P-P Defeats Occidental for First SCIAC Win

In over 100
degree heat, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer team worked hard to get
their first win of the season against Occidental College on Sept. 13 by a margin of a single
goal. MF Matty Marvin PO ’17 scored the decisive goal in the
opening minutes of the second half when he broke through the Tigers’ defense and
unleashed a powerful drive. With the narrow
victory, P-P improved their SCIAC record to 1-0-1, while Occidental slipped to 0-2
in league play.

Like many of the teams across Europe, the Tigers adopted the increasingly popular 3-5-2 as their formation, which quickly morphed into a 5-3-2 when they lost the ball. The Sagehens lined up in a 4-3-3 formation looking to exploit the space behind the wingbacks during transition as well as the space between the central defenders and the wingbacks.

“We
had a few students out due to injury and suspension,” Swartz said. “I thought the guys who
started in different positions as well as the guys who got significant minutes
distinguished themselves very well.”

However, P-P found it tough to take control of the game in the excruciating
heat as Occidental fared much better in the first half. The Tigers’ compact shape
allowed them to slowly increase their influence over the game, firing a few
warning shots in the opening minutes of the game. 

The first real chance of the
game fell to the visitors in the 17th minute. Connor Freeman
cleverly rounded goalkeeper Nigel Brady PO ’15 and passed the ball towards the goal, looking to open the scoring. However, defender Jake Merkle PO ’18 showed great
anticipation and reading of the game as he arrived just in time to clear the ball
off the goal line.

Occidental maintained their attacking pressure on the Hens and had another brilliant
chance with a free kick in the 26th minute. This time, it was Chase
Abelson PZ ’16 who made the crucial intervention as he cleared Benjamin Sartor’s
header off the goal line.

The momentum
of the game finally shifted in the 29th minute. Forward Peter
Rentzepis PO ’17 made a clever run into the box and was fouled by Occidental’s defender
Tyler Eng. Unfortunately, the Hens couldn’t make the penalty kick count as
Chase Abelson’s PZ ’16 effort from the penalty spot cannoned off the crossbar.
Despite the miss, the home team grew in confidence throughout the remaining
half and came out in the second determined to grab their first win of the
season.

Their
determination paid off early in the second half. In the 49th minute,
midfielder Matty Marvin PO ’17 received the ball from a throw in and showed
great drive, dribbling past two defenders to fire a stinging drive beyond
the reach of the Tigers goalkeeper at the near post. This decisive move gave P-P the
all-important lead.

The Sagehens
continued to dominate the proceedings. They finally managed to find more space
between Occidental’s midfield and defense with Voja Maric PO ’17 and Matty Marvin
PO ’17 making significant efforts on goal but failing to test the goalkeeper.

The home
side nearly made it 2-0 in the 81st minute, following a corner kick. Midfielder Drew Lind PZ ’15 managed to rise highest to head the ball toward goal, but his attempt hit the left post and bounced back out. The visitors, despite
being outplayed throughout the half, nearly snatched an equalizer in the final
ten seconds of the match. Brady rushed out of goal to
clear the ball but collided with an Occidental striker as two other Occidental players
rushed to pounce on the loose ball. However, Brady managed to react first and
punched the ball to safety as the referee blew the final whistle.

The Sagehens then played on Sept. 17 and defeated the University of La Verne (4-3-1, 1-3 SCIAC) 2-1 behind two goals from forward Peter Rentzepis PO ’18.

P-P will travel for their second road game of the season to California Lutheran University on Saturday, Sept. 20. 

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