Eckerson Scores A Pair in Beavers’ 4-3 Triumph Over Sacramento State

September 11, 2011

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Alex Eckerson scored two second-half goals and Emery Welshman and Colin Mitchell each contributed one goal and one assist as the Beavers earned their first win of the season, 4-3, over Sacramento State on Sunday afternoon.  Oregon State pushed its record to 1-3-1 with the victory.

“I’m happy for the guys because I think they’ve been in situations already this year where they deserved to get the win under their belts and weren’t able to do so,” Oregon State head coach Steve Simmons said.  “Today they were very deserving of the win.  These guys have been on the road for two weeks and their response today was tremendous and I couldn’t be more proud.”

After scoring only two goals in its first four games, including shutouts in the past two, Oregon State’s offense was clicking from the opening whistle.  Just over three minutes into the game, Mitchell took a through ball from Roberto Farfan and beat the keeper one-on-one to give the Beavers the early advantage.

Sacramento State equalized not more than five minutes later when Matt Linenberger took a hard cross from Max Alvarez and headed it to the near post.  The 1-1 score would hold through to intermission before both teams would unleash a flurry of offensive action in the second half.

Similar to the start of the game, it didn’t take long for the Beavers’ offense to light up the scoreboard in the second half.  Eckerson got everything going with 52:37 on the clock when he took a short cross on a break from Welshman and put it home to give OSU the 2-1 lead.

Less than three minutes later, Welshman put home his first goal as a Beaver, heading home a high cross from Mitchell to enlarge Oregon State’s advantage and give his team a 3-1 lead.

“What we wanted to do was be more energetic in our attack,” Simmons said.  “I challenged the team to create more opportunities going forward and they did that, so now you end up in a situation where they’re in good spots and taking chances and were able to put Sacramento State on their heels.”

The next 20 minutes were tame compared with how the contest would end.  From the 56th minute until the 74th minute there were only four combined shots, with Oregon State’s Will Seymore the only player putting one on net.

Sacramento State inched closer when Chris Bettencourt and Eric Amato teamed up for their first of two goals within a span of 10 minutes at the end of the game.  At 73:17, Amato tapped a free kick to Bettencourt, who fired the ball to the far post for a score to make it 3-2.

In the 84th minute, Amato again set up Bettencourt with a long cross, which was put home to tie the game yet again, this time at 3-3.

With time winding down, Eckerson ensured that the Beavers would not be playing their third consecutive overtime game when he sent home a rebound off of a blocked shot from teammate Alex Penny to put Oregon State up for good and make the final score 4-3.

“When we’re up 3-1 we need to make sure it stays 3-1 and no more goals are conceded,” Simmons commented.  “I want to give Sac State credit for continuing to fight when they went a man down, but I also want to give us credit for answering the bell at the end of the game once again there.  There were a lot of emotions and it’s not only about how you cope when things are going well, but also how you cope when you encounter setbacks.  We did very well coping with setbacks today.”

The four goals for Oregon State were the most since a 4-1 win over CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 6, 2009.  With his two goals, Eckerson became the first Beaver to tally that many in a game since Brian Ramsey put home a pair in a 3-2 win over UC Davis on Sept. 17, 2010.

“You can tell that a lot of these guys have been due,” Simmons said of his team’s offensive performance.  “It’s a funny thing in soccer where you’re so close, but sometimes close isn’t enough.  These players have known they can score goals.  It’s good for them to actually see it go in the back of the net and confirm what they know.  We’re going to need much more from them going forward.”

With four saves on the afternoon, Oregon State goalkeeper Steve Spangler reached 200 for his career and moved into third in program history in that category.

Oregon State will wrap up its long road trip with a game at Gonzaga next Saturday at 1 p.m. before coming back to Corvallis to host the Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic the weekend of Sept. 23-25.

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