MEN’s SOCCER: Rollercoaster weekend ends in sloppy loss

Joanie Baker

In an emotionally pumped weekend, Western created a pacemaker on Friday and a heartbreaker on Sunday.

After successfully defending the two top forwards in the nation Friday while being the first team to shut out Tulsa all season, 1-0, words could not describe the heartfelt emotions beating through Western’s veins.

“My heart just won’t stop,” senior goalkeeper Daryl Sattler said. “I feel amazing right now. Getting a zero on the board always makes me feel good.”

Sattler recorded eight saves against the No. 12 Hurricanes, including five in the second half.

“Daryl saved our butts quite a few times with some big saves,” senior Ron Plute said. “It’s a pleasure to play in the back when you know you have a solid goalkeeper. He makes me look good.”

Plute also played his heart out, helping Sattler defend 20 of the Hurricanes’ shots, showing his best defensive game of the season.

“It’s very stressful,” Plute said, “They throw different tactics at you all day. Either they’ll come wide or they’ll run straight at you. It was a big adjustment, but the soccer gods were with us tonight.”

Freshman Marc Walters also helped Western in the victory that guaranteed it a spot in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. After a scoreless first half, Walters took a pass from midfielder Richard Mupfudze and scored from 15 feet out in the 63rd minute.

“I knew we’d get one good goal,” coach David Holmes said. “I just didn’t know if we could shut down these guys.”

But after filtering all its energy into Friday’s game and then practicing on Saturday, the team looked almost deflated against Southern Methodist Sunday.

Friday’s composed defense was gone partially because of a rain storm Saturday night.

In the opening of the second half, SMU fired a shot that stuck in the mud and spun right in front of the goal. Then Sattler tried to bounce the ball before passing it off, but it stuck to the ground like a piece of lead.

“It was tough playing in a swamp,” Sattler said. “Nothing but standing water on both goals. I’d like to play that team again on a dry surface.”

And for a while, it seemed like the Hilltoppers were beating their noses against a brick wall.

They looked frustrated.

They looked defeated.

But 40 seconds later, Walters scored. The goal ignited the team’s energy.

Though the Mustangs snagged another goal just 20 seconds after Walters’, both Mupfudze and Daniel Payne were able to score, cutting the deficit to one.

The intensity never let up, and a tie looked promising. However, the Mustangs scored with less than two minutes left, resulting in the biggest heartbreaker of the season, beating the Hilltoppers 5-3.

Reach Joanie Baker at [email protected]