Beavs Split With Saprissa As Costa Rica Tour Continues

The Oregon State men's soccer team continued its 12-day tour through Costa Rica with two matches on Sunday, splitting the contests with Costa Rica's professional Saprissa squads.

The team, which did all of the fundraising for the trip, returns to Corvallis on Aug. 26.

The Beavers split into two teams for the matches, with the Beavers garnering a 1-0 decision in the first game of the day and falling 3-2 in Game Two.

Chad Bartlome netted what proved to be the game-winner in the 55th minute of the first game, courtesy of an Alex Close assist.

OSU weathered the final stanza of the first match as freshman Matt LaMont and sophomore Kiely Bondurant combined for the shutout.

In the day's second match, the Black and Orange scrapped and clawed through a physical contest with another Saprissa squad. The match saw several ejections as well as a Saprissa player being sent to the hospital with a broken collar bone.

Down 1-0 at the half, the Beavers rallied back in the second half to make the score 2-1 and then 3-2, but were unable to net the equalizer despite several fine scoring opportunities as Saprissa held off the attack for a 3-2 win.

Though injuries have prevented fourth-year head coach Dana Taylor from fielding certain lineups, he has seen solid play throughout the trip since the team recovered from 12 hours of transit last Thursday.

'It was great to see the players get their legs back from jetlag,' Taylor said. 'It was nice to see a different combination of players as well. The games today really set the table for when we get back to the states.

'Due to several key injuries, we have still been unable to assemble our top side. This concerns me, knowing we have less than two weeks before the Gonzaga match. Additionally, our team fitness level is coming along, but it still has a way to go.

Saprissa's physical, provocative style of play tested the Beavers' resolution throughout the day, giving OSU a valuable taste of international flair.

'Today we learned a valuable lesson in keeping our nerve in international play,' Taylor said. 'There was tremendous restraint to keep professionally and emotionally steady in a tough environment.'

During an off day Saturday, the Beavers visited the Poas Volcano in Costa Rica's mountain region and will see the Tabacon Hot Springs on Monday after a match with San Carlos.

The Beavers return to Corvallis on Aug. 26, four days prior to the season-opening match at Gonzaga on Aug. 30.

OSU opens its home schedule with a Sept. 13 match against Cal-Riverside.

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