Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
FOREST GROVE, Ore. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's soccer team capped off an impressive weekend with a thrilling 2-1 double overtime victory over host Pacific University in a Northwest Conference clash on Sunday afternoon at Ledbetter Field. Eddie Na provided his NWC-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season to lead the Lutes to the win and finish its Oregon road trip undefeated.
The Lutes (5-4-2, 3-2-1 NWC) played the Boxers (6-4-0, 3-3-0 NWC) to a scoreless first half. PLU applied the pressure to the Boxer defense, but came up empty. The Boxers continued to defend well into the second half, and it eventually paid off on the offensive end, as Matt Kimball scored his fifth goal of the season in the 71st minute.
The Lute response was instantaneous. Less than a minute later, Eddie Na took a feed from Bennett Bugbee and put the ball in the back of the net to tie the game. Both sides saw scoring opportunities late, but couldn't capitalize, sending the game into overtime.
Much like the first half of regulation, the first part of overtime was scoreless, as neither side got off a shot attempt. However, midway through the second overtime period, a foul was called on Pacific, and Eddie Na was awarded a penalty kick. Na used the opportunity to score the walk-off, game winning goal.
"Today's game was one of the grittiest, most focused performances, we've seen from this group," head coach John Yorke said. "I'm very proud of the team and the way they approached this week and weekends games."
The goal was Na's 10th of the season, doubling his lead as the NWC leader in goals scored. Additionally, RJ Noll increased his NWC lead in saves with three on Sunday, bringing his total to 40.
"We showed a lot of growth this weekend in not only our soccer but also in the mental side of our game," Yorke said.
The win brought the Lutes to third in conference, and they'll get a chance to jump into second place next Saturday, when they host rival University of Puget Sound at 2:30 p.m. at East Field.