Second half outburst sends Huskies to round of 16
Freshman Mason Robertson heads the ball in the final minutes of the second half against Seattle U. Robertson scored one of the UW’s four goals on the night.
Freshman Mason Robertson heads the ball in the final minutes of the second half against Seattle U. Robertson scored one of the UW’s four goals on the night.Photo by Joshua Bessex
In front of a sellout crowd and the third-largest turnout in Husky Soccer Stadium history, the second-seeded Washington men’s soccer team used a trio of second-half goals to beat its cross-town rival Seattle University 4-2 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
After scoring both goals in the UW’s 2-0 win over Seattle U on Oct. 8, sophomore Josh Heard scored once and assisted on a pair of UW goals Sunday night.
“I had no idea Seattle U was my team to play against,” Heard said. “We got a little confident when we were 4-0 up. We kind of lulled the game, but we gained our composure and got it back.”
The Huskies (15-1-4) were dominant through the first half and took a 1-0 lead into the break. They piled it on Seattle U with three goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half, all of which Heard had a hand in.
Seattle U kept pressure on UW keeper Ryan Herman and scored a pair of goals in 27 seconds during the 72nd minute. But the UW back line didn’t allow any Seattle U chances the rest of the way, and the Huskies advanced to the round of 16.
UW head coach Jamie Clark was happy that the Huskies were somewhat tested rather than being able to walk away with an easy victory.
“Facing a little adversity is better,” he said. “A 4-0 game would have felt good, but guys would have gotten overly confident. I think 4-2 was more of a real result, because we weren’t 4-0 better. That’s for sure. But it was good, because you get a little lead, but guys know they have to do more.”
The first UW goal was a left-footed shot by Darwin Jones that found the bottom right corner in the 28th minute. Jones was one-on-one with a defender on the left flank, beat his man, and drilled a shot past Seattle U keeper Jake Feener, who led the nation in saves during the regular season.
Clark used Jones as a left winger rather than playing him at the junior’s typical forward spot. Jones has been nursing a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, so Clark wants the ball to be at Jones’ left foot for crosses and shots.
“It’s been a bit of a transition,” Jones said. “But if that’s my role, I’ll just accept it and do my best at it. If we can get the ball outside, we can isolate me and [Heard].”
Sunday’s match was full of pushing and shoving between two rivals, and the UW’s next match will feature equal animosity between opponents. This Sunday, the UW hosts Pac-12 foe Stanford, which Herman referred to as his team’s biggest rival.
Having beaten Stanford twice this season, the Huskies are confident in their chances of reaching the next round.
“There’s a belief within our team,” Heard said. “I think it’ll carry on all the way to the Final Four.”
Reach reporter Justin Lester at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JustinDLester
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