Oregon State advanced to the third round of the NCAA men’s soccer championships with a 2-0 victory over St. John’s Sunday night at Lorenz Field.
The Pac-12 champion Beavers are the No. 1 seed in the tournament. They will host No. 16 seed New Hampshire next weekend. The Wildcats reached the third round with a 4-1 victory over North Carolina.
The Beavers scored 10 minutes into the game when Carlos Moliner took a hard shot from close range. St. John’s goalkeeper Luka Gavran made the save but gave up a rebound which Mouhameth Thiam knocked home.
Oregon State coach Terry Boss said scoring the early goal made a "massive" difference for the team.
"Goals change games, they always do," Boss said. "That let us breathe a little bit. I think we continued to play a good first half. I think in the second half, they stepped up their pressure. I think there were times we could have been better with it but it's something we'll build on.
St. John's set a high line defensively, putting pressure on the Beavers to not turn the ball over in their own end. Oregon State created space early in the game by playing a few passes over the top of the defense, but for the most part the Beavers were patient in their attack.
People are also reading…
Oregon State narrowly avoided giving up a tying goal in the closing seconds of the first half. The Red Storm drew a corner kick and in the ensuing scramble in front of Oregon State goalkeeper Adrian Fernandez knocked two shots off the crossbar.
Oregon State midfielder Sofiane Djeffal said the team talked about that moment at halftime.
"It was a little scary because I felt like we did a great job in our first half," Djeffal said. "Like the coach said at halftime, it's a reminder, it's a really good reminder (that) we can lose. We can lose even if we're in a good spot right now."
The Beavers had multiple opportunities in the second half to extend their lead, but the 1-0 score held until the 85th minute when Oregon State’s Javier Armas scored off a pass from Djeffal.
This is Oregon State's first trip to the third round of the NCAA men's soccer championships. The program has made six trips to the tournament, including three under Boss.