Waipio, HI - The SFU Clan men's soccer team won a wild game against a tough team last night, defeating Hawaii Pacific Uiversity by a score of 5-1. It was a win against another ranked team. While SFU is ranked third in the NCAA Division II soccer rankings, Hawaii Pacific is ranked fifth in the West Region rankings of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. SFU is ranked first in the West Region.
With the win, SFU now sits at 11-0-0 on the year (5-0-0 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play). Hawaii Pacific is 9-4 on the year (6-1 in conference play).
While the team had to battle one of their toughest opponents of the season, they were also up against the heat and a racous crowd of over 300 HPU fans.
"Tonight's match was one of our best performances this season," said Head Coach Alan Koch. "Our team had to deal with tough heat, a tough opponent and a tough crowd. It was an intense game and I'm proud of the way our team battled to come out on top."
SFU jumped out to an early two goal lead in the first half, netting goals in the 19th and 27th minutes.
Josh Bennett (Hamilton, ON) opened the scoring for SFU with his fifth goal of the season that found the back of the net at 18:14. Eight minutes later, Chris Bargholz (Fuessen, Germany) scored his fifth goal of the season to make it 2-0. Bargholz's goal was a well executed chip shot over the HPU keeper.
Before the half came to a close, HPU got on the board with a goal on their only shot of the first half that was on net. Heimana Chen scored the goal and Chance Bukoski had the assist in the 41st minute that cut the SFU lead to 2-1 heading into halftime.
In the second half, it was all Simon Fraser as they scored three unanswered goals.
The Clan wasted no time reclaiming their two point lead in the second half as Bargholtz scored his second of the match, unassisted, in the 48th minute. At the 68 minute mark, Carlo Basso (Coquitlam, BC) scored his eighth goal of the season to give SFU a three goal cushion.
The play had been intense all evening and in the 71st minute, tensions boiled over. A multi-player scuffle broke out on the pitch that resulted in ejections for both teams as Kainoa Kahui was sent off for HPU and Farhad Abdulgani (Oslo, Norway) received the red card for Simon Fraser.
SFU added one more goal, with Roman Doutkevitch (Kiev, Ukraine) scoring in the 79th minute, to finish up the 5-1 victory.
Sheldon Steenhuis (Morgan Hill, CA) made one save and allowed one goal in the game for SFU. Mel Lefebvre made three saves and allowed five goals in goal for HPU.
"Our team is full of confidence right now and enjoying the Hawaiian experience. We look forward to attempting to complete the Hawaii sweep on Monday. It should be another challenging match on this road-trip. The lads will be ready for it."
The Clan will be looking to sweep their road trip to Hawaii with a Thanksgiving matchup against the University of Hawaii-Hilo, tomorrow afternoon.