The Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer team continued a streak of strong play with three wins in five days over conference opponents Chapman University, California Lutheran University and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The wins add on to a building six-game win streak and move the team to first place in the conference for the first time this year.
On Wednesday, Drew Lind PZ ’14 led the Sagehens to a key 2-0 road win against Chapman.
“It was a tough game, a battle,” Lind said. “It felt good to get the win and win three games in five days.”
Lind opened the scoring eight minutes in with a goal off an assist from Lawrence McDonald PZ ’15, and then he added a second goal midway through the second half when he took a pass from Arash Mahboubi PO ’15 and fired a lefty laser that went in off the bottom of the crossbar. The goals doubled Lind’s season total and continued a string of strong performances in the midfield and along the back line.
“On the first goal, I had space, Lawrence played me and I pushed the ball in,” said Lind. “With the second goal, we won a loose ball, and Arash played me the ball, and I took a shot.”
The defense put forth another good showing, as goalie Rollie Thayer PO ’13 needed just two saves to tally his third shutout of the year. The win was the Sagehens’ sixth in a row, giving them sole possession of first place in the SCIAC. After large losses to CMS and Whittier earlier in the season, the Sagehens turned a corner and are now in a great position to host a playoff game with five conference games remaining, including three against teams that they’ve already beaten.
The Sagehens’ depth was on full display Monday as five different players scored against Cal Lutheran en route to a 5-2 win. McDonald and Nate Shekita PO ’15 scored within the first ten minutes of the game to give the Sagehens a 2-0 lead that would be all they needed. Mahboubi added a penalty kick, and Harris Levin PO ’13 and Avery Raimondo PO ’15 both netted their first goals of the season as the Sagehens were never seriously threatened.
The Sagehens won a hard-fought, physical battle 2-1 against rival CMS on Saturday thanks to two goals from senior captain Erik Munzer PZ ‘13. CMS took an early lead off a deflected free kick but the Sagehens fought throughout the first half to keep the score at 1-0 going into halftime.
Coming onto the field in the second half, the starting 11 had a renewed sense of energy fueled by the large crowd cheering them on at Pritzlaff Field. After just missing many opportunities in the first five minutes, the Hens settled in and protected their own box from attack attempts by CMS. Just minutes later, P-P was awarded a wide free kick. Left back and free kick specialist Mark Raftrey PO ’15 stepped up to the ball and whipped in a cross that Munzer headed back across the goal and into the corner of the net, tying the game at 1-1.
With 11 minutes remaining, the Sagehens received a free kick 30 yards out. Instead of playing the ball into the box, Munzer fired a shot that the CMS keeper was unable to handle and gave the Sagehens the winning margin. The game was marked by a lot of aggressive play, as each team received three yellow cards and there were many hard tackles.
“It’s always a great game to play in,” Munzer said about the Sixth Street rivalry. “The intensity is always high, and I’m happy that we came together as a team to get a win.”
Although mostly known for the standout play along the back line that earned him an All-SCIAC First-Team nod last year, Munzer has proved his ability to join the attack as needed. The Sagehens have six players with three or more goals, and this depth has been a big factor in their recent run of success.
The Sagehens get a break until next Wednesday, when they will face Whittier at home. The Poets dealt the Sagehens their last loss, a 6-2 blowout on Sept. 22, so the men’s soccer team is looking for a measure of revenge.
“We’re looking forward to the week’s break,” Lind said. The Sagehens should be rested and ready to close out their last fortnight of conference play come next Wednesday, Oct. 17.