CORVALLIS, Ore. -- No. 11 Oregon State started conference play strong with a dominant 13-7 victory at home against No. 23 Simon Fraser on Saturday afternoon. The game was the first of the conference schedule for the Beavers, who have their sights set on another conference championship this year. A win against Simon Fraser, who has historically been one of OSU’s toughest foes, this early in the year is just what the Beavers hoped for.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game. Simon Fraser is a great team, especially defensively," said OSU Assistant Coach Chris Miller. "They move the ball well on offense too, so we knew we had our work cut out for us.”
The Beavers dominated on the offense end of the field, which included standout performances from frosh attackman Kyle Baldes and sophomore midfielder Kevin Larkin. Baldes and Larkin accounted for six Beaver goals, each tallying three on the day.
A large part of the win can be attributed to OSU's midfield. With a focus on transition defense and rotating players in and out to keep guys fresh, the midfield dominated for much of the game. Oregon State pounced on just about every loose ball, leaving Simon Fraser to play defense for much of the afternoon.
Janssen Levin had a solid performance, picking up three ground balls and battling on faceoffs all afternoon.
“We knew we wanted to come out with good energy,” said Levin. “Simon Fraser is always a team we are excited to play, and we knew if we started strong we would have a good chance to win.”
The intensity of Oregon State started with the coaching staff, who knew the importance of coming out fast and keeping the pressure on for the entirety of the game. The Beavers jumped out to a commanding, 10-3 halftime lead and didn’t look back.
“In the first half we really tried to put some pressure on [Simon Fraser] and make them move the ball,” said Miller. “We wanted to make sure they didn’t have anything coming easy; make sure we were on hands and make them feel uncomfortable.”
The player of the game for Oregon State was goalie Nick Widmer. With 24 saves on the day, Widmer credited the play of his defense for such a stellar performance.
“I think our defense is the cornerstone of our entire team," said Widmer. "We have and excellent group back there and they make it really easy for me.”
Oregon State must rebound quickly as Simon Fraser was just the first game of a doubleheader weekend. OSU hosts Washington State on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 1 p.m.
“Washington State is another conference game and we are going to try and carry this momentum into tomorrow,” said Levin.