Tigers Rout George Fox in Opener

By Karly Finison
Sports Information 

Photo Credit: Sam Lee Photography 

LOS ANGELES — Senior forward Morgan Bennett-Smith led the men's soccer team to a 6-1 victory over George Fox on Thursday. This non-conference win gives the Tigers a 1-0 start to the season. 

While both teams saw offensive opportunity in the first half, Occidental owned much of the advantage during the last 45 minutes with consistent tenacity from the front line. Much of that intensity was sparked by two goals from Bennett-Smith. 

"In this first real game, we're trying to play together. It's sort of a tune up leading into the season. Being able to have a result like that is a really good sign of how we're looking going into the season," said Bennett-Smith after the game. "We have a lot of young guys. At the end, there were 10 freshmen on the field. That was the future. To have that supporting unit, it's a huge help."

Junior midfielder Brooks Yeager, junior forward Tod Kawada, sophomore midfielder Liam Walsh and freshmen midfielder Ryan Wilson all added goals in the second half. 

"It says a lot about our depth. There's quality with players starting and that quality doesn't drop when another player comes in which I think is huge," Oxy head coach Rod Lafaurie said. "It says a little bit about the system and how they play. There's opportunities for everybody and that's what we're trying to do."

Wilson, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, scored at the 74th minute of play, giving Occidental its largest lead and his first goal as a Tiger. "I was shocked. Rod's pushed us really hard during the preseason. It's been a lot of work so the whole time it's been 'let's push.' The sky is the limit. It's a new season."

The Tigers had a total of 31 shots and limited George Fox to just five. With that said, Coach Lafaurie reiterated that there's still lots of areas for growth. "Without a doubt we have to keep climbing. There's a lot of things we can break down to improve for sure, but it's fun to be back."

Occidental will look to build on its win against Whitworth this Saturday in Spokane, Wash. 

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