Working Overtime: Crusaders Earn Team Of The Week
Northwest Nazarene celebrates its game-winning goal in the 101st minute against Western Washington.
Northwest Nazarene celebrates its game-winning goal in the 101st minute against Western Washington.

Monday, October 10, 2016

PORTLAND  – Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s soccer in 2016 has been characterized by closely contested matches, and Northwest Nazarene earned four points in two double overtime matches last week to earn Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week.

In a stretch of 12 GNAC men’s soccer matches, 11 went to overtime, including both of Northwest Nazarene’s matches last week. On Thursday, Northwest Nazarene became the first team in 2016 to earn a point against No. 2 Simon Fraser, doing so with a 2-2 tie. Two days later, the Crusaders went to overtime again, and this time, NNU got a golden goal to post a 1-0 win in double overtime against Western Washington.

The tie against Simon Fraser ended the Clan’s eight-match winning streak to start the season. After allowing an own-goal in the 33rd minute, NNU responded six minutes later with a goal by Logan Wood, who took advantage of a botched punchout by the goalkeeper. Despite giving up another goal in the opening minutes of the second half, the Crusaders tied the score again on another botched punchout. This time Rene Duevel got the rebound, heading the ball to the crossbar and richocheting into the goal.

Goalkeeper Ryan Foo made two saves in the final minute of regulation and then yet another save in the 107th minute to preserve the tie. That save eventually secured a point for the Crusaders, moving them into second place in the conference standings behind the Clan.

“Simon Fraser is very strong so for us to take a point in that game is a big result for us,” said head coach Joel DeLass, who is in his first season at the helm for NNU. “We didn't get many chances so thankfully we were able to capitalize on the few we did get and probably caught Simon Fraser on a day when they didn't finish some chances they normally do.”

Foo again came up with a clutch performance against Western Washington with eight saves in regulation to send the match into overtime. In the 69th minute, Foo saved penalty kick to keep the shutout going.

“I know we've given up a lot of goals this season, which is super frustrating from Ryan Foo's standpoint, but if it weren't for him back there making the number of saves he does each game, we'd be conceding a lot more,” DeLass said. “He's been there to keep us in each game all year and the past two weekends he's stood on his head and given us a chance to get the results we have.”

After two overtime saves and a blocked shot, it was Northwest Nazarene’s turn to put pressure on the opposing defense. Just 41 seconds in the second overtime period, Ebu Camara centered a ball to Michael Mollay, who turned a shot to the left post for the game-winning goal.

“Western Washington was by far the better team in our game Saturday,” DeLass said. “We were very lucky to get out of that game with a win. Ryan Foo stood on his head to give a chance to win the game and thankfully on one of our few chances we were able to find a way to sneak the ball into the net in double overtime.”

With their four points last week, the Crusaders’ total sits at eight this season, which is good enough for second place in what has been a highly-competitive start to conference play in 2016. Seven of the 18 conference matches so far this year have ended in ties and 11 have gone to overtime. Northwest Nazarene will travel to Montana State Billings on Saturday for its only match this week.