Firing until the finish: men’s soccer grabs last-minute victory

Eagles stun Nighthawks at the end in an instant classic.

Senior+midfielder+Kousei+Mattox+%2825%29+celebrates+after+scoring+the+game-winning+goal+to+beat+Northwest+Nazarene+University+on+Sept.+13%2C+2018.+Courtesy+of+George+Rodriguez%2FBiola+Athletics
Senior midfielder Kousei Mattox (25) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal to beat Northwest Nazarene University on Sept. 13, 2018. Courtesy of George Rodriguez/Biola Athletics

Senior midfielder Kousei Mattox (25) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal to beat Northwest Nazarene University on Sept. 13, 2018. Courtesy of George Rodriguez/Biola Athletics

Senior midfielder Kousei Mattox (25) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal to beat Northwest Nazarene University on Sept. 13, 2018. Courtesy of George Rodriguez/Biola Athletics

Alex Brouwer, Reporter

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In an absolute thriller, Biola men’s soccer beat Northwest Nazarene University Thursday thanks to senior midfielder Kousei Mattox. The team co-captain rifled home the winner in the 89th minute to secure the 3-2 win for the Eagles.

A CAPTAIN’S CONTRIBUTION

With the game tied at two, Mattox made a marauding run down the field into space and passed to junior forward Leo Thompson, who returned the ball to Mattox in stride.

Mattox took a touch to set himself up and slotted home the game winner beautifully with his left foot, causing the home crowd at Al Barbour Field to erupt and the Biola bench to clear and celebrate with their captain.

Mattox’s goal was the 6th of his long collegiate career. For him, it was redemption.

“I personally thought I didn’t play that well, especially in the first half,” Mattox said. “I thought scoring that goal made it even.”

DETERMINATION DESPITE DEFENSIVE WOES

Biola took the lead early on thanks to some tidy combination play between senior midfielder Aaron Hontucan and junior forward Leo Thompson in the 10th minute. who made a run that beat out the goalkeeper from inside the box.

The lead did not last long, however, as miscommunication along the defensive backline resulted in an own goal in the 25th minute as Biola went into the half tied 1-1.

In the 45th minute, just after the second half kickoff, senior midfielder Gilbert Sotelo created some space outside the box and hit a 25-yard shot off the crossbar and into the back of the net.

His first collegiate goal put the Eagles ahead 2-1, but the Nighthawks converted a penalty kick in the 53rd minute to pull even.

ALL ABOUT MENTALITY

Head coach Todd Elkins said his own team was at fault for both of Northwest Nazarene’s goals, both of which occurred soon after the Eagles had gained a lead.

“We kept putting ourselves in the hole, never being down, but it felt like it,” Elkins said, lamenting the two preventable goals. “We definitely could have beat ourselves up tonight in the way that we gave up the lead,” he said, “and instead they stuck with it, to their credit.”

However, Elkins praised the mentality of Mattox and other leaders on the team.

“Guys like Kousei, those are the guys that are steady, they raise the levels, and that steadiness will get you through a 90 minute game,” Elkins said.

Biola is now 2-2 overall and returns to action at home against Fort Hays State University on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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