The Sonoma State Seawolves tangled with the Seattle Pacific University Falcons and came out on top in overtime with a score of 2-1 Saturday, Sep. 1st in a soccer match at Sonoma State.
Hard fought and hard won, that’s the best way to describe the Seawolves’ fight with the Falcons—simply vicious all the way through. The Seawolves entered the match coming off a loss against the Western Washington Vikings, and with defeat hanging about like an unwelcome specter, the Seawolves needed something, anything, to dispel that unwelcome poltergeist and take-home victory.
“The Thursday loss was a huge heartbreak for the team. We just wanted to unite and get back on a good level again,” Seawolves midfielder, Luis Mendoza, said. “There were moments where we could have won the game in the ninety minutes and not complicated ourselves with overtime.”
Indeed, there were. The first point of the match didn’t happen until well into the second half, but even then, it was a close thing. Mendoza drove through the Falcon’s defenses and took a shot on goal, bouncing the ball off Falcon goalkeeper, Kary Whitney’s foot before it managed to roll its way into the net.
“We worked hard and we pressed them,” Marcus Ziemer, Seawolves’ coach, said. “Our defense was solid and we cleared balls. Then when they went down a man we kept the ball swinging side to side.”
Perhaps more than anything else, it was a foul late in the second half that would swing things in the Seawolves’ favor. Falcon midfielder, Sam Rucklos, threw a dangerous kick at the face of Seawolves’ midfielder, Evan Roehrig which resulted in a red card. For the rest of the game the Falcons were a player down.
“It was just a dangerous play, so I’m not surprised that it was a red,” said Roehrig. “I caught it with my hand and Devin came up to me afterwards and said, ‘That was God’s hand.’ That red card helped a lot.”
Despite losing one of their number, the Falcons proved resilient. They managed to get the ball into the Seawolves’ territory and score, dragging the game into sudden death and leaving the Seawolves less than thrilled as their Thursday loss against the Vikings looked to repeat itself right before their eyes.
Things turned around in overtime when, yet again, the Falcons fouled the Seawolves, giving them a free kick just a few feet from the goal. Mendoza took the shot, but the ball bounced off the right bar and into the waiting cleats of Seawolves’ forward, Sebastian Santos. Santos smashed the ball into the net with a kick that could be heard all the way to the stands.
“I was kind of beating myself up mentally for giving away the goal earlier. I didn’t want to lose,” said Santos.
It was a downcast Mark Collings, the Falcon’s head coach, who led his team back to the Sonoma State parking lot. He shook his head as he recounted the final minutes of game.
“We were just lacking a little bit of discipline and we committed some silly fouls,” said Collings. “The red card was a bang-bang. It was an unfortunate play, but I don’t think there was any intent there. Up to that point we had good control and possession of the ball. Going a man down puts that much extra work on your team.”
Saturday was the first victory of the season for the Seawolves, and they hope to carry that momentum to their next game which is against the University of Mary Marauders Friday, Sept. 7th in Montana.