SEATTLE - Seattle University men’s soccer opened up its first home match of the season at Championship Field in dramatic fashion, defeating visiting Cal Poly 2-1 off a late game-winner from junior Connor Noblat. Hamish Ritchie scored the first goal for the Redhawks.
The first half was defensively strong from Seattle U. The back four of Josh Castrillon, Alex Acton-Petronotis, Thomas Mickoski, and Anthony Ayala prevented any kind of attack from Cal Poly, quickly stepping in on penetrating passes from the midfield and winning the lion’s share of headers.
Possession was also a bright spot for the Redhawks. Generated from sophomore Gabriel Ruiz and junior Julian Avila-Good, the Redhawks were able to create chance after chance, putting the backline of Cal Poly under constant pressure.
The Mustang backline would eventually crack from a wide through-ball from the feet of Ruiz to the box where freshman Declan McGlynn knocked the ball down to Ritchie, who picked his head up and one-time slotted the ball to the bottom-right corner from fifteen yards out in the 42nd minute. Seattle U would take the lead into the half.
Going into the second 45, the Redhawks became more attack-minded. Senior captain Sergio Rivas combined time after time with the defensive midfielders, which allowed Ritchie to open up space through off-the-ball runs.
Despite the run of play, the Mustangs would even the score in the 78thminute from a fifteen-yard, low curler from redshirt junior George Grote.
Seattle U wouldn’t let the goal deter its attacking mindset as the pressure would increase from penetrating through balls as well as darting, dribbling tries from the front line. In the 81st minute, a ball over the top would find the head of Hal Uderitz who nodded the ball onto an on-rushing Noblat. Noblat would pick his head up from the edge of the 18-yard box and one-touch chip the strained Mustang keeper, getting the crowd at Championship Field on their feet.
The Redhawks held the lead for the remaining nine minutes, sending Seattle U fans home happy as the Redhawks pulled off the 2-1 win. SU held a 26-5 advantage on the shot chart for the night.
Coach Pete Fewing couldn’t say enough about the effort from his side.
“We’re at home. I was pleased with the guys who started and pleased with the guys who came off the bench. Sergio took the game over in the second half."
The Redhawks continue their 2018 campaign at home on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. against UC Santa Barbara.