Playoff start ends in a bust

Daniel Newman

The Seattle Pacific University women’s soccer team lost 2-1 in their playoff game last Thursday night against Concordia University.

“I thought we got some great minutes from players off the bench in the game vs. Concordia,” said the Falcons’ head coach Arby Busey.

“We had some girls that came into the game and provided a boost, gave us a spark, and really produced some good moments.  Unfortunately, we ran into a very good, very motivated Concordia team.”

Concordia was able to score seven minutes into the game, when forward Quinn Williams sent a corner kick that midfielder Gabrielle Ewing crossed to midfielder Kasey Ames, who sent a shot toward the goal. Falcons forward Kasey Reeve was able to redirect the shot, but she also directed it past Falcons goalie Riley Travis and into the net.

Concordia did not score again in the half, but they had plenty of opportunities to do so, launching 10 shots at the Falcons goal within the first 30 minutes, forcing five saves from Travis.

The best opportunity of the half for the Falcons came in minute 37, when midfielder Emma Young got to the ball and passed it forward to defender Sydnee Smith, whose shot sailed just to the left of the goal.

The second half told a similar story to the first, as Concordia managed to score quickly again. In minute number 54, forward Kyra Radcliffe sent a pass across to forward Quinn Williams, who poked the ball in from four yards out.

The Falcons forced Cavaliers goalie Rose Hauser to make her first save in minute 63, when forward Kasey Reeve attempted a chip shot from the edge of the box.

The Falcons did not find a breakthrough until there were five minutes left in the game. Defender Sydnee Smith found midfielder Brooke Lancaster at the edge of the box. Lancaster passed the ball to midfielder Megan Moore, who was cutting through the box, and Moore struck the ball into the net.

The final chance for the Falcons to finish the comeback  came in minute 88, as Smith got behind the defense, but her shot flew right into goalie Rose Hauser’s hands.

The loss ended the Falcons’ five game unbeaten streak.

“The better team won the game,” Busey said. “I thought Concordia put us under a lot of pressure, and that we could have stayed a bit more composed throughout the game. We gave the ball away too much under their pressure and couldn’t build our attack consistently enough.”

The Cavaliers would then move on to play for the conference championship, where they would face Western Washington University, who defeated Simon Fraser University on Thursday night.

The championship game required overtime, but Cavaliers forward Sydney Van Steenberge sent the fans home happy by scoring the winning goal with 35 seconds left in overtime. Both teams will move on to the NCAA division two tournament.

Joining them will be SPU, as they will again match up with Concordia University for the fourth time this season. While the Falcons have not managed a win against them this season, the games have always been close, with only one goal deciding the Cavaliers’ two wins. The matchup will take place in Portland at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference also named their all conference teams this week, and seven different Falcons were on the list.

Julia Devere made the move from midfield to defense at the beginning of the year, and it paid off for her as she was named the conference defender of the year. Devere also made first team all-conference, as did Sophomore forward Sophia Chilzcuk, who led the team in goals this year with eight.

Junior Megan Moore and first-year goalie Riley Travis made the second team all-conference. Moore had three goals and six assists on the year, and Travis allowed an average of just under one goal a game.

“It is such an honor to be named to the All GNAC Second Team,” Travis said. “I am so proud to be a part of this program and wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without my teammates. This first year has been such a great experience and I look forward to the coming years.”

Seniors Kasey Reeve, Sydnee Smith and Kaytlin Willis were part of the honorable mentions on the all-conference team.

The men’s soccer team also wrapped up their season with Senior Night last Thursday against Saint Martin’s University. The Falcons took the lead with sophomore forward Titus Grant’s team leading goal number 13 in minute 49 but allowed a goal four minutes later and gave up the game winner in minute 72. Grant scored again with one minute to go, but the goal was disallowed, as the Falcons had been fouled earlier in the play.

The Falcons had a rough last two weeks of the season, putting the game winning goal into their own net against #1 Simon Fraser University, and having to play most of the game against Western Washington University with ten men, as defender Chris Cole picked up two yellow card offenses in the first half and was ejected from the game.

The Falcons ended up in sixth place in the conference, losing their last five games and finishing the season with a conference record of four wins and eight losses.

“I really liked the work ethic and character of this team,“ Falcons head coach Mark Collings said.

“There were plenty of points that they could’ve given up, but they never did. It all started with our leadership from the upperclassmen. They helped show a really young group how to deal with the demands of a college soccer season.”

Collings also said that, “We never really got a full 90 minutes out of our group and the blame has to fall on me. My job is to prepare the team to be successful and help them solve problems that our opponents present.  Based on the results of the season I didn’t do a good enough job.”