College Soccer

Second-Half Rally Lifts #7 SPU Men at Western

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The way things have been going for his offense, Thursday’s two-goal output seemed like an outburst to Coach Mark Collings.
Goals from Ian Adams and substitute Mori Tsuchiya in the final half-hour brought unbeaten and seventh-ranked Seattle Pacific from behind for a 2-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s soccer win over Western Washington on Thursday night at Harrington Field.
The Falcons (6-0-2, 2-0-2 GNAC), coming off a pair of draws, won the opening game of four straight on the road, and it was their fourth win in a row versus the Vikings (3-3-2, 1-2-1 GNAC). Only three other SPU teams have started seasons on longer unbeaten runs.
The two-goal performance equaled the scoring total from the Falcons last three games combined, a stretch that included a 1-0 win at Saint Martin’s (Sept. 19), a scoreless home draw versus Northwest Nazarene (Sept. 24) and 1-1 tie with Concordia (Sept. 26).
“To score two goals in a game is really nice for us,” said Collings. “Also just to come back after giving up the early goal was big. 
“Western had a lot of support on hand and their guys were pretty fired up for it, so for us to bounce back and get a great result on the road is massive. Any time you can get three points on the road it’s really important for your team.”
Thursday was only SPU’s second multi-goal game, including a 3-0 win at Cal State East Bay on Sept. 12. 
After Adams equalized in the 65th minute, SPU gain firm control of the game but did not go in front until 9 minutes, 38 seconds remaining in regulation.
Western cleared a corner kick to near midfield, where Tsuchiya won possession and proceeded to beat a path toward goal. He sped by two defenders before sending a 15-yard shot past an onrushing Tyler Visten, Vikings keeper.
It was the first collegiate goal for Tsuchiya, a sophomore from Seattle’s Chief Sealth High School, who came off the bench in the 66th minute.
“Mori fought through probably two or three fouls and he was gone,” Collings described. “He did a good job of getting around the guy and had just a solid finish off the half volley to beat the keeper who was coming out. He showed a lot of composure and body control to fight through quite a bit of contact while running full speed.”
A hustling Adams scored his second of the season shortly before Tsuchiya came on.  Freshman defender Luke Postma (Bellevue Christian HS) pounded a long ball from midfield high into the box. Adams (Shorecrest HS) beat Visten to the high bounce, slotting the ball home from five yards.
Western was unable to muster a legitimate scoring chance in the second half. The Falcons did not allow a single shot in the final 39 minutes, finishing with a 5-1 edge in the second half and 15-10 overall.
For the second game in a row SPU allowed the first goal. Conner Pitchette beat Cody Lang low to the left post in the seventh minute. Kurtis Pederson’s long ball into the box started the sequence, with Adam Talley fighting off a challenge to lay the ball back for Pitchette’s first-time, 16-yard drive.
The Falcons responded by firing four shots at Visten in the next 15 minutes. Adams volleyed just wide of the post in the 11th minute. 
“Some things have been a little bit difficult for us and our guys haven’t hung their heads,” said Collings. “They’ve really bought into playing for each other and having different guys stepping up at different times.”
“Difficult” is a relative term. Yes, the Falcons have dealt with injuries to pivotal personnel. And they are producing just 1.25 goals per game.
But Lang and the stingy defense have made life miserable for opponents, registering six shutouts and surrendering just two goals to keep the Falcons undefeated.
Lang (Spokane, Wash./Lewis & Clark HS) was credited with two saves Thursday.
Seattle Pacific crosses the border Saturday to visit Simon Fraser in Burnaby, B.C. at 7 p.m.
NCAA MEN’S SOCCER
Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015
Harrington Field / Bellingham, Wash.

(#7) Seattle Pacific 2, at Western Washington 1

Scoring – 1, WWU, Conner Pitchette (Adam Talley, Kurtis Pederson), 6:48; 2, SPU, Ian Adams (Luke Postma) 64:02; 3, SPU, Mori Tsuchiya, 80:22.
Shots – SPU 15, WWU 10.
Saves – SPU (Cody Lang) 2, WWU (Tyler Visten) 6.
Corner kicks – SPU 5, WWU 2.
Fouls – SPU 12, WWU 20.
Offsides – SPU 3, WWU 2.
Records
Seattle Pacific 6-0-2, 2-0-2 GNAC
Western Washington 3-3-1, 1-2-1 GNAC
Next SPU Men’s Game
Seattle Pacific at Simon Fraser
Saturday, Oct. 3, 7:00 p.m.
Terry Fox Field / Burnaby, B.C.
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