Double-headed home matches end in victory and loss for Drivers’ soccer last weekend
The pilots’ football returned to Merlo Field under the lights last Friday, August 27, where they hosted their home opener against Cal and Air Force. With over 2,000 fans in attendance, Clive’s Army made sure their presence was felt early on, filling the student section with energy and emotion.
“It’s pretty amazing to be back. The energy, morale and positive vibes you get when you come here is something we couldn’t be more excited for, ”said female head coach Michelle French. “The fact that our team can come here and perform is very special. “
The double header started with the women’s team hosting the 20th-ranked Cal Golden Bears. The first half was competitive, with both teams staying on their heels.
Cal started the game aggressively on the attacking side of the ball as they managed to shoot five shots in the first 15 minutes of the game. The pilots responded by pushing down. Midfielder Rylee Seekins sent a through pass to forward Taryn Reis, who fouled shortly thereafter.
First-year striker Cally Togiai failed to take advantage of the penalty in the 46th minute, and the score remained zero at the end of the first half.
The second half showed a much more aggressive approach from the Drivers. Despite several chances on goal, they still haven’t managed to score.
With the game neck and neck throughout the second half, Cal’s Anysa Gray converted to a rebound shot in the 84th minute, giving the Golden Bears a 1-0 lead. The Drivers failed to match. Cal finished with another goal in the 90th minute and came out victorious.
French praised the team for handling the COVID-19 protocols to make this season possible.
“The way our players reacted to adversity was pretty amazing,” said French. “We saw some great things in training and now we just have to translate them onto the pitch. We have great opportunities to take a step forward every day. “
The men’s team finished the double header with an astonishing victory over the Air Force Falcons, energized by playing in front of a student section full of fans.
“The hardest part of playing during a pandemic was definitely not having the crowds,” said male head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt. “The crowd was fantastic tonight. I want to shout out Pilot Nation and thank them for everything they have given us.
It didn’t take the Pilots long to score points, as true first-year winger Sebastian Nava managed to convert on a rebound shot in the eighth minute.
“To be able to score and help the team to the win was amazing,” said Nava. “This is just the start for me and the team.”
Portland remained aggressive on the attacking end of the ball for most of the first half. The Air Force mirrored this aggression, opening up multiple scoring opportunities. At the end of the half, the Drivers were leading 1-0.
The second half was competitive. The Air Force had multiple promising assets, but they were unable to capitalize.
The Pilots’ defense was aggressive and controlled throughout the game. Pilots goaltender George Tasouris put an end to the Air Force’s attempts towards goal, ending the game with seven saves.
Portland managed to win in the 60th minute when Buba Fofanah fired a shot into the box. The Pilots took the lead with a final score of 2-0.
“We have fantastic leaders in this group,” Carlin-Voigt said. “If I had one word to describe this group, it would be“ together ”.
Men’s football lost 0-1 to Denver on Monday, August 30. They will play again at home on Friday against Oregon State at 7 p.m. ET. The women’s team will play away tomorrow against the University of Washington at 6 p.m. ET.
Keawe Strance is a sports reporter for The Beacon. He can be contacted at [email protected]