Simon Fraser clinches GNAC title
Second-half goal lifts No. 1 Clan past No. 15 Seattle Pacific
SEATTLE -- Top-ranked Simon Fraser is the Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion once again, securing the title thanks to a 2-1 victory on Thursday against its rivals from Seattle Pacific. It is the second conference title for the Clan in as many seasons.
SPU put pressure on the Clan early, recording the first three shots of the game. SFU responded in kind with the next three shots but they did one better than Seattle Pacific, finding the back of the net on its third shot of the game.
The goal came in the 13th minute from a familiar face as Carlo Basso got his 12th goal of the season to make it 1-0. Basso’s shot beat the keeper, sliding it into the bottom left side of the net from 10 yards out. Justin Wallace and Max Baessato had the assists.
SFU could not hold the lead as SPU responded with time ticking down in the first half.
The SPU goal came in the 43rd minute. Jon Pearman got his first goal of the season, scoring on a header from eight yards out off a corner kick from Richie Evoy.
The teams each had eight shots in the first half to go along with the 1-1 tie they took to the locker rooms at halftime.
Neither team could muster many offensive opportunities early in the second half.
That changed early in the 73rd minute when Juan Sanchez put a shot on goal, forcing Zach Johnson to make the save, keeping the score tied.
In the 74th minute, Basso put another shot on net but Johnson was there again to keep the score at 1-1.
Seconds later, Matt Besuschko broke the tie with his second goal of the season. Besuschko scored on a header off of a corner kick by Sanchez, giving the Clan a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish.
“It is a very sweet feeling to come to SPU and beat them in their house to win the 2011 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship,” head coach Alan Koch said. “Tonight was an absolute battle against a very dangerous team. I am incredibly proud of the way our team dealt with their individual battles and pulled together to earn another title. SPU and SFU games are always an up and down battle, and to beat them in both contests this year is a fantastic achievement. We look forward to hosting Saint Martin’s on Saturday in what will be a very special game, honoring coach Keith Watts. This championship is for him.”