With sharp counter attacks and stable defense, Pomona-Pitzer’s men’s soccer team (3-3-2, 2-2-2 SCIAC) managed to neutralize Cal Lutheran (6-3, 4-2 SCIAC) and secure a 2-1 win Saturday, Sept. 23, giving the team a new face in the SCIAC conference. “This is a very tough league and we needed a win today,” P-P head coach Bill Schwartz said after the match.
In a quick start to the game, P-P seized an opportunity to score an early goal. After a scramble from a P-P corner kick, Aidan Ferrer PO ’19 took a shot off Jacob Merkel’s PO ’18 pass and opened the scoreboard at the fifth minute.
However, throughout the rest of the first half, the Sagehens struggled to escape the Kingsmen’s high pressure, giving most of the possession to the visiting team, which also had a hard time finding openings in the Sagehen’s defense.
Cal Lutheran scored an equalizer when it was able to convert a set piece: Stevie Trujillo crossed the ball from the intermediate zone to Diego Ortega who headed the ball into the net, past P-P goalkeeper Ben Mitchell PZ ’18, who had little chance to make the save.
The second half started slowly, with both teams studying each other. Nevertheless, in a quick breakthrough on the right side of the field, Ferrer crossed the ball to Taylor Reifert PZ ’19 who kicked it into the goal, putting the Sagehens in front.
Ahead on the scoreboard, P-P pulled back, trying to take advantage of counterattacks. In the last 10 minutes of the game, Cal Lutheran launched itself into attack and almost tied the game in the 87th minute, when Luis Cabrera missed a goal on a shot inside the 18-yard box. While P-P’s defense bent, it did not break, and was able to hold off strong pressure from the Kingsmen. As Eamon Stein PO ’21 analyzed after the match, “We started out fast and were able to keep going strong for the whole 90 minutes.”
Facing a modest 1-2-1 start to the season, the Sagehens have now won two of their last three matches to climb to fifth place in the SCIAC and have put themselves into a fighting position for a postseason spot.
“Coming out of a 3-0 loss to Occidental was very frustrating, especially since we thought it was a beatable opponent. We knew we had to gain momentum against Cal Lutheran for our next 3 games and this match definitely got us back on track and back in the right place,” said Jack Arnold PO ’21.