First Half Goal Sinks Men’s Soccer

The Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer team’s slow start to the season continued Wednesday night as the Sagehens were shut out in a 1-0 road defeat at the feet of Whittier College. Although P-P created multiple scoring chances, the Sagehens were unable to find the critical breakthrough against an obdurate Whittier team. The loss drops P-P to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in conference play.

The Sagehens were the better side to start the game, taking more shots on goal early and winning more set pieces. P-P would hold those advantages throughout the game, taking 13 shots to Whittier’s 11 and taking six corner kicks to Whittier’s five. Whittier broke through just before the end of the first half, however. In the 44th minute, Whittier forward Dylan Fortin received a pass in the 18-yard box on a tight angle and got a shot off on goal. Although Sagehens keeper Nigel Brady PO ’15 got down and kept out the initial effort, the rebound went straight to Whittier senior George Montalvo, who poked the ball home into an empty net to give the Poets the lead heading into the break.

The timing of the goal was a potential backbreaker for the Sagehens, but P-P started the second half well. Midfielder Nathan Shekita PO ’15 gave the Sagehens their best chance of the match, but his shot found the post and stayed out of the goal. After being denied by the woodwork, P-P found it hard to get themselves back into the match, even as they managed to more or less neutralize Whittier’s offensive threat. The home team put up a solid defensive effort, rear-guarded by its first-year goal keeper Jorge Rivas, who was called into action minutes after Shekita’s first effort and kept out another attempt by the third-year midfielder. Those two chances were the most potent attack P-P could muster, but it was not enough.

Although there were positive aspects of P-P’s performance, another defeat keeps them winless in conference play after the earlier home losses to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and University of La Verne. The Hens lost to their Sixth Street rivals in a double-overtime thriller on a golden goal in the final minutes, a 2-1 victory for the Stags.  After winning the regular season SCIAC title last year, the Hens still hope to be contenders for the SCIAC championship this year. They will face an uphill battle, however, in their quest to repeat. With only one goal scored in the conference, the Sagehens will look to rediscover some attacking mojo and get their campaign back on track. P-P visits Caltech on Saturday, and will return to the pitch the following day for a home non-conference game against University of Texas at Dallas at 11 a.m.

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