Pilots win first conference game, beat Tigers 3-1
The University of Portland men’s soccer team won their first West Coast Conference game against the No. 18 Pacific Tigers, 3-1 at home. This big win comes after Monday’s defeat against the Virginia Cavaliers, and makes Portland’s overall record 6-5, and conference record 1-0.
As this year’s WCC favorite, Pacific was the only team to beat the Portland Pilots in conference play last season.
“It was a big statement for us,” said head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt. “I thought it was a result we deserved, so I’m really proud of the team.”
The Pilots started by giving up a corner early in the first half to the opposing team, after junior defender Lionel Mills slid and missed a pass from senior defender Kris Reaves. But the Tigers couldn’t capitalize off the corner, which allowed the Pilots to regain and keep possession on the Tigers’ side of the field. At 15 minutes into the game, senior Erik Edwardson, assisted by sophomore Rey Ortiz, scored with a four-yard header, giving the Pilots a lead of 1-0, and Edwardson his second goal of the season.
“It’s always nice to help the team with goals,” Edwardson said. “But honestly [I’m] just more happy for the win.”
Despite having a total of eight fouls, Portland dominated for the rest of the first half. And with less than 15 minutes left, sophomore Benji Michel slipped the ball past the goalie off an assist from Mills, scoring his ninth goal of the year and bringing the Pilots’ lead up 2-0.
But only five minutes into the second half, the Tigers brought the score up to 2-1 with a successful shot by Pacific forward Tariq Branche. Portland senior Jason Romero tried to make up for the goal with a shot that just missed the upper 90. Two consecutive shots by Michel and Ortiz followed, and missed. Michel’s hit the post, and Ortiz’s was blocked by Tigers goalkeeper, Curtis Goldsmith.
Although Pacific played more on Portland’s side of the field in the second half, they were unable to catch up to the Pilots. Collective groans came from the Tigers’ visiting spectators as the team kept missing shots. And with less than 15 minutes left in the game, Ortiz secured the win for the Pilots with his fourth goal of the year off a free kick just outside the box.
“Great team performance, nothing more than that,” Edwardson said. “Just a great work ethic from everybody on the pitch.”
The Portland Pilots will play their second conference game against the Toreros at University of San Diego next Friday, Oct. 13.