For the second game in a row, the Warriors found themselves in double overtime.
This time, however, Westmont (3-4, 1-1 GSAC) fell Saturday to Vanguard (5-3-1, 1-1) in heartbreaking fashion at Westmont. The clubs traded goals in the first half, before Vanguard scored in the 104th minute to claim the match 2-1.
“We’ve had seven regular season games, and every single one has been decided by one goal,” pointed out Westmont head coach Dave Wolf. “We’ve had two GSAC games, and both have gone to overtime. Thursday we were on the winning end, and today, we experienced the other side of that. That’s soccer sometimes.”
In the 14th minute, Westmont relentlessly pressured inside the Lions’ 18 and wouldn’t stop until they found the back of the net.
After a handball 20 yards outside the box, the Warriors had a free kick and the first scoring opportunity of the day for either side. Aldo Becerril took the initial kick and sent that ball into the six-yard box, where it ricocheted off of a Lions defender.
On the rebound, Zach Godeck let another shot fly, but again, it ricocheted off a Lions defender.
The same exact beat went for four more shots, as Becerril, Landon Amaral, and Braeden Pryor (twice) followed up with rebound shots, and each time the attempts were stuffed by the Vanguard defense.
Ultimately, the final rebound went to Westmont’s marquee finisher, Samuel Tuscano, and Tuscano fired into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
“That was a sequence where we looked very determined,” Wolf said. “I think a lot of credit goes to Braeden for causing as much chaos as anyone, and then of course Sam is going to finish those types of opportunities.”
A rare misplay by Godeck allowed the Lions to quickly tie things up, when Godeck miss-hit the ball on an attempted clearance inside the Westmont 18. Godeck took a swing at the ball in an attempt to send it up-field, but instead had it deflect off the side of his foot, and back into dangerous territory.
The ball found its way to Stewart Alvayero, who quickly shot it past Mans Ingvarson for the equalizer.
“That’s an unfortunate moment, but those things happen,” said Wolf. “Zach has great character; he’ll be the first to take ownership for anything that goes wrong on his watch. He’s the most important player in our program and we will depend on him for as long as we can.”
At the end of the first half, there were 19 shots between the two, 10 of which came from Westmont.
But the score remained tied at zero.
In the second half, both sides traded fouls more than shots, with the stoppage in play seemingly outweighing the action. With under 10 minutes to play, the Warriors had just one shot on goal outside of their score, and the Lions had just two.
In the 84th minute, Westmont had a shot to take the lead when Tuscano crossed a ball in the box that Pryor flicked in the air. Waiting for it to come down was Becerril, who loaded up and fired a shot that made all in attendance gasp. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the shot was sent a yard high of the top-post.
Six more minutes passed without a ball finding a net, so for the second game in a row, the Warriors were headed to overtime.
Then, much like on Thursday, 100 minutes eventually passed without a score, sending the club into double overtime once again.
In the 103rd minute, Westmont had an opportunity to win it when Landon Amaral crossed a ball to the back of the six-yard, finding the head of Meme Mendoza. Mendoza put his shot on frame, but unfortunately right at Vanguard keeper James Choi.
Then, a minute later, disaster struck inside the Warriors’ six-yard box. After the Lions threatened inside the six, Vanguard’s Austin Tubbs had possession with his back turned to the net. Michael Palmer challenged Tubbs for possession, and got a piece of the ball at the same time that Tubbs did.
While both men got a touch, the ball merely dropped to the ground in the same spot, leading Tubbs to poke it in for the golden goal.
“We’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum early,” said Wolf, “and there is a lot of football left to be played. There is such a thing in this sport as losing the score, but winning the day. I think the result we got today will make us better, and encourage us to keep taking the right steps to do so.”
Westmont returns to action next Thursday night, when they take on Hope International at 7 p.m. down in Irvine.
Jacob Norling is the Westmont College sports information assistant.