Huskies pull out close win against Seattle Pacific University
The Huskies celebrate after a game-winning goal in with only second left i nthe second half. The Huskies beat the Falcons 2-1.
The Huskies celebrate after a game-winning goal in with only second left i nthe second half. The Huskies beat the Falcons 2-1.Photo by Joshua Bessex
Most fans had probably not heard of Steven Wright before Saturday night's exhibition match between No. 23 Washington and Seattle Pacific at Husky Soccer Stadium. They probably hadn't until the 90th minute, when the freshman from Fair Oaks, Calif., scored the game-winner with 20 seconds remaining to give the UW men's soccer team a 2-1 victory in Wright's Husky debut.
"I was just happy to be on the field," said Wright, who entered the match with 12 minutes remaining. "It felt great to get a goal and get off to a good start."
It may have been the season-opening exhibition, but the Falcons and Huskies battled for pride in what turned out to be a chippy contest. A pair of yellow cards were dished out to each team and UW head coach Jamie Clark exchanged verbal remarks with SPU's Mark Collings from the sidelines all night.
"Seattle Pacific's one of the best Division II teams in the country, so you know they're going to give you a real game," Clark said. "It was good to get a result, and we played a lot of guys. You get your feet wet; you get a lot of guys different amounts of time in different spots."
A total of 17 Huskies saw action and nine of them took at least one shot at the goal. Sophomore Ian Lange got the scoring started on a tap-in off a blocked shot by James Moberg, who received a cross from starting right forward Darwin Jones. Stephen MacDonald netted the only goal for the Falcons, ripping a shot off the post and into the upper right corner as UW goalkeeper Spencer Richey found himself out of position after deflecting an SPU header.
Clark thought the Huskies were a bit sloppy in keeping possession Saturday night. Part of it was constant substitutions, and most of it was losing the flow because of jitters in the first game of the year, he said.
The UW played somewhat of a 4-4-2 formation throughout the match, with senior Michael Harris starting at stopper and Moberg playing the majority of the game as an attacking central midfielder. Co-captain Taylor Peay anchored the defensive unit for the Huskies along with redshirt freshman Justin Schmidt.
True freshman Jose Ocampo played all 90 minutes at right back and made a series of noticeable mistakes. Clark said Ocampo isn't a lock to start this year, however. Sophomore defender Michael Gallagher was sidelined with an injury, as were a few other of the UW's key contributors.
"You see some guys are ready to play," Clark said. "And some guys still need a little seasoning."
The Huskies play at Gonzaga on Friday night to start the season when the UW officially begins its quest for its first conference title in 13 years. The home opener is slated for Sept. 3 against Santa Clara.
"Obviously it's an exhibition match, but you don't have much time in the preseason before the first game," Richey said. "So it was a tune up game for us. There's a lot of stuff that we liked and stuff we have to fix, so we'll have a good week of training and get ready for Gonzaga."
Reach reporter Justin Lester at email@example.com. Twitter: @JustinDLester
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