It was an overcast evening on Merlo field as the University of Portland men and women’s soccer teams stepped out to compete against Northern Illinois University and Brigham Young University, respectively.
The first game started off strong, with the men’s team winning 4-0 against Northern Illinois University.
The match began with a goal by midfielder Jacob Babalai with assists from midfielder Jake Arteaga and defender Kevin Bonilla in the 16th minute.
Northern Illinois attempted shots to the goal, but goalie George Tasouris was able to save.
The Pilots entered halftime with a score of 2-0 after midfielder Wesley Frankel scored a goal with an assist from forward Atem Kato.
Kato returned in the second half to make his own goal in the 59th minute, the first goal of his collegiate career.
“It feels really nice,” Kato said. “I’ve been preparing for this moment, working hard each and every single day after training, when everybody else left I stayed behind, did more training, extra work, and it paid off.”
After a goal from forward Buba Fofanah, the Pilots stormed even further ahead, maintaining their lead.
To win the game, the team needed as good defense as they had offense, and this they got with goalkeeper Brandon Limes making an impressive save as the Illinois team shot for the goal in the last few minutes.
“I’m really happy for Brandon Limes to make his debut in a Pilot uniform and preserve the shut out,” Head Coach Nick Carlin-Voigt said.
The men’s team ended the game with a 4-0 win.
“It was a big game for us, a tricky game to prepare for because we have a big game on Saturday, but we wanted to chase this game and get a top 15 win,” Carlin-Voigt said.
At 7:30, The women’s team took to the field to celebrate their nine seniors on senior night with framed jerseys and smiling parents.
The sky may have been dreary, but the stadium wasn’t, as crowds of fans gathered in the rain to watch the women’s soccer team compete against Brigham Young University.
And then, the game began, with goalkeeper Bre Norris making two saves within the first five minutes of the game.
The Pilots focused on defense as the game kicked into gear, but were unable to block a goal from Brigham Young in the 31st minute of the game.
BYU made 15 shots in the first half, but they were only able to score one goal before reaching halftime, being blocked by Norris’s saves and the team’s defense.
“I do it to keep my team in the game,” Norris said. “I think it gives them the confidence to play, but I wouldn't have that result without all the defenders.”
BYU continued to score two more goals in the second half, ending with a score of 0-3.
“I think for any player that stepped on the field, there was never going to be a question of how hard they would work,” Head Coach Michelle French said. “I think you could see that as we continued, even towards the end of the game, to actually generate chances.”
On Nov. 6, the men’s team will play against Santa Clara University and the women’s team will compete against University of the Pacific.
Kate Cuadrado is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.