Pilots can't overcome BYU in tough 1-0 loss
In their second to last game of the season, the young Pilots fell to experienced rivals BYU 1-0 after a tightly contested battle at Merlo Field tonight.
“This is a team that’s had a rough season…things haven’t gone our way this year” said Garrett Smith, head coach of the Portland Pilots. “The thing I appreciate most about them is their resiliency…They’re still trying to represent the school.”
The first five minutes of the match saw only light sparring by both sides until Portland’s goalkeeper Rachel Lusby was forced to make a standout save to keep the score level early on.
“There’s not a lot of room for error. You don’t see all the good things the defenders are doing to prevent shots,” Lusby said when reflecting on Portland’s defensive effort.
The action picked up after the first 10 minutes as BYU peppered Portland’s goal with shots from outside the box. It wasn’t until the 26th minute that the Pilots started to show signs of life after Larkin Russell curled a shot that grazed the left side netting.
“I’m really proud of our team in general,” said Hannah Griffiths Boston after Portland’s offense failed to find the back of the net in her last home game at Merlo Field. “It was special, but it hasn’t hit me yet.”
After a first half that saw most of the possession fall in Portland’s defensive half, Kaycie Young started off the Pilots’ second 45 on the right foot with a shot that was barely deflected over the bar by BYU’s keeper. The game evened out from here until BYU found a bit of magic in the 67th minute when sophomore Elise Flake sliced through two defenders and slotted home her fifth goal of the season to put the Pilots down by one.
“Their passion for this program and their passion for this game is second to none,” Smith said.
It was a gritty fight to the finish as both sides gave their all until the very end of tonight’s performance. Things simply didn’t seem to go the Pilot’s way in their game tonight, as Portland found themselves with numerous opportunities to score against their WCC rivals but were unable to finish. Much of this bad luck can be attributed to the youthfulness of this Portland team, who had only three seniors start in tonight’s game.
“We’re trying to lay a nice foundation for the next years coming up and make sure we follow through with everything,” said Boston. While the plethora of youthful players in tonight’s squad may have been a hinderance in tonight’s performance against a more experienced team, they’ll surely be a force to be reckoned with as these inexperienced Pilot’s grow and mature in upcoming seasons.
Tonight’s loss marked the second loss in a row for Portland after losing to San Diego at home on Thursday. They travel to Pepperdine Nov. 4th to close out their season.