MENLO — The Westmont men’s soccer team was unable to mount an attack against the Menlo Oaks (8-6, 5-2 GSAC) on Thursday, as an early goal sunk the Warriors (4-7-1, 2-4-1) in a 1-0 defeat in an away game.
Going into the final match of the regular season, Westmont and Hope International are tied for the sixth and final spot in the GSAC Tournament with seven points apiece. With the Warriors owning a tiebreaker over Hope International, who lost to Vanguard Thursday, the Warriors can clinch the final spot with a win over William Jessup today.
“We’ve had to chase from the start in a lot of matches this year,” said Westmont head coach Dave Wolf. “When you’re so often trying to come from behind, the season becomes tough to navigate. We’ve been close and competitive in a lot of games, but we’ve had to play under so much duress this season because we’re constantly chasing the score.”
In the 11th minute, Westmont missed out on a golden opportunity to take a 1-0 advantage when Spencer Crithfield carried the ball into the near-side of the six-yard box. Crithfield’s threatening run made Menlo keeper Nico Feusi dart to his right to cover his near post.
Crithfield then chipped a pass on a platter to Westmont’s best goal-scorer, Sam Tuscano, who was waiting at the center of the six.
With Feusi still glued to his near post, three-quarters of the net was uncovered, but the senior had an ever-rare miss touch, and headed the ball wide of the covered near post.
Then, in the 18th minute, Menlo converted on a similar play to take the 1-0 advantage. When Menlo’s Evan Snodgrass carried a ball toward keeper Brady Highfill’s near post, Snodgrass chipped a pass to Bernardo Berardinelli, who was waiting on the far side of the six.
With one touch, Berardinelli found the back of the net, and the Oaks put the Warriors immediately on their heels with an early 1-0 lead.
During the first half, the Warriors were able to put four shots on goal, but were unable to find the equalizer as Feusi was able to corral each shot.
In the 51st minute, Westmont put its fifth shot on frame when Matthew Morgan served a corner kick to the back post that Connor Lynch drilled with a header. The shot was on trajectory to soar in just under the crossbar, but Feusi, with quick reflexes, reached up and punched the ball up and over to keep Westmont off the board.
Westmont did not record another shot on frame until the 78th minute, when Landon Amaral fired a shot into the hands of Feusi for the keeper’s sixth save of the match.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.