Sagehens Remain Atop SCIAC Standings Despite Loss

The scramble for the top of the SCIAC men’s soccer standings grew much tighter this week, with Pomona-Pitzer losing just its third game of the season as the team’s conference lead was cut to just one point. The Sagehens (10-3-1, 8-1-1 SCIAC)
entered last weekend’s encounter against the University of La Verne ranked 23rd in
Division III after a blistering start to the season, in which they had lost only
one game while every other SCIAC team had at least four losses to their
name. 

Early on against the Leopards, it seemed as if the P-P juggernaut would
continue rolling. After forcing three saves from La Verne goalkeeper Greg Veron
within the first eight minutes, P-P hit the front in the 15th minute. A
clearance from a corner fell to the feet of midfielder Matty Marvin PO ’17
just outside the box, with the sophomore curling an excellently placed effort
into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season. P-P’s dominance
continued for the rest of the first half, with Nathan Shekita PO ’15, Geordie
Marriner PO ’15 and Voja Maric PO ’17 all forcing Veron into action at
different points. The La Verne keeper, however, refused to be beaten for a
second time, and the half ended with the score still at 1-0. 

P-P’s
wastefulness looked like it might come back to haunt the side when defender Chase Abelson PZ ’17 committed a foul in the box to give La Verne a penalty. Justin
Almandinger stepped up to try and draw the visitors level, only to see his
penalty excellently stopped by goalkeeper Nigel Brady PO ’15.

“That hasn’t happened very often in my
college career,” an enthused Brady said after the game. “It was a lot of fun. I was pretty stoked after that. I was
probably a little scary.”

Unfortunately
for the Sagehens, the reprieve was only temporary, as a lofted pass from Anton
Russell into the P-P box was volleyed into the goal by Saul Uribe in the 65th
minute to bring the visitors back into the game. P-P’s offensive profligacy
looked like it could be costly, but they were eventually given a route back
into the game in the 72nd minute. A La Verne handball in the
Leopards’ 18-yard box saw the referee award a Sagehens penalty, which Felipe
Galvis PO ‘17 stepped up to convert with minimal fuss. After that, P-P was
happy to close up shop, keeping possession of the ball and not allowing La
Verne an avenue to get back into proceedings as the Sagehens closed out the 2-1
win.

The win saw
P-P move up to 22nd in DIII in Tuesday’s recent polls, ahead
of their recent competitor and SCIAC challenger Occidental College. Brady anticipated a
difficult encounter before the match. 

“It’s going to be a hard
game,” Brady said. “They’ve got some firepower up top, so we need to make sure we’re on point
defensively. We also need to make sure we don’t make any foolish mistakes with
the ball in possession because they like to counter and they will
counter on us.”

The
Sagehens looked to start against the Tigers where they left off against La
Verne, as they won a penalty in just the second minute. Galvis once again
slotted home to give P-P the early advantage, but the home team worked its way
back into the game. Oxy tied matters up in the 24th minute, as
Connor Freeman swept home an assist from Tod Kawada. Eleven minutes later, and
a nice interplay between Michael Tonetti and Keegan McChesney, saw Zack Conrad
released into space, the latter supplying the finish to give Oxy a 2-1 lead. 

The Tigers’ onslaught continued, and a P-P foul saw them awarded a penalty kick
in the 40th minute. For the second game running, however, Brady made
a massive save, blocking the attempt from Alessandro Carotenut to keep P-P in
the game heading into halftime. 

Galvis and Marvin forced Oxy goalkeeper Theo
Atkinson into a couple of good saves, but the Sagehens’ second-half offense was
relatively tame as the Tigers were able to kill the contest in the 82nd
minute, with Conrad finding Valdair Martins-Lopes in the
box. The midfielder scored to ring in the game’s tally of 3-1. 

With the win, Oxy moved up to 24 points in the SCIAC standings, just one behind
P-P. The Sagehens, however, have played one fewer game than the Tigers and
have the chance to tighten their grip upon the regular season title as they
visit rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 18.

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