Pilots can’t take advantage of opportunities, Fall to Broncos 4-1
In their first home conference game of the year, the Portland Pilots fell to the Santa Clara Broncos in a brutal 4-1 loss.
“We did more than enough to score more chances than we did,” said Garrett Smith, head coach of the Pilots. “I’m looking at our bench and we had our entire midfield in a big puffy jacket tonight because of injuries.”
Entering the game with a smaller squad than usual due to injuries to their midfield, the Pilots played a tough game against Santa Clara where they were unable to take advantage of the opportunities they had.
The Pilots opened up conference play last week with a pair of losses to the St. Mary’s Gaels and the Pacific Tigers respectively. They lost their conference opener to the Gaels 2-1 and their subsequent game against the Tigers 2-0. After this match against the Broncos, they sit at 3-9-1 and are winless in conference play.
The Broncos split their first two conference games of the year with one monster win and an equally as big loss. They beat Loyola Maramount 4-0 but would follow that up with a 5-0 loss to Pepperdine. With the win the Broncos are now 7-6-1 and are 2-1 in conference play.
Santa Clara struck early and netted the first two goals of the game. After two Pilots ran into each other trying to defend Broncos’ freshman Julie Doyle, Doyle was able to breeze on by the Pilots. The kick struck the net high and to the left, giving Doyle her fifth goal of the year in the 6th minute. In the 40th minute, freshman Kelsey Turnbow scored an unassisted goal that also found the top left corner for her fifth goal of the year as well.
The Pilots struggled in the first half to find the back of the goal despite the large amount of chances. Portland found themselves frequently on Santa Clara’s side of the field and were able to get some quality shots on goal off, including a sequence where Freshman Taryn Ries hit a shot high off the post only for Portland to get it back and for Ries to shoot another shot that again hit the top crossbar of the goal. Nevertheless, the Pilots finished the first half scoreless, missing out on some golden opportunities to score.
“At the half it was 6-8 in shots and they’re up two and you’re just like ‘we don’t deserve this right now,’” Smith said. “If we score two of those three chances in the first half, we go into the locker room 2-1 up.”
Only one yellow card was issued in the first half. After Broncos forward Maria Sanchez dribbled through the legs of Pilots defender Ellie Walker, Walker and Sanchez hooked arms resulting in Sanchez falling to the ground.
Santa Clara got themselves a pair of goals in the second half as well. The Broncos got their first goal of the second half when Kelsey Turnbow scoring her second goal of the night in the 69th minute to notch her sixth goal of the season. Delaney Baie Pridham scored her first goal of the year with a smooth chip shot up and over Pilots goalkeeper Rachel Lusby in the 80th minute.
Portland was able to score in the second half, with sophomore Kimberly Hazlett scoring her first goal of the year in the 75th minute with the assist from sophomore Lucy Davidson. Unfortunately for Portland, they needed more than that to come back against the Broncos.
For the Pilots, this game was one where the opportunities were there but they just couldn’t capitalize. In Smith’s eyes, this was a game where they did what they needed to do but just needed to finish.
“It’s not about what we’ve got to change,” Smith said. “It’s how do we change our karma.”
This young Portland team will need their karma to hopefully turn around soon, as they have yet to get a win in conference play and haven’t won since their 1-0 victory over Oregon State. Their next game will be against the 4-6-2 University of San Francisco Dons who are also looking for their first conference win.