The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
LACEY, Wash. – Senior defender Kyle Smurdon scored his first two goals of the season, including a game-clincher with 21 minutes to play on Saturday, as 12th-ranked Seattle Pacific came from behind twice to beat Saint Martin’s in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s soccer game, 5:3.
Ian Adams and Matt Merchant also scored for the Falcons (8-1-2, 4-1-2 GNAC) at SMU Soccer Field.
Saturday Scores: SDSU 1:1 Washington (OT) (M), Washington 1:1 Arizona (OT) (W), Loyola M. 2:1 Gonzaga (OT) (M), Seattle Pacific 2:0 Simon Fraser (W), Linfield 2:1 Whitworth (OT, (W), Whitworth 1:0 Whitman (OT) (M), Puget Sound 3:0 Lewis & Clark (W), PLU 1:0 George Fox (W), Western 1:2 Simon Fraser (M), Eastern 4:1 NDSU (W), Evergreen 1:5 Corban (W), Evergreen 2:0 NW Christian (M), NorthwestU 2:1 NW Christian (W), NorthwestU 2:1 Corban (M), NWAACC Men, NWAACC Wome
Video: Washington at San Diego State
The back-and-forth game saw the Saints (2-9-0, 1-6-0 GNAC) score twice to wipe out a quick 1-0 SPU lead, then take a 3-2 edge early in the second half. The Falcons knocked in two goals and took advantage of a deflection for an own goal in the final 34 minutes of the game.
The victory capped a five-game road trip on which the SPU compiled a 2-1-2 record.
“I’m proud of the guys. It’s been a long three weeks and for us to be able to get a result at the back-end of this is huge,” said Coach Mark Collings, whose team plays five of its final seven regular-season games at home.
“We’re certainly excited about how the boys stuck together and played hard on this tough stretch of road games.”
It was Smurdon (Sherwood, Ore.) who lifted Seattle Pacific into a 2-2 halftime tie with a tap from in front of the left post that had just enough on it to roll into the low left corner past Saint Martin’s goalkeeper JJ Olson.
The Saints made it 3-2 at 56:14 when Matt Olson drilled a 20-yarder from the right of the box into the upper left corner.
But less than three minutes later, the Falcons were back ina 3-3 tie as a header by freshman midfielder Merchant (Portland, Ore.) hit the ground and rolled inside the right post at 59:06 before Olson could change direction and stop it. This one counted for Merchant, whose apparent go-ahead goal just three-minute into the second half was flagged offside.
SPU took a 4-3 lead when sophomore midfielder Sean Russell (Seattle/Garfield HS) turned at the top of the arc and blasted a shot goalward that hit a Saints defender, changed direction and flew into the upper left corner at 70:22. It was ruled an own goal.
Then, with SMU pressing for the equalizer, freshman midfielder Garrett Jones (Boise, Idaho) stripped a Saint Martin’s player of the ball just at the midfield line on the far left side. He took it downfield and crossed it toward the top of the arc for Smurdon, who ran into it and blasted it in at 87:31.
“Getting two goals from Kyle Smurdon was a big lift,” Collings exclaimed. “Kyle’s a kid that’s gotten better each year that he’s been here and today was really his day.
“He’s just opportunistic. He got himself in the box and did a good job of getting on the end of a couple of balls.”
The Falcons jumped onto the board almost immediately when freshman forward Adams (Shoreline, Wash./Shorecrest HS) planted a shot from the top right corner of the 6-yard box into the back left corner at the 3:26 mark, his third goal of the year. Merchant started the play by sending the ball down the right sideline, where junior forward Blaine Carver (Soldotna, Alaska) caught up with it at the right side of the penalty area, and Carver put it onto Adams’ foot.
Although SPU was dominating the run of play, it was Saint Martin’s which scored twice within five minutes late in the half to take a 2-1 lead. Nate Barber tied it with a 25-yard rocket shot from the left side that went just beyond the reach of Falcons goalkeeper Shamele Battan into the upper left corner at 30:13. Then at 34:47, Brandon Scott drilled a 25-yard free kick from the left side into the far upper corner.
Battan (Vancouver, Wash./Hockinson HS) started in his firstappearance for SPU. The red-shirt freshman registered five saves.
“Shamele, even though he gave up a couple goals, he made a couple big saves for us,” Collings said of Battan, who was one of six players that filled in for regular starters in the injury-depleted lineup.
“In light of everyone that we had out today, it was a great effort. We’ve been talking about our depth and having guys step up. We really had some guys step up big for us today.”
The Falcons are home for two games next week, beginning with Montana State Billings on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Interbay Stadium.
When SPU steps on their home turf Thursday, it will have been nearly a month since their last home game on Sept. 15.
“We’ll definitely be excited to play Thursday at home,” said Collings. “Certainly we’d like to think we are a good team at home. I’m really, really hoping that we can get the fans out, the Falcon Faithful and all thestudents out to support these guys who have just done a fantastic job this year.”
Scoring – 1, SPU: Ian Adams (Blaine Carver), 3:26; 2, SMU: Nate Barber (unassisted), 30:13; 3, SMU: Brandon Scott (direct free kick), 34:47; 4, SPU: Kyle Smurdon (GarrettJones, Sean Russell), 38:53; 5, SMU: Matt Olson (Dylan Gaydosh), 56:15; 6, SPU: Matt Merchant (Evan Robicheau), 59:06; 7, SPU: Own goal, 70:22; 8, SPU: Smurdon (Jones), 87:31.
Shots – SPU 21, SMU 13.
Saves – SPU (Shamele Battan) 5, SMU (JJ Olson) 3).
Corner kicks – SPU 2, SMU 2.
Fouls – SPU 12, SMU 7
Offsides – SPU 5, SMU 0
Cautions – SPU: Kyle Peterman, 29:58.
Ejections – None.
Attendance – 293
Seattle Pacific 8-1-2, 4-1-2 GNAC
Saint Martin’s 2-9-0, 1-6-0 GNAC