(from an Oregon State release)
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- For the two-time defending PNCLL champs, the start of league play meant the beginning of another title defense.
Oregon hosted PNCLL rival Washington on Saturday for the Beavers' first home game of the season. Having played alongside the Huskies in San Rafael and Los Angeles already this season, the two teams were quite familiar with each other, providing an extra bit of drama to the conference opener.
Oregon State dominated the possession early in the game, but struggled to find the back of the net. With shots pinging off the pipe left and right, Oregon State needed a spark. Junior attackman Connor Perkins, the team’s assist leader, broke into the scoring category with two goals in the first quarter. Strong play from the defense secured an OSU lead of 4-2 after the opening frame
A low scoring game continued, with the Beavers leading 8-5 after three quarters. Finally, in the fourth, Oregon State’s offense ignited, and the Beavers found their shots falling.
A big run led by midfielder Trey Bellmore allowed the Beavers to take a commanding lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Non-releasable penalties on each squad created a strange scenario late that left the Beavers a man down for several minutes in the final moments. Despite the numbers disadvantage, the Beavers’ man-down unit stonewalled would-be UW attackers.
In fact, the OSU penalty killers scored two shorthanded goals and rolled to a 16-7 win.
The offense was led by the starting attack line of Perkins-Baldes-Hockman, who combined for half of Oregon State’s goals. While the man-down unit was strong, the biggest performance of the game once again belonged to senior Jannsen Levin, who went 25-of-26 at the faceoff X while tacking on thirteen ground balls and a goal of his own. Levin is now winning his faceoffs at a whopping 84% rate for the season. The dynamic performance to start league play will certainly help state his case as the best FOS in the PNCLL.
Up next for OSU is a double-header with the SLC in Palm Desert at the West Coast edition of Coaches vs. Cancer. The multi-sport program, which will have two MCLA events, is an American Cancer Society fundraiser, and proceeds from the tournament will go towards cancer research.
While the Beavers enjoy supporting a good cause, the focus is still on the games for the weekend. Having practiced through hail and sleet in Corvallis, the Beavers are looking forward to more favorable conditions in the desert, where the temperature is expected to be in the 80s for the weekend.
Saturday’s game against No. 23 San Diego State is the Beavers’ last game against a current ranked opponent until April. The Aztecs have already played No. 15 Chapman and No. 7 Oregon to extremely close contests, and will provide another significant road test for Oregon State.
Sunday will feature a battle against traditional Pac-12 rival USC. The Beavers have not played the Trojans since 2011.
(Photo by Robert White)