5 Goals Over GNAC Foes Earns NNU Team of the Week
GNAC Defensive Player of the Week, Yannick Petzschke, helped shutout WWU and keep SFU scoreless in the final 76 minutes.
GNAC Defensive Player of the Week, Yannick Petzschke, helped shutout WWU and keep SFU scoreless in the final 76 minutes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Northwest Nazarene men’s soccer team has earned GNAC Red Lion Team of the Week honors after two strong conference victories last week.

The Crusaders, who find themselves tied for first place in the GNAC standings with Seattle Pacific, scored five goals in the two matches. NNU beat Simon Fraser 3-2 in double overtime while the team shut out Western Washington 2-0.

“We knew this was going to be one of the toughest road trips of the year,” head coach Coe Michaelson said. “We are thrilled to have pulled out two wins.”

On Thursday, the Crusaders traveled up to Bellingham where the team scored one goal in each half, both assisted by Julio Castillo, to earn the victory. Alfredo Ontiveros stopped all of the Vikings' six shots-on-goal in his 12th career shutout –the third this season.

“We’ve had two shutouts in our last three games,” Michaelson said. “There was a big focus to improve defensively and we’re on our way to where we want to be. We’ve found a great center-back combo and our goalie is doing great as well.”

On Saturday, NNU crossed the border to take on perennial powerhouse Simon Fraser. The Crusaders gave up one quick goal and another right before half, putting the team in a 2-0 deficit at the break. Northwest Nazarene rallied in the second half however, scoring two goals in a span of three minutes to force overtime.

The first goal by Yannick Petzschke, the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week, came in the 54th minute while forward Michael Mollay knocked in another in the 57th minute to knot the game up.

“Late in the half I thought we found a good combination of opportunities,” Michaelson said. “I told the players that the next goal is key and they went out and played 20 minutes of their best soccer this year.”

The first overtime produced no results and it looked like the second would be the same. NNU received a free kick in front of the SFU goal with only seconds to go in regulation, and Rene Duevel knocked in the loose ball for the game winner.

“A finish like that, escpecially at Simon Fraser, is exciting to say the least,” Michaelson said.

NNU now has won five matches in a row, with three coming on the road. The team is also one of only two teams still undefeated in conference play.

The Crusaders are in the top three in the conference in points, goals and assists and lead the GNAC in saves. Individually, Castillo currently leads the conference in assists per game while Ontiveros leads in save percentage. Junior Erik Anderson is also second in the nation in game-winning goals with three.

Northwest Nazarene will continuing conference play this week by hosting South Dakota Mines on Thursday and the University of Mary on Saturday.