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Early mistakes cost men’s soccer

Biola men’s soccer hosted the Cal State San Marcos Cougars at Al Barbour Field in a tightly contested match on Sept. 8. The match seemed headed towards a blowout after the Cougars scored in the 8th and 13th minutes, capitalizing on the Eagles’ sluggish start. The home team then worked further into the game, creating scoring chances until they finally converted on their first goal of the season thanks to senior midfielder Jarrett Pugh in the 57th minute. However, the Cougars defense proved too difficult for the Eagles the rest of the way as they lost 2-1.

The Eagles were missing senior starting goalkeeper Igor Puglia due to a suspension received  during Biola’s 4-0 loss to Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 2. Redshirt freshman Alex Muir started in his place. The Eagles began slowly allowing five shots on goal in the first 16 minutes of the match.

“Slow start is putting it mildly,” said head coach Todd Elkins. “In the game of soccer, sometimes you get punished for your mistakes, and our biggest mistake early on was that we were caught watching the game, standing around waiting for something to happen. [The Cougars] were good enough to take advantage.”

San Marcos scored on two of its first four shots on goal before Biola even managed a shot. The Eagles then piled on the pressure after the 20th minute of the match, noticeably changing the momentum.

“After the second goal, we started to combine more and started to get forward more,” Muir said. “We started to get more relentless going forward and cleaned up on defense. From what I saw, we controlled the entire second.”

The continued pressure by the home team paid off in the 57th minute when a long throw-in from sophomore midfielder Hunter Finnegan found Pugh, who jumped higher than the defenders and nodded the ball past the opposition keeper. Biola pressed for a second score but could not find a way into the Cougar goal.

“I don’t think it’s unlucky, I think it was us needing to learn a lesson, and we did that tonight,” Finnegan said.

The game featured eight yellow cards, including two to the Cougar bench. The game had a total of 39 fouls, of which 17 came from the Cougars in the second half alone.

The Eagles fall to 0-2-1 with the loss. They continue their homestand when they host Bethesda College on Sept. 12.

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