It wasn't the start the Simon Fraser University (SFU) men's soccer team was looking for.
The red and white dropped its first match of the 2022 season and home opener 1-0 to California State Los Angeles last Saturday (Aug. 27), who are the reigning NCAA Div. II champions.
The Golden Eagles are the number one-ranked team in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) coming off of their first national title in school history.
Jeppe Paulsen scored the only goal of the game late in the second half (71st minute) with a strike from the six-yard box to put the away team up by one.
SFU goalkeeper Justyn Sandhu, who transferred from Div. I St. Bonaventure (N.Y.) made his debut at Terry Fox Field, stopping eight shots, including a terrific diving right save in the 56th minute.
California State Los Angeles finished with 23 shots, nine of which were on goal. SFU had just seven shots, with five being on target.
"They're a really good side, really well coached and very prepared. You can see the quality they have, and the experience that comes out in big games. And this is a big game, between two teams consistently at the top of the West," SFU head coach Clint Schneider said of his opponent.
"We came out on the wrong end, but we have a lot of different pieces we're trying to work through to figure out what we have. We're obviously disappointed but there were lots of positives to build on. In the second half, I thought 'Hey, we could maybe get something out of this,' and unfortunately, they finally capitalized on a goal they probably should have had in the first half."
SFU is now set to play two games in California against Sonoma State tomorrow (Sept. 1) and Chico State on Saturday (Sept. 3).