Nathan Pearsall, Staff Writer
Lacey, Wash. – The Saint Martin’s men’s soccer team enter today with a 1-2 record in conference, and a 3-6 overall record, more overall wins than their 2017 season.
The Saints found themselves in a slump to begin the season with a 1-3 loss to Westminster College of Utah and a 0-1 loss to California State University, Los Angeles.
Coach Rob Walker had some strong words for the way the men played and their future games. “Griffin Small’s second half goalkeeping, the play of our centerbacks, the play of our midfield, and the hard work of our front players, made this a very competitive game. Now, we need to make a carbon copy of this effort, work on improving the little things, and get ready for a great road trip to Southern California next week.”
A great start in California followed as they ran out on the field against California State University, Dominguez Hills. They were led by goalkeeper Griffin Small, who was named GNAC Defensive Player of the Week. Small played well with five saves and held out on late game attacks by the Toros for a clean slate. Brandon Madsen ultimately gave the Saints their lead with his second goal of the season.
The Saints moved on after their first win to play California State San Marcos. After falling behind 2-0 in the second half, the Saints were still looking for a spark to create opportunities. They got that in the 75th minute when Madsen hit a penalty kick in the top right corner creating a one score game with 15 minutes left. Unfortunately, they could not capitalize.
SMU would go on to lose their final California game 1-2 to the University of California San Diego. When the Saints returned to Lacey, they won 4-1 over the Vulcans of Hawaii-Hilo and then 3-1 over the Vikings of Western Washington. In these two wins, Madsen stayed hot by scoring one goal in each match.
The Saints unfortunately ran into a tough, talented team in Simon Fraser, the No.3 ranked national men’s team. Being down 1-2 at halftime seemed like good striking position for the Saints, but things took a turn and the Saints gave up four unanswered goals to The Clan losing 1-6. The Saints continue their home stretch with games against Northwest Nazarene and Seattle Pacific on Sept. 27 and Sept. 29.