OAKLAND, Mich. – The Oregon State men’s soccer team overcame an early deficit to defeat Oakland 4-1 Sunday at OU Soccer Field in Oakland, Mich. Senior Daniel Van Vleet recorded the first two goals of his collegiate career in the winning effort, while classmate Borce Atanasov finished with four points on one goal and two assists, as the Beavers rebounded from their first loss of the season, 1-0 to Michigan State on Friday.
“The response from our team after Friday’s game was tremendous,” said head coach Steve Simmons. “We took the positives from the second half on Friday and combined them with some of the things we talked about yesterday. We really just put it all together today. We wanted to start strong, and, even though we gave up the first goal, we scored three times in the first half. I thought the guys were brilliant in the way they came out today.”
Oakland (0-2-2) got on the board first just three minutes into the contest. Matt Dudley played a cross into the box that flicked off the head of Matt Rickard before falling to the feet of Miche’le Lipari. Lipari proceeded to hit a shot from the top of the box that found the bottom left corner of the net.
Oregon State (3-1-0) wasted no time in equalizing, however, as the Beavers tied the score at one just eight minutes later, when Atanasov fired a shot from 25 yards out that made it past the goalie and into the left side of the net on an assist from sophomore Bjorn Sandberg. It was Atanasov’s first goal as a Beaver, after the forward transferred from Clark College last winter.
The Beavers proceeded to take the lead in the 30th minute. Atanasov played a pass from the right flank that found senior Josh Smith on the right side of the box. Smith took a shot from eight yards out that deflected off the goalkeeper and found its way into the net to give the Beavers a 2-1 advantage. It was Smith’s second goal of the season.
Oregon State extended the edge to two in the 41st minute. Junior Jackson Groves took a pass from classmate Mike Reckmeyer, and eluded several Golden Grizzly defenders as he moved through the midfield. Groves played a pass through the defense to Van Vleet, who hit a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that floated into the upper right-hand corner to give the Beavers a 3-1 advantage heading into the intermission.
Van Vleet then recorded his second goal of the night to seal the victory in the 87th minute. Atanasov played a low pass across the face of goal, which Van Vleet knocked into the net from close range.
“Danny’s just one of those guys that comes in and does his job,” Simmons said. “He’s unselfish, he fills his role, and he epitomizes what it takes to be a championship team. It was great to see him get rewarded today.”
The Grizzlies tried to make a late push, but the Beavers were able to hold firm defensively, keeping Oakland off the scoresheet for the final 86 minutes of the match.
The Beavers were outshot 12-11 in the contest, but Oregon State placed six shots on goal, compared to just three for Oakland.
“The mentality of this team has been unflappable,” Simmons said. “The guys are locked in. They’ve been able to keep an even keel early in the season, and just continue moving on play-to-play. To make this trip across the country and to play the way we have, I think it’s a feather in our cap.”
Oregon State will return home to host the OSU Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic next weekend. The Beavers will take on Seattle U Friday at 7 p.m., before facing off with Air Force Sunday at 2 p.m.