Saints Soccer Goes Marching To GNAC Team Of The Week
The Saints have won three straight matches to open the month of October, the latest coming via shutout against Concordia.
The Saints have won three straight matches to open the month of October, the latest coming via shutout against Concordia.

Monday, October 15, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – After opening the month of October with a road victory, the Saint Martin’s men’s soccer team came into last week with a little momentum and plenty of confidence.

That energy carried over seamlessly as the Saints won two more matches, going 2-0 on the week to move into a tie for second place in the conference. The victories, coming in 3-2 fashion at Montana State Billings and in a 1-0 shutout of Concordia, earned SMU the selection as GNAC Team of the Week.

Head coach Rob Walker’s team was led by defender John Cayman, who tallied two goals against the Yellowjackets on Thursday before capping the week with an assist on his club’s lone strike against the Cavaliers. Goalkeeper Griffin Small came up big as well, recording seven saves to go along with the clean sheet and two victories.

Small’s seven saves was tied for the second-most among all GNAC keepers last week. It brought his total to 58 for the season, slotting the senior at No. 28 nationally in total saves.

For Walker, his club’s ability to win the two matches in two different ways is what impressed him most.

“Our week was a tale of two distinctly different stories against two different, well-prepared teams,” he said. “In the MSUB game, we scored first but gave up two goals and had to play through a little sleet early in the second half. When the sun reappeared, so did we and I thought our two late goals was a testament to the guys.”

A more defensive match followed two days later against Concordia, an opponent Saint Martin’s was plenty familiar with.

“The Concordia game was different in that we had just played them nine days earlier,” said Walker. “They came out with a good tactical plan and as we expected, played well on the counter-attack. Our lone goal was part of the reason for the win, but some gritty defending and a little luck played into our hands as the Cavaliers really put us under pressure in the final 15 minutes.”

Walker’s team would ultimately survive, facing nine shots in the final 15 minutes without letting one through. That held the score at 1-0, allowing forward Brandon Madsen’s 38th-minute goal to stand up in the victory.

With six more points in hand, the only team ahead of Saint Martin’s on the GNAC table is No. 1 Simon Fraser.

The team will have a chance at knocking off the top team in Division II later this week, traveling to Burnaby on Saturday, Oct. 20 after making a stop in Bellingham to face Western Washington two days prior. The date with the Vikings is scheduled for a 4 p.m. kickoff, while the clash with the Clan will begin at 7 p.m.