Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran Univesity men's soccer team continued its impressive win streak on Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 overtime win over George Fox University in a Northwest Conference match at East Field. The Lute win, their fifth straight, pushed PLU closer to the top spot in the NWC, currently held by Willamette University.
The Bruins (4-11-0, 2-7-0 NWC) made it far from easy for the Lutes (8-4-2, 6-2-1 NWC) to come away with three points on Sunday. They even outshot the Lutes 6-3 in the first half before the Lutes were able to regain some control post-intermission. While the Lutes earned plenty of opportunities to score, they came away with no goals in regulation. A late shot from the Bruins nearly sailed into the net, but hit the crossbar, sending the game into overtime.
From there, the Lutes continued to push, and the Bruins were unable to hold them off for long. The Bruins didn't manage to get a shot off in the overtime period, and a push from Jackson Moore on the other end led to a follow up score from Chris Trussel, bringing victory to the Lutes in the 96th minute.
Trussel's goal gave the Lutes their third overtime win during the current five game win streak, which echoes the Lutes' commitment to focus in late game scenarios.
"Every practice, we play 10 minute games, which replicates overtime," Trussel said. "It all gies back to practice, and so it's just like playing a regular game for us."
Despite the elation from the late victory, head coach John Yorke is hopeful that the team won't have to worry about scoring late in games. He hopes that they can continue to push for early opportunities while capitalizing more often to avoid these late game scenarios
"Give George Fox credit, they played well and took us a little out of what we were trying to do," head coach John Yorke said. "We were heavy legged, which happens sometimes on the second game of a back-to-back, and so it was difficult for us to stay mentally engaged."
Tyler Ohata earned the start in goal, making four saves to earn the clean sheet as the Lute defense has now gone 329 minutes without yielding a goal.
The Lutes now take their five-game win streak on the road, where they'll face Whitman College and Whitworth University next weekend. The last time these teams faced, the Lutes came away with just one point. They'll hope to play much better this time around.
"It shouldn't be hard for us to get excited to play these teams, especially in the midst of a potential conference championship run," Yorke said.
Yorke's players echo that sentiment.
"We just have to keep our goal in mind, and that's to be NWC champs," Trussel said. "If we do that, nobody will be able to beat us."