Nov. 15, 2013
Renato Bandeira and Jeff Rose scored and goalie Jake Feener had 10 saves to lead the top-seeded Seattle University men’s soccer team to a 2-0 victory over fourth-seeded Air Force Friday in the semifinals of the 2013 WAC Tournament at Cadet Soccer Stadium. The Falcons, who tied for the East Division title in the WAC this season, saw their 2013 season comes to a close with a 4-11-5 overall record.
Bandeira put the Redhawks (9-8-4) ahead 1-0 in the 12th minute with a shot from 25 yards out that eluded Air Force keeper Jake Schenk and snuck inside the far post. Cameron Rohani was credited with an assist on the play.
The Falcons nearly tied it up in the 19th minute when senior Brian Klazura fired a shot that had the top shelf of the net written all over it but Feener just got his hand on the ball to make the save. The Falcons outshot Seattle 8-5 in the first half but trailed 1-0 at the break.
Air Force had 12 shots in the second half and controlled the play for most of the stanza, but could not score the equalizer. As the Falcons kept pushing further and further into their offensive zone, the Redhawks had some chances of their own. The WAC’s offensive player of the year, Miguel Gonzalez, had a header hit the crossbar, then Schenk robbed him of a goal with a miraculous save off a point-blank shot in the 79th minute.
Seattle scored an insurance goal in the 88th minute as Gonzalez took a long pass from Shane Mahvi and took the ball to the net against the lone Falcon defender and passed to a wide open Jeff Rose, who one-timed a shot past Schenk.
“I thought it was a game of two halves,” said Air Force head coach Doug Hill. “We came out a little flat in the beginning, but totally dominated the shots and possession in the second half. Their goalie made a championship save on Brian (Klazura) early on and we were pushing the game and gave it all we had.”
Klazura led all players with seven shots in his final game with Air Force. He missed only one game in his four-year career and fellow co-captain Caleb Downey did not miss a game with the Falcons. Seniors Michael Thrasher and Mitch Kim will also graduate next spring.
“Brian and Caleb have been great leaders for this team,” said Hill. “You could see towards the end of the game how badly they wanted to keep their careers alive. However, the future looks bright here and we have a great nucleus coming back to build on.”
Klazura scored the game-winner on a penalty kick with 3:33 remaining in regulation time after being hauled down in the box by HBU’s George Kelley, resulting in a red card. Houston Baptist goalie Kevin Suarez dove to his left but Klazura placed his shot behind him for his second goal of the season.
After a scoreless first half that saw HBU outshoot Air Force 10-2, the Falcons thought they had taken a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute when freshman Blake Elder gathered the ball after having his shot blocked and fired a rocket past Suarez. However, after a lengthy discussion between the referee and assistant referee, offsides was called on Air Force. Two minutes later, Air Force junior Matt Payne had a shot that got behind Suarez but Sebastian Henke swept the ball off the goal line for the save.
Ward finally put the Falcons on the board in the 66th minute when Suarez cleared the ball from the top of box right to Ward, who took a couple of dribbles and sent a shot that bounced once before going into the empty net. It was Ward’s team-leading fourth goal of the season.
“Ryan’s composure on that goal was brilliant,” said Air Force head coach Doug Hill. “He realized he had some time and took full advantage of it. That was a tremendous way for our team to come back after the goal was called back.”
The Huskies battled back and peppered Schenk with shot after shot, including a flurry of four shots on goal in an eight-second span in the 71st minute. Patrick Toh, who led all players with eight shots, had three of the shots and Gustavo Alvarado had the other and Schenk saved all four of them to hold the 1-0 lead.
Schenk made the save of the game in the 79th minute as Toh was all alone behind the AFA defense, but could not get his point-blank shot past Schenk. HBU’s persistence finally paid off, however, in the 80th minute when Kristopher Tyrpak took a crossing pass from Ricky-Paul Mupier and placed a header past Schenk from right in front of the net.
Schenk recovered and made another tough save just seconds before Klazura broke free behind the Husky defense and was pulled down for the PK. Schenk then made two more saves in the final three minutes to preserve the victory.
“Jake was nothing short of outstanding today,” said Hill. “The way to win a championship is with a championship keeper and he is playing like one right now.”
Klazura and Payne led the Falcons with four shots apiece. In addition to Toh’s eight shots, Walter Kromholz had five and Tyrpak had four as the Huskies held a 28-12 advantage in total shots and 13-3 in shots on goal.
“Despite the number of shots they took, our defense marked their scorers very well,” said Hill. “Caleb Downey was excellent in organizing the defense all game. We need to rest for tomorrow’s game but I hope we can rely on our depth and resiliency against Seattle.”