Boxers' upset bid falls short
Pacific cannot hold on to its early lead in a 2-1 setback against No. 7-ranked Pacific Lutheran
The Pacific mens soccer team was so close to scoring a big upset on Sunday, but could not hold on to it in the end.
Hosting Pacific Lutheran a Northwest Conference foe that entered the match ranked seventh in the nation the Boxers (5-3-0) took a second-half lead on a goal by Ian Farley. However, they conceded two goals inside the final 18 minutes to suffer a 2-1 defeat, their third one-goal loss in six days.
Having dropped a 3-2 decision to Puget Sound on Saturday, Pacific fell to 0-2-0 in NWC play. The Lutes upped their record to 7-0-1 overall and 2-0-0 in conference action.
I thought the team played very well today, Pacific coach Jim Brazeau said. I thought we were ready for the challenge of a team thats in the top rankings in the country today, and we did great. We were unfortunate not to get a result, but (if) we keep playing like this ... well win a lot of games.
The action was slow during a rainy and windy first half, when the two teams combined for six shots and Pacific goalkeeper Michael Summers made the only save of the contest up to that point.
Both the weather and the action improved after intermission, and the Boxers broke through first on Farleys goal, assisted by Babeck Ebadpour. In the 57th minute, Nick Pinto played a ball in from the left side into the penalty box. The ball bounced around briefly until Farley secured it and beat Lutes goalkeeper Joe Rayburn with a well-struck shot from about 10 yards out.
Thats actually how a lot of my goals have been this season, not really anything special, just ball falls to my feet, Im in the right position and I put it away, Farley said.
The goal was Farleys conference-leading sixth of the season and put the Boxers on the verge of their best result of the year.
The lead would not last, though. While Pacific had a couple more chances over the rest of the game, Pacific Lutheran was the side that really turned up its pressure after the first score, and the visitors equalized in the 73rd minute.
After a corner kick by PLUs Rigoberto Loreto, both teams fought for control of the ball. The Lutes won that skirmish and tied the match thanks to Taylor Jackson, who took a touch to settle the ball and then drilled a shot from 20 yards out over Summers.
With the momentum having swung in its favor, PLU recorded the game-winner in the 84th minute, when Joe Olenginski found Tyler Bennett on a breakaway from the left side of the field. Summers was able to get a piece of Bennetts shot, but it had enough momentum to carry into the goal and send the Boxers to their third one-goal defeat in as many games.
Thats a good measure of where were at right now, said Summers, who had five saves. That was a battle. That was a good game.
The experience could be a valuable learning tool for the Boxers, who count seven seniors on their roster but started four freshmen and played a total of seven underclassmen in Sundays game.
I think some of that will come with experience, Brazeau said about managing late-game leads.
The more opportunities that youre in it, you get better because of being in it. And also, weve got to learn to stay disciplined defensively when we do get that lead and be still as excited to keep the lead as we were when we went to get the lead.
The Boxers will look to regain their winning ways this weekend, when they embark on the annual eastern Washington swing. On Saturday, Pacific faces Whitman in Walla Walla. Sundays contest is against Whitworth in Spokane. Both games have 2:30 p.m. start times.