Last Saturday, Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer travelled to Thousand Oaks and beat the Kingsmen of Cal Lutheran University, recording their fifth consecutive league win. In the first half, Cal Lutheran struggled to string together passes but battled hard to frustrate P-P’s possession game. Although the Sagehens definitely set the pace of the game, the Kingsmen earned almost as many chances to score. Arash Mahboubi PO ’15 nearly scored in the first half with a 25-yard rocket in the 37th minute that Cal Lutheran goalkeeper Rey Rivera-Ramos struggled to parry away. At halftime, after 45 minutes of scoreless play, the game was completely up for grabs.
Early in the second half, Cal Lutheran continued to fight back as Pomona-Pitzer sought to reestablish their authority on the ball. In the 53rd minute, goalkeeper Rollie Thayer PO ’13 showcased his athleticism as he deflected a header over the crossbar to prevent the Kingsmen from taking the lead. Building on this missed chance, the Kingsmen seemed to gain energy as many of their counterattacks ended with crosses dangerously playing across the face of Thayer’s goal. In the 59th minute, Lawrence McDonald PZ ’15 recaptured the momentum for the Sagehens and nearly gave his team the lead. He broke through the Cal Lu backline and beat the keeper, only to send his shot just wide of the net. Throughout the second period, the Sagehens continued to pressure Cal Lutheran’s goal despite the Kingsmen’s best efforts to break out of their own half. Finally, in the 84th minute, Avery Raimondo PO ’15 and Nate Shekita PO ’15 combined to set up Mahboubi, who promptly finished the chance, effectively securing a well-earned win for the Sagehens.
When asked what he thought of his first collegiate goal, Mahboubi responded, “I was just glad I didn’t have to play another 30 minutes of overtime.”
Although shots were fairly equal for both teams, with P-P having 15 attempts to Cal Lu’s 14, the Sagehens outfouled the Kingsmen 15-5. This is becoming a trend for a young Pomona-Pitzer team working hard to step up to the physical nature of the college game: P-P has out-fouled their opponents 110-68 so far this season.
After their Wednesday afternoon game against Whittier was rescheduled for Monday, the Sagehens have a tough week ahead with four league games, including matchups against three teams ranked in the top half of SCIAC. This Saturday at 11 a.m., the Sagehens will take on Redlands for the second time this season. In their first league game, the Sagehens lost to Redlands 6-0. Since then, Pomona-Pitzer has gone undefeated through five league games, recorded four shutouts, and now stands in second place in the SCIAC, behind only Redlands. The victorious team on Saturday will surely establish itself as the mid-season favorite to win the SCIAC.
Next, Pomona-Pitzer plays Whittier for the first time this season in their rescheduled game on Monday and then travels to La Verne to take on the Leopards for the second time this year.