In 28 seasons, Master’s men’s soccer coach Jim Rickard had never seen anything quite like this.
Namely, he’d never seen a team move the ball the length of the field in the final 20 seconds of double overtime, earn a penalty in the box with one second left and sink a penalty kick to walk-off with one of the more improbable victories in program history.
But by the time Saugus High grad Trevor Mangan’s low, left-footed shot raced into the net, The Master’s University had pulled off a sequence that will contend for play of the year and beaten Southern Oregon University, 3-2, Saturday as part of a tournament in Atherton, California.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in my entire life,” said Rickard, who played for the Mustangs before taking over as head coach in the early ’90s. “It was crazy.”
It started with a goal kick.
With less than 30 seconds remaining in double overtime, TMU keeper Matheus Taraszkiewicz booted the ball to midfield, where a Raider used his head to return it deep into TMU territory. Conventional wisdom said to play it safe.
Mustang midfielder Leo Anjos launched a pass up, up, up into the air.
It finally bounced on the other side of the field, where a Southern Oregon defender misplayed it, and Master’s forward Dylan Bielanski, a Valencia High grad, won what became a 50-50 ball. Bielanski dribbled into the 18-yard box, where he drew contact from the defender. Bielanski went down. The whistle blew.
Rickard turned to Mangan.
“Part of the reason I picked Trevor is that he seems pretty stone cold – and you need that,” Rickard said. “You can’t be caught up in the emotion.”
Mangan entered his senior year with 15 collegiate goals to his name. He said his focus for 2018 was to “battle every single game because I know it’s my last year of soccer” and to help his team reach nationals for the first time since he’s been on campus.
Saturday, his job was to remain focused as he prepared to take the penalty kick amid a lengthy delay.
“The entire time, I thought about where I was going to shoot it,” Mangan said. “I focused on that corner and focused on my technique: to strike the ball firmly and send it where it needed to be.”
Mangan’s shot went left, the keeper went right. Mustangs spilled off the sidelines and onto the field, celebrating a victory in the back-and-forth affair.
Both teams received votes in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. And they played like evenly-matched foes.
Master’s scored first on a Bielanski header in the 17th minute. From there, Southern Oregon scored in the 26th and 77th minutes. Matt Logan’s goal for TMU in the 81st minute sent the game to overtime. It turned out that the game needed a second overtime. That’s when things got interesting.
The Mustangs will host Oregon Tech at TMU on Friday at 4:30 p.m. They will also play host to No. 23 UC Merced on Saturday, with the same start time.
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