(MSU Billings release)
SEATTLE – Niklas Schregel pounded home the game-winning goal in the 67th minute Saturday evening at Interbay Stadium, helping the visiting Montana State University Billings men’s soccer team complete a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Great Northwest Athletic Conference opponent Seattle Pacific University.
MSUB fell behind in the 18th minute, but equalized on a free kick goal by Guillaume Kremer just before halftime before Schregel’s finish midway through the second. The Yellowjackets put a stop to a four-game losing skid, and improved to 6-9 overall and 4-5 in conference play with just their second-ever win in Seattle with a steady rain falling throughout the day. MSUB turned the tables on SPU after a similarly tight match in Billings on Sept. 28, in which the Falcons overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat MSUB 2-1.
“We were in a massive hole after four losses in-a-row, but we gave the guys a challenge to win the final five games of the season,” said MSUB head coach Alex Balog. “I’m very proud that the guys collectively stood up today, against a very good SPU team that had been on fire of late.”
The Falcons dropped to 9-4-1 overall and are 5-3-1 in conference play, snapping a three-game winning streak with Saturday’s defeat.
Kremer cut loose a long, strong shot from the right wing, that SPU goalkeeper Kary Whitney stifled for his first save of the evening seven minutes into the game. Whitney wound up with three saves in the match, as his team was out-shot 10-9 on the evening.
The Falcons kept pressure on with a pair of corner kicks in succession, the latter of which resulted in a near miss by Alex Mejia with a hard left-footed shot over the crossbar from inside the box.
A risky pass across the middle by the ‘Jackets proved costly in the 18th minute, as the Falcons intercepted the ball and found themselves with a clean look on goal. Mori Tsuchiya took a touch past a defender, and tucked away his fourth goal of the year into the left corner of the net.
The ‘Jackets equalized thanks in part to a dangerous free kick and a mishap by SPU’s Whitney in goal. Kremer placed a 20-yard shot around the wall and on target, and though it appeared Whitney had it covered the ball squirted underneath his grasp off the wet turf and into the back of the net.
The junior made an incredible stop two minutes later however, leaping to flip an on-target shot by Kremer over the crossbar with his left hand.
The teams headed to the locker rooms all square at 1-1, and each side won a pair of corner kicks over the opening 45 minutes.
The ‘Jackets came out of the gates and put the pressure on, taking the first three shots of the second. The third proved to be the consequential strike of the ball in the match, as Schregel ran onto a low cross by Victor Sanchez to slide home his second goal of the season. “I’m very proud of Niklas scoring the game winner, as he is a senior who has given everything to MSUB,” Balog said. “He has stuck with us through a lot of ups and downs, and I’m very happy for him.”
MSUB goalkeeper Tom Lohmann made all three of his saves in the final 15 minutes of play, including a stop on a shot by Gabe Kellum with less than five minutes to go. The Falcons won a final corner kick and mustered two more shots in the waning minutes, but both were off target as the ‘Jackets defended well through the final whistle.
Kremer led all players with four shots, including three on target, while Jess Cayetano had a team high three attempts for the Falcons.
THE BUZZ: Schregel was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…it was the senior’s seventh career goal and third game-winner…MSUB is now 5-17-5 all-time against SPU and is 2-13-3 in games played in Seattle…MSUB’s last win at Seattle Pacific was a 4-2 result on Nov. 6, 2008…SPU claimed a 2-1 win over MSUB the first time the teams met, on Sept. 28…Lohmann is now two saves away from breaking the MSUB career record of 196, as he finished the weekend with 195…the assist on Schregel’s goal was the third of the year for Sanchez.
AHEAD: MSUB returns home next week, for two more conference matches at Yellowjacket Field. The ‘Jackets host No. 13 Simon Fraser University on Thursday at 3 p.m., and Western Washington University next Saturday at 3 p.m.