Seattle Pacific Season Ends At Hands Of CSU Pueblo
Seattle Pacific forward Alex Mejia (No. 12) controls the ball during a first round NCAA tournament match against CSU Pueblo.
Seattle Pacific forward Alex Mejia (No. 12) controls the ball during a first round NCAA tournament match against CSU Pueblo.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – After winning the GNAC regular-season title, the Seattle Pacific Falcons men’s soccer season came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 loss to CSU Pueblo at Cal State LA’s Jesse Owens Complex.

Sophomore midfielder Matthew Coleman scored his first goal of the season in the 79th-minute to lift the ThunderWolves, who won their first NCAA Tournament game in program history.

Seattle Pacific had seven shots on goal to CSU Pueblo’s five and had three corner kicks to the ThunderWolves’ one but couldn’t get anything past Pueblo goalkeeper Garret Wild, who held opponents to a 0.71 goals against average in 20 matches and made six saves in the second half alone against the Falcons. GNAC Player of the Year Alex Mejia, who entered ranking second in Division II with 2.47 shots on goal per match, and midfielder Travis Swallow had two shots on goal each for SPU.

The ThunderWolves had the majority of the chances early on, leading in shots 7-1 at the break and forcing GNAC Defensive Player of the Year Lars Helleren to make two saves in the SPU goal.

Mejia challenged Wild just after the break, forcing a save in the 47th minute. That set the tone for a second half in which SPU had the better chances. The Falcons recorded nine shots, including six on goal, but Wild made every save he needed to make, including three in the span of three minutes just before the hour mark.

Despite SPU’s pressure, CSU Pueblo broke through in the 79th minute. Coleman was an unexpected goal scorer, with only three registered shots on goal all season before having two in today’s match.

After the ThunderWolves goal, Seattle Pacific pushed hard for an equalizer, creating a frenetic scramble in front of CSU Pueblo’s net in the final seconds. Nik Reierson had a shot blocked with 20 seconds to play and Demian Alvarez’s last ditch effort went wide left as time expired.

CSU Pueblo will advance to play top-seeded Cal State LA on Saturday. For Seattle Pacific, their season ends after their first regular season GNAC title and NCAA tournament berth since 2015, when they also lost in the first round on penalty kicks to Cal State Dominguez Hills.

The Falcons led the conference in goals (37), assists (30) and goals allowed (18) and end the season with a 12-4-2 record.