The No. 3 Washington men’s soccer team may not stay at No. 3 when the next NCAA Top 25 poll comes out, but the Huskies got back to cruising to victory Monday evening. The Huskies seized control from the start and never relinquished it, coasting to a 3-0 win against Gonzaga.
Washington put up a season-high 23 shots as a team while only allowing Gonzaga to take four shots, one in the second half. Redshirt senior forward Scott Menzies continued to add to his reputation as a scoring machine, adding two goals more to bring his season total to four, and redshirt junior midfielder Joey Parish brought his total up to two with a score against the Bulldogs (0-2-2).
Senior midfielder Corban Anderson has been slowly working his way back into the rotation since the start of the season, as he has been nursing an injury he sustained in the offseason. On Monday, he found his way into head coach Jamie Clark’s starting lineup for the first time in 2018, and when he gets to 100%, expect the experienced veteran to stay there.
Another welcome sight for the Huskies (3-1) was sophomore Blake Bodily, who his first game action Monday night. The reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year has been dealing with a hamstring injury and had been sidelined for the team’s first three games. He did not start, however, as he was subbed in the 23rd minute for redshirt freshman forward Noah Whitman.
The first half was a fruitful one for Washington, as the offense started on the front foot and didn’t let up. The team’s relentless opening assault resulted in a goal in the seventh minute from Parish, who cashed in on a beautiful long cross from Anderson.
The Huskies continued to put the pressure on. One by one, the shot attempts came like clockwork, with Menzies and junior midfielders Jaret Townsend and John Magnus getting looks at the goal that were frantically turned away by the Gonzaga defense.
Just before the 26th minute, the UW doubled up its lead. Redshirt sophomore defender Cole Grimsby lined up to take a long free kick from the left side of the field and put the ball near the right side of the goal. Senior defender Quentin Pearson made contact with the ball into the box and headed it across goal to Menzies, who ended up with an even easier goal than Parish had 20 minutes earlier, blasting the ball in from just a yard out.
By the time halftime rolled around, Washington had amassed 12 shots, already the most the Dawgs had attempted in a game this season, to Gonzaga’s three.
The second half was more of the same. After Gonzaga put Washington’s defense under a bit of duress to open the period, it did not take long for the UW to turn it around.
Bodily helped in taking away any shred of momentum the Bulldogs may have had. In the 55th minute, the star midfielder stole the ball away from a Gonzaga defender, dribbled into the box and got off a shot that sailed just wide of the net. He may not have gotten on the score sheet, but the play showed that he is ready for game action, and that he probably won’t be coming off the bench for too much longer.
The Huskies’ lead increased again in the 64th minute, thanks to none other than Menzies. Off a Bodily throw-in, redshirt sophomore defender Kasey French made an attacking run to the outside of goal, and made an easy ground pass to Menzies for yet another point-blank finish and his fourth goal of the season.
Towards the end of the game, a couple of new faces got a chance to get some game action. Redshirt junior midfielder Ryan Degroot, redshirt freshman defender Freddy Kleeman, and redshirt sophomore midfielder Jasper Malamud each made their season debuts, rounding out a very productive night for Washington in every way possible. All in all, 20 Huskies saw the field against the Bulldogs, a season high.
“It’s one thing when a coach tells a locker room ‘Hey, we’ve got a lot of good players, we’re deeper than ever’, and it’s another thing when we actually start showing the trust in our team by using guys,” Clark said. “It’s about giving that trust and getting these guys’ feet wet.”
The Huskies will have the rest of the work week to get ready for their first home game in two weeks, when they play California State Northridge. That game will start Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Reach reporter Chris Angkico at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @chrisangkico