Sports & Outdoors

Soccer Begins Conference Play Strong

Loggers men’s soccer began their conference season on a high note, as they completed a dominating weekend by defeating both George Fox and Pacific University at home.
The Loggers had gotten off to a strong start to their 2012 campaign, beginning their season 3-1-1, including three straight victories.
However, the team knew that their real challenge would begin once their conference schedule began. They faced their first NWC opponents over the weekend, as they played host to Pacific University and George Fox.
Their first game of the weekend came on Saturday, Sept. 15 against Pacific. The Loggers had a rough start to the game, as Pacific took an early lead just 15 minutes into the game, on a shot that slithered past senior goalie Chris McDonald (Newton, Mass.).
This was the first goal that the Loggers had allowed in their last four games and the only goal that the Loggers had allowed in the first half of a game all season.  And while the Loggers had some good looks of their own in the first half, including eight shots, they went into halftime trailing Pacific 1-0.
The Loggers were finally able to break through in the second half, however, with a little help from junior Landon Gauthier (Fox Island, Wash.). Just two minutes into the first half, Gauthier scored the Loggers’ first goal of the game, tying the game at one apiece.
But the Loggers were not done scoring yet, as Gauthier scored his second goal of the game just five minutes later, taking a pass across the middle from sophomore Sean Ryan (Mill Creek, Wash.) and burying it in the back of the net for the go-ahead goal.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Loggers defense tightened up for the rest of the way, holding Pacific scoreless in the second half and limiting them to only four shots. When all was said and done, the Loggers had their first conference victory of the season, 2-1 over Pacific University.
However, their battle against George Fox on Sunday, Sept. 16 was, in the words of a spectator, “a much more physical game.”  In a game that featured 21 penalties and three yellow cards, the Loggers controlled the ball for much of the game, but tensions mounted as the team failed to score until deep into the first half.
The team had several opportunities to take an early lead, but came up empty repeatedly, including on a shot off of a corner kick six minutes into the game that was just batted over the net by the George Fox goalie.
After almost 30 minutes of scoreless action, the Loggers finally converted an opportunity in the 29th minute, as they got a shot on goal off of another corner kick, and junior Andrew White (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) scored off of the rebound.
The goal was White’s first of the season, and it gave the Loggers a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. The Loggers were eventually able to double their lead, as Gauthier clinched the victory by scoring an unassisted goal in the 76th minute.
For much of the game, the Loggers’ defense simply dominated, keeping the Bruins out of their end of the field for much of the game and limiting them to only one shot on goal in the entire game. As for the offense, the Loggers harassed George Fox’s defense for much of the game, piling up six corner kicks and 19 shots.
In their first weekend of conference play, the Loggers looked like the better team in both of their weekend matchups, and that bodes well for the team as they prepare to face more NWC opponents.
The Loggers will travel to Salem to take on Willamette on Saturday, Sept. 22.