CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State men’s soccer team earned its first point in Pac-12 Conference play Friday afternoon, as it tied No. 5/5 UCLA 1-1 at Paul Lorenz Field in Corvallis, Ore. The draw extends the Beavers’ home unbeaten streak to seven.
“I’m very happy with the way the guys executed the game-plan,” said head coach Steve Simmons. “UCLA is a very talented team, and they were going to control the ball, no matter what we did. I think we were very tight and we created some good scoring chances. Even though our guys were playing deep for stretches, they weren’t trying to tie, they were trying to win, and that’s the mentality I want from our guys.”
Oregon State (7-5-1, 0-3-1) made the break-through in the 73rd minute. Freshman Devonte Small played a pass over the top that found junior Chance Bergen in space behind the UCLA (7-3-2, 2-1-1 Pac-12) back-line. Bergen took the ball into the box and placed a calm finish to the left of the goalie to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead. The score was Bergen’s first Oregon State goal.
“It was good for me to get my first goal,” Bergen said. “I’m glad that my coaches have a lot of trust in me, and put me in that position. It was a great ball that put me through and I put it away. It was a good feeling.”
Oregon State held the advantage for 15 minutes, but UCLA leveled the score with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. A loose ball in the box found Victor Chavez, who chested it down into the path of Gage Zerboni. Zerboni fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal to level the score at one and force overtime.
UCLA had several chances to find the net in the overtime periods, but sophomore goalkeeper Matt Bersano made nine saves on the afternoon, five of which came in the first overtime period, to preserve the draw.
“They’re the No. 5 team in the nation, and they played like it,” Bersano said. “Our defense did a very good job of taking the sting out of their offense throughout regulation, but the shots started coming in the overtime period. We got through it though, and we got a result.”
Oregon State had a chance to take the victory late in the second overtime period, when senior Borce Atanasov got on the end of a pass played into the box by sophomore Mikhail Doholis. Bruin goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. made a nice save to deny the effort, however, and the game ended tied at one.
The Beavers will return to action Sunday, when they host San Diego State.