Beavers look for first win in Conference play against Cal on Thursday
The Beavers’ men’s soccer team returned home on Monday after going on a difficult road trip to open up Pac-12 play. Games at No. 22 San Diego State and No. 13 UCLA were a stern test for a team looking to start its run of conference games in winning style, and the Beavers’ return of just a point has left them unsatisfied.
“I thought we played extremely well against San Diego State—to outshoot a team two-to-one like we did—we’re hard done by to not get the win there,” coach Steve Simmons said.
It’s hard to disagree with Simmons after looking at the stats sheet. The Beavers’ (4-4-2, 0-1-1 Pac-12) tally of twenty shots throughout the match, including seven shots on goal, is impressive for a visiting team. A red card for the hosts in extra time further increased Oregon State’s control on the game, but the Beavers were unable to come up with a winning goal.
As for Sunday’s 0-2 loss to the 13th-ranked Bruins, Simmons believes the team was on the receiving end of some tough luck.
A shot by OSU’s senior midfielder Devonte Small was incorrectly ruled out late in the first half. A goal would have given the Beavers a 1-0 lead, but the shot was judged to not have crossed the goal line.
“After review, [Small’s shot] goes in; but we didn’t get the call… That changes the dynamic of the game when you’re on the road against a very good team,” Simmons said about the effect the incident had on the game.
Two goals for UCLA in a two-minute span midway through the second half were enough for the Bruins to close out the game comfortably.
Having taken stock from these games, the Beavers’ focus now shifts to their game versus University of California on Thursday afternoon.
The Bears (4-3-1, 0-1) have the distinction of both scoring and conceding more goals per game than any other team in the conference (2.0 and 1.9, respectively).
For the Beavers’ captain, junior forward Jordan Jones, the Bears’ defensive frailties represent an opportunity for the team to move up the Pac-12 standings.
“It’s a good opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the season, battle back from last weekend, and get what we deserve,” Jones said.
A win against California can send the Beavers as high as third place in the six-team conference, and coach Simmons believes his team is ready for the challenge.
“When you’re at home, you want to be more aggressive. We’ve got guys that are hungry, and they want to put on a display and get a result to show for it,” Simmons said.
Sophomore midfielder Hassani Dotson also believes that the team’s performances prove that they have what it takes to make their way up the conference standings.
“I think we’ve started pretty strong,” he said, “it’s just a matter of refining those little mistakes and we’ll be fine.”
The Beavers will be looking to do just that when they face off against University of California at Paul Lorenz Field on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.