Last-minute Redlands comeback leaves Sagehen men’s soccer in the dust

Matthew Carlson PZ '23 dribbles towards the goal.
Matthew Carlson PZ ’23 advances towards the goal. (Nanako Noda • The Student Life)

Five minutes before time, everything was golden. The score was 3-2, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer team finishing on top of a highly watchable contest with Redlands Wednesday afternoon. It hadn’t been easy, and it hadn’t all gone their way, but the Sagehens were coming out ahead.

Then a Bulldog free-kick headed home at the back post, tying up the match.

Just over a minute later, another Redlands ball found its way into the box. The final score at the whistle: 3-4. 

For the first 25 minutes, the Sagehens were in control, with a runaway looking possible. Still, after good chances from Kyle Lau PO ’25 and Matthew Carlson PZ ’23, the game remained scoreless. 

But it wasn’t P-P who broke the deadlock — Redlands’ first goal made a surprisingly avoidable entrance. After several failed clearances, the ball was allowed to linger in the box for far too long. After one final cross and header, keeper Ethan Bae PO ’25 couldn’t stop it. 

The Sagehens responded well, continuing to play their game, putting pressure up the field and finding moments to release the wingers. Finally, after a period of rising tension, Jeffrey Tiglon PZ ’25 worked the ball across the box to left winger Alex Bonville PZ ’24. Onlookers could have been forgiven for wanting Bonville just to hit it. But Bonville, a player who has increased in confidence and form every game this season, was the coolest person on the pitch, calmly placing it past the keeper to ensure P-P didn’t go into halftime losing, with the score tied 1-1. 

After the break, the Sagehens played even better. Redlands couldn’t keep the ball, and their offense was torn apart by Sagehen movement. Within ten minutes, Kyle Lau PO ’25 ran through on a fluid counterattack, pushed past the defenders and rifled one into the net. 2-1.

If you haven’t seen Lau chase down a counterattack, make time. It’s exhilarating. It’s not just his speed, but his determination to beat the defense to the ball that attracts admiration. Barely a minute after his goal, he was sprinting after another long ball, this time sent by Jared Mejia PO ’22, dribbling past two players before putting his shot just wide. It turned out the shot was sorely needed, because just minutes later, Redlands scored after another ball was left unchallenged in the P-P box for too long, tying it up once more.

Again, the team rallied. Tiglon almost scored a ridiculous overhead kick off a corner, his effort kissing the post. After keeping the ball outside their box for another five or so minutes, the Hens broke in front again. Bonville, once again found on the left of the box, was able to cut in and put it in the back of the net. It was also the second assist of the match for Carlson, the ace in the middle, bringing it to 3-2.

But the Bulldogs didn’t let P-P’s momentum slow them down — in fact, their best period of the game was the last twenty minutes when they were behind. They earned more crosses, more set pieces, more opportunities. Bae was called into action twice in two minutes, to sweep up a through ball and punch a corner kick over the bar. Other than a Carlson free-kick in the 82nd minute, which drew a good save, our chances were dwindling.

Nicholas Mikhail PO '25 lies in despair after losing a winning match in the last 2 minutes.
Nicholas Mikhail PO ’25 lies in despair after P-P gave up two goals in the final minutes of Wednesday’s match. (Nanako Noda • The Student Life)

Still, the Sagehens were ahead. Despite the goals they conceded, it would have been a well-deserved win from the team, who played some excellent soccer at times. It was a good day, until it wasn’t.

This was P-P’s second defeat of the season, and first in SCIAC, leaving them at 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference. The team next takes on Cal Lutheran at home Saturday morning.

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