Beavers Blank Gonzaga For Second Consecutive Victory
SPOKANE, Wash. – A stingy defense earned its second shutout of the season and Alex Eckerson scored his third goal in the last two games, as the Oregon State men’s soccer team defeated Gonzaga, 1-0, in front of a crowd of 708 on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Beavers improved their record to 2-3-1.
“This was our third weekend on the road and I thought the guys did very well yet again,” Oregon State head coach Steve Simmons said. “For us to get the win is a step in the right direction. As I’ve said before, I’m looking at growth and not only did we win, but I thought we grew too. They are all positive signs right now.”
Eckerson continued his late scoring tear in the 33rd minute to give the Beavers the early advantage. Freshman Will Seymore took Oregon State’s third corner kick of the game and lifted the ball to the top of the 18-yard box, which Eckerson deposited in the back of the net with a hard shot to the left of the keeper.
A bullish Oregon State defense made sure that lone strike would stand up against its Pacific Northwest rival. Gonzaga totaled nine shots in the contest, but only forced Steve Spangler to make one save and didn’t put any balls on goal in the second half.
“You have to give credit to our guys in front of Steve,” Simmons said. “Gonzaga came out and I thought they had a decent amount of the ball, but in areas that weren’t as dangerous. The shots on goal were 6-1 in our favor, which is a key stat. We did a good job of not giving away critical chances.”
The goal was the fifth of Eckerson’s career and third this season. Combined with the sophomore’s two second-half goals against Sacramento State, he scored three times in just over 70 minutes of action. The Portland-native has six points on the year and two game-winning goals to his credit.
The assist was the first of Seymore’s career, and when added with his goal from the season opener against Portland, moves the freshman into a tie for second on the squad in points (3).
“[The goal] was set up by a spectacular corner kick by Will sent in by Eckerson the first time from about 25 yards out,” Simmons said. “It was just a fantastic goal. Not only did they get the score, but Gonzaga had moments where they overloaded the midfield and try to keep the ball deep in our area and Alex and Will did a good job being responsible with their matchups.”
OSU held a 10-9 advantage in shots and a 9-2 edge in corners.
The win broke a four-match winless streak against the Bulldogs. Oregon State had been 0-2-2 in the teams’ last four meetings since a 2-1 victory in Sept. 2005. The positive result improves the Beavers’ all-time mark in Spokane to 7-2-3.
With the victory, Oregon State finished its season-long five-game road trip with a 2-2-1 mark. The Beavers will begin a quintet of games at Paul Lorenz Field when they return to Corvallis to host the Oregon State Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic next weekend in honor of a pair of former Beaver men’s soccer players who were tragically lost a few months apart in 2002.
“All of them are excited to play back on Lorenz in what is a great tournament,” Simmons said. “It’s a special one for me because I had a chance to coach those two boys (Stephen Hensor and Joe Zaher) and I know our guys want to have a good showing in that. There continue to be a lot of positives. We just have to be responsible to do the work that got us the last two results.”
OSU will play UMKC on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and CSU Bakersfield on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
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