Oregon State Upsets No. 22 Washington to Open Pac-12 Play
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mike Reckmeyer scored his second goal off a feed from Emery Welshman in as many games and Khiry Shelton returned from injury to add an assist of his own, helping the Beavers to a 2-1 upset of No. 22 Washington in front of a packed house at Paul Lorenz Field on Friday night.
“When you play Washington … every moment counts,” Oregon State head coach Steve Simmons said. “We’re thrilled because these boys know that this is the team we could have been all season and for them to get that under their belt and get their first conference win is huge.”
Reckmeyer earned his first career start in what was the Pac-12 opener for both squads after coming in as a substitute in the Beavers’ last game and scoring in less than a minute. This time it may have taken a little longer, but the result remained the same.
In the 30th minute, just as in the game against Bakersfield, Welshman worked himself free from a host of defenders on the far side of the box as Reckmeyer made his run to the net and delivered a strike to the boot of the Nebraska-native, who coolly deposited the ball past Washington’s Spencer Richey to put OSU on top, 1-0.
“After last week I just told him to stay honest,” Simmons said of Reckmeyer. “He stayed honest, he was dangerous, he asked a lot of questions and you want that out of a young kid. He’s been a surprise, but he probably hasn’t been a surprise to himself. I’m pleased for him. He’s a living example that if you work hard you’re going to get your chance.”
Dissatisfied with a single-goal margin in a classic rivalry game, Oregon State continued to put pressure on the Huskies’ back line. In the 43rd minute, Khiry Shelton, who had missed the past four games with a foot injury, took the ball at midfield and barreled down the left side, leaving two Washington players in his wake and opening up a perfect lane to set up Welshman. From the corner, Shelton used his left foot to cross the ball to Welshman on the far side of the box, who scored for the second time this season to widen the Beavers’ advantage, 2-0.
The team had more chances in the second half, most notably a rocket from the top of the box by Shelton that forced Washington to make an acrobatic diving save to the far post in the 68th minute.
“Goals pay the rent,” Simmons said. “What goals do is goals support. It takes the pressure off of you. Our attacking play helped our defense.”
Steve Spangler was only forced to make two saves in the game for the Beavers, but both were highlight-reel worthy. The senior came out of the box and dove at the feet of Abdual Aman to smother the ball and preserve his clean sheet at the beginning of the second half. In the 73rd minute he also reached high to punch away a header from Brent Richards that was about to sneak under the crossbar.
The Huskies eventually got on the board when Dylan Tucker-Gangnes converted a penalty kick with just seconds remaining in regulation.
On a night when Oregon State seemed to put it all together and was the aggressor for the full 90 minutes, the statistical significance of the game made the win even more memorable. The Beavers scored twice against Richey, who had only given up three goals in eight previous games this season. His 0.35 GAA coming into the contest led the Pac-12 and was fifth in the entire country.
The victory was OSU’s second consecutive win in a Pac-12 opener against a ranked opponent, as the team defeated No. 22 San Diego State last season to open conference play, and improves its record in league openers to 3-9-0. It was also the Beavers’ first win over a ranked opponent at home since they downed No. 18 San Diego State on Oct. 21, 2007 and the program’s first win over a ranked Husky side since they beat No. 15 Washington on Oct. 2, 2005.
“We’ll take the three points,” Simmons said. “In October it’s all about the three points and protecting your home turf. It’s hard to get points in this league and so for us to start off on the right foot is good. We have momentum going into next weekend and we have Khiry Shelton back and we have Michael Reckmeyer in form. The pieces are starting to come together a little bit at the right time.”
Oregon State will have a week off and look to start 2-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2005 when they host San Diego State on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.
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