Under the Thursday night lights at PLNU’s soccer field, churros and hot dogs were being served, fan shirts were being handed out, and glow sticks were flowing the stands. Nearly 1,000 reported attendees including students, alumni, and families, were ecstatic to see their PLNU soccer teams take on Concordia in a midseason showdown. The overall atmosphere was more energetic than it had been during day games at the start of the season.
“[Being] under the lights is a unique opportunity,” said Evan Hamner, a freshman engineering major. “It’s a different atmosphere than usual.”
Brock Lusky, the ASB Director of School Spirit, felt generally content with the student body’s passion-filled showing on Thursday night and saw it as a special way to appreciate PLNU’s athletes.
“The Green Sea was out in full force, really coming together for our soccer teams,” said Lusky. “The athletes work incredibly hard, so I always love it when we can give back to them and show our appreciation for how hard they work.”
The men’s team performed first in front of a reported crowd of 882—more than double the season-high—in a matchup that featured a scoreless first half in which PLNU dominated the shot count 17-1. In the second half, senior forward Nico Tagaloa put his team on top with two goals in under 14 minutes, receiving assists from midfielders Andrew Ritchie and Mitch Wheelon. In addition to these two goals, three saves officially recorded by goalkeeper Dylan Roberts eventually led to a 2-0 shutout victory. The team’s record currently stands at 2-4-3.
The women’s team presented a much more thrilling matchup in front of a reported crowd of 927 but would eventually have to settle for a hard-fought 0-0 tie after 90 scoreless minutes of regulation and two complete overtime periods. Despite outshooting Concordia 22-12, and also leading in shots on goal 8-4, the game-winner that the crowd was eagerly waiting for simply never happened. The team’s record currently stands at 4-2-3.
Still, one win and one tie overall is hardly a shabby evening. Mixed with a positive social experience and atmosphere that included passionate cheers and delicious churros, it was certainly a successful night for PLNU. Students in attendance were able to reflect upon what the event meant for the student body.
“It’s a great atmosphere and a great time for everyone,” said Felipe Diaz, a junior biology major. “Most people would probably either be sleeping in their room or doing homework. This is a good way to get someone out during the week.”
Lusky definitely felt that the event was more than beneficial for the student body in general. From his perspective, it served most students as a comforting escape from the stress of the late September week.
“I thought it really brought the community together and was a nice way to end a long day of school,” said Lusky. “The night games are something special.”
The next matchup for both teams will be on Thursday against the Academy of Art University on the PLNU soccer field, but this time it will be in the early afternoon.