The SFU men’s soccer team got back to its winning ways on the road Thursday, with a decisive 4-0 result against the Saint Martin’s University Saints (SMU). With that, the Clan snapped a four match winless run and achieved their first victory in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).
It was a fantastic response to a frustrating setback last weekend against the Northwest Nazarene Crusaders, who handed the Clan their first loss at home this season with a goal in the dying minutes of overtime play.
SFU quickly shook off their disappointment and brought their A-game to Lacey, WA, much to the satisfaction of head coach Alan Koch.
“I’m very happy with how they played; they came here very prepared and put in a great performance,” Koch told The Peak.
“The guys have had a reality check the last few games and been humbled a bit, but today you could see the hunger in them and the willingness to play for each other,” he added.
Sticking with their trademark style of play this season, the Clan started the match guns a-blazing with three goals in the opening 20 minutes. Magnus Kristensen linked up with Ryan Dhillon in attack, who then provided the assist for Jovan Blagojevic’s go-ahead goal.
Dhillon would contribute further, less than 10 minutes later, with his third goal of the season thanks to a pass from Nico Espinoza. Blagojevic found the back of the net just three minutes later, taking his tally to eight goals as top scorer in the GNAC.
Espinoza, who started for SFU for the first time, made his presence felt tremendously by grabbing the Clan’s fourth goal of the match, as Blagojevic found him open to tap in the ball from the middle of the box.
“Nico’s first start was fantastic,” said Koch. “We expected a lot from him and he exceeded those expectations, he’s a great distributor of the ball and spread play throughout the entire pitch.”
Defensively, the Clan were also top notch, allowing just two shots on target in the match and achieving their first clean sheet of the season.
The men will have to turn this momentum into more wins, in order to make the post-season, in what is turning out to be a highly competitive season in the GNAC.