Beavers try for second straight conference win with NCAA tournament hopes on the line
The Oregon State men’s soccer team is preparing for their penultimate home game of the season, as they take on No. 21 San Diego State on Thursday afternoon.
The Beavers come into the game rejuvenated by Sunday’s win against California, and eager to claim all three points in their second go-around with the Aztecs this season.
The Beavers dictated proceedings when the two teams met in San Diego in late August. An equalizing goal from sophomore Hassani Dotson made the Beavers only the third team to breach SDSU’s defense in nine games up to that point; and a red card for the Aztecs in extra time further increased Oregon State’s control of the game.
Ultimately, the Beavers would have to settle for just a point, as they were unable to find a winning goal; but a strong road performance against the Aztecs will undoubtedly be a boost to the team as they prepare to face the same opposition at home.
OSU Head Coach Steve Simmons believes that his team is well situated to pick up a result on Thursday, and that the squad is even stronger than when these two teams first met.
“I think we’re better than the last time we played San Diego State, I honestly believe that,” he said. “I think we’re all more in tune with the job and our responsibilities, and the guys know it.”
Improvements in the team will be welcome for the Beavers, especially as their opponents boast the strongest defensive record in the Pac-12. Nine goals conceded through 15 games this season speaks to the Aztec’s ability to get the job done on the defensive end, but a conference-worst 1.00 goals per game shows that their attack leaves much to be desired.
For the Beavers, this season’s run of conference games has been marked by strong performances earning less than they deserve; but getting a first conference win against California on Sunday has helped improve the mood among the team.
“It really gives us a lot of confidence,” sophomore midfielder Don Tchilao said of Sunday’s result, “We’ve been disappointed with the way that we’ve lost [previous] games, but this Cal game gives us a lot of confidence to try to end the season strong.”
Senior defender Matt Striar also addressed the boost that the players received from Sunday’s win.
“We knew we could win [these] games,” he said, “A lot of these games were very close, and I think it all finally came together in that game. It really feels good going in to these last games.”
Beavers fans will be hopeful that the win has marked a turning point in the team’s luck, and that the team’s performances will finally start to earn what they’ve merited.
Thursday’s game against San Diego State kicks off at 3 P.M. in Corvallis at Paul Lorenz Field.