The Pacific Lutheran University’s men’s soccer team season came to an unexpected end Saturday night as the team lost to cross-town rival University of Puget Sound 2-1.
The Division III Men’s Soccer Bracket was released today, and the Lutes were absent from the list of teams that made the tournament.
Even with a win, PLU’s team would not have been awarded the Northwest Conference Championship. But, a win might have allowed the Lutes to snag an at large bid for the tournament. Now, instead of preparing for next week, the team is preparing for next year.
The loss also dropped PLU’s conference record to 11-3, and their overall record of 15-5, just one win shy of setting their all-time record for wins in a season.The Lutes were rolling through their opponents as they went undefeated for an entire month. After playing at such a high level for so long, the team would inevitably fall from their peak at some point. They, along with head coach John Yorke, just didn’t expect to fall as fast as their rival Loggers stood up to the task of winning a tough road game.
“UPS took us out of our game, and we played panicky,” Yorke said. “We weren’t very good tonight.”
That energy went far during the first few minutes of the game. Eddie Na took the first point of the game in the 12th minute with a successful penalty kick, giving him 12 goals throughout the season and giving the team a 1-0 lead.
Even with an opening goal, the Lutes weren’t able to maintain their lead. UPS roared back in the 27th minute with a goal from Josh Sonico, assisted by Sam Zisette. The score brought with it a wave of silence over the crowd, as both teams went into halftime tied at 1-1.
It didn’t take long into the second half for UPS to score again. Logger Ezra Kraus fired a shot from 20 yards out which flew past the Lute defense to the back of the net, giving his team a 2-1 lead and shocking the Lutes with their first deficit in more than month.
The Lutes did out-shoot the Loggers 12-9 for the game, but the second goal clearly affected them. They were only able to fire off two shots in the entire second half.
The Loggers maintained their control until the end, giving them a 2-1 win and putting the Lutes postseason hopes in limbo.
Although this wasn’t the end to the season the team was looking for, they might just have to settle.
Coach Yorke has formed plenty of great memories over the years with his seniors. Even though the team may not have reached their full potential this year, he still won’t let the loss affect him too much.
“Looking back, we’ve had a very successful four years,” Yorke said. “One game doesn’t define their careers here.”
Giving the Lutes some extra energy, Saturday night was Senior Night for the Lutes. PLU honored seniors Mike Arguello, Jordan Downing, Todd Hoagland, Troy-Mikal Oliger and Kyle VanderWaal. ◼︎