Ben Fisk and James Moberg are at very different stages of their respective UW careers.But on Friday night, the two put together a dominating performance in the midfield to set the stage for the Huskies’ biggest game of the season.
Fisk, a senior and the UW’s co-captain, and Moberg, its star freshman, each scored goals to lead the Huskies (11-3-3, 6-0-2 Pac-12) to a 2-0 victory over San Diego State (6-7-2, 0-5-1) that extended the Huskies’ unbeaten streak to nine games.
Next up for the No. 24 Huskies: a de facto Pac-12 championship game against No. 7 UCLA on Monday night in Seattle.
If the UW defeats the Bruins, it would need only a tie in its season finale against Oregon State to clinch at least a share of the conference crown.
“UCLA is one of the top dogs in the Pac-12,” Fisk said. “There’s a bit of a rivalry brewing with them, so the fact that this game is for the Pac-12 adds a little more shine to it.”
Neither the cold, the rain, nor the Aztec defense was able to slow down the UW on Friday, as the team put together what head coach Jamie Clark called their “most complete” performance of the season.
“It wasn’t always flashy, but we were confident, composed, and played with the most belief I’ve seen out of the group,” Clark said. “They knew not only [that] they would win but win comfortably, and they did.”
Fisk got the Huskies on the board in the fourth minute against the Aztecs with a strike from the top of the 18-yard box. San Diego State tried to clear a cross from Patrick Pacheco, but Fisk hit the loose ball on his first touch into the bottom left corner of the net to give his team the early lead.
“Fisk covers every hole on the field that no one notices,” Clark said. “He is the glue of our team. He does everything quietly, but he’s absolutely brilliant. He’s the guy who you win because of, but nobody notices that. It’s nice when he starts scoring goals, because he finally gets the respect that he deserves.”
Fisk was pleased to get the win but quickly turned his sights toward Monday’s date with the Bruins.
“We knew that this game had a lot riding on it, and we came out and proved a lot,” Fisk said. “We’ve been talking about it all week, and it puts us in a great spot to play for the Pac-12 championship against UCLA on Monday. This was a must-win game for us, and the boys showed up today.”
Although the rain — which affected footing throughout the match — cleared up early in the second half, neither team could get much offense going until Moberg’s stunning goal from distance in the 67th minute.
The freshman launched a shot from just inside the center circle that caught the flat-footed Aztec keeper, who had been positioned at the edge of the 18-yard box. The shot lofted into the back of the net to give the Huskies a two-goal lead.
“The whole game, anytime anybody got the ball, their goalie was out on the edge of the 18,” Moberg said. “I decided that the next ball I got, I was going to put it over his head and in.”
The goal was the third of the year for the youngster from Windsor, Calif. All three have come in conference play, including the winning goal against Oregon State Sept. 30.
“He just sees things that other players don’t see,” Clark said. “He‘s also got the confidence to try things that other players might shy away from. It’s nice when you’ve got both the talent and the confidence to try things.”
Reach reporter Daniel Rubens at email@example.com. Twitter: @Drubens12
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