in Tiffany Loop, and the event was described by Falcons Athletic Director Jackson Stava as “a whole institutional-wide welcome to all of our new students.” 

The students, consisting mostly of freshmen, gathered in their orientation groups while music from both the past and the present blasted from loudspeakers near the stage where Stava stood. 

Talon, Seattle Pacific University’s mascot, posed for pictures while cheerleaders handed out temporary tattoos.

The groups of students were released one by one to make the one-mile trek from the loop to Interbay Stadium. Along the way, they received tote bags from members of Associated Students of Seattle Pacific, as well as snacks for their journey. They also received thundersticks — which are air filled balloons that, when hit together, make a loud sound — and pom-poms in order to help them cheer on the Falcons. They were also rewarded with an SPU t-shirt and pulled pork sandwiches when they arrived at the stadium. 

“The best part for me is seeing all the new students get excited about being here,” Stava said. 

Unfortunately, the new students did not have much to get excited about at the beginning of the game as the Falcons took on Point Loma Nazarene University. 

Goalie Lars Helleren was playing through an injury and had little help from his defense. Jorge Navarro and David Achaerandio scored two quick goals for the Sea Lions and, when Helleren was replaced by Jordan Marwood in the 26th minute, Corey Lundeen snuck a shot by Marwood two minutes later to make the score 3-0.

The Falcons, however, kept on the attack and scored after a free kick from midfielder Sam Malloch found the head of defender Ed Wiese and hit the back of the net with two minutes to go in the half. The goal was Wiese’s first of the season.

The momentum in the game began to shift when Sea Lions defender Jacob Moreno received his second yellow card warning of the game, disqualifying him from the rest of the contest and leaving the Sea Lions with only ten players on the field for the last 33 minutes of the game. 

“I thought we were a little tentative in the beginning, honestly,” said SPU’s Head Coach Mark Collings. “In the second half we got on our front foot and started attacking a bit more.”

Forward Mario Vukic kicked one into the bottom left corner in at minute 77, and defender Alex Mejia headed one in with three minutes to go after a Jake Ferry shot bounced off the crossbar. 

The win was sealed in the second overtime, when forward Titus Grant took a pass from Sam Malloch, spun and drove a left-footed shot toward the goal. Sea Lions goalie Conner Mcewen got his hands to the ball, but it was not enough as Grant’s shot bounced into the goal and the Falcons completed the comeback. 

Upon realizing he had scored, Grant took off his jersey and ran down the field toward the stands where his teammates were streaming off the bench to congratulate him while the crowd cheered. 

“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight, it really brought the energy and pushed me to get that last goal,” Grant said.

“Having all the students here is such an amazing thing for our guys, I just hope they keep coming back,” Collings said. “To have a crowd and an atmosphere like this is unbelievable — it really will be one of the highlights of their (the players) career.”

The next four men’s soccer games are at home, so there will be more opportunities for the crowd to come back and support the team soon enough.