Kingsmen soccer sweeps Sagehens 3-1

Senior forward Jared Pishke races a Sagehen defender for the ball.  Photo by Brooke Stanley - Sports Editor
Senior forward Jared Pishke races a Sagehen defender for the ball.
Photo by Brooke Stanley – Sports Editor

The California Lutheran University men’s soccer team snapped a two-game losing streak, defeating the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens 3-1.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19 at William Rolland Stadium, the Kingsmen fought a defensive battle, with no score for the majority of the first half. Despite several scoring opportunities they were not able to capitalize. Their first scoring opportunity came with 26 minutes to go until halftime after a shot by first-year forward Jose Olea was deflected by a Sagehen defender.

The Sagehens got on the board first with a strike from just outside of the box. They put it away in the bottom right corner of the net with just two minutes left in the first half.

The score at halftime was 1-0 in favor of the Sagehens.

Sophomore goalkeeper Antonio Welch had several key saves that kept the score within reach. At the end of the first half, Welch had six saves.

“Easily, at halftime when we were one down, we could have gone in a spiral and let a few more in and [kept] our heads down, but we came out with intentions of winning,” Welch said.

Head Coach Miguel Ruiz said the team made several adjustments at halftime in order to compete with the Sagehens.

Thanks to those adjustments, the Kingsmen found the back of the net within the first 13 minutes of the second half. Senior captain and forward Jared Pischke scored a goal from the back-left corner of the box, tallying his second goal of the season.

“Honestly it was so fast, it was kind of a blur. I remember Aaron taking a shot from far out, keeper made a great save and it came right to my feet,” Pischke said. “I took a touch over and beat the defender and took a left footed shot near post.”

Four minutes later, the Kingsmen were once again able to capitalize on a scoring opportunity. Junior forward Aaron Winsick was fouled by a Sagehen defender inside the box, giving the Kingsmen a penalty kick. First-year midfielder Igor Lumbrano was chosen to take the penalty kick and scored the first goal of his collegiate career.

Even quicker than the second goal, the Kingsmen scored a third goal about two minutes later. Senior captain and defender Alex Cortez scored on a rebound off the cross bar after a corner kick put the ball in play. The score was the first of the season for Cortez.

Welch continued his strong play in the second half and had several timely saves to maintain the Kingsmen lead. Welch finished with a season high of nine saves.

The Kingsmen held on to their lead and defeated the Sagehens 3-1. The win marked their second victory in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

“Our group was very disciplined today and I think that was the big difference; really being able to follow the game plan and really implement everything that we’ve been working on,” Ruiz said. “I think today was the first day that I really felt that everybody was on the same page.”

Welch said the team was aware of the importance of picking up a win in conference play.

“We knew this game was vital and important to keeping our season alive because, if we go 1-4, it’s a big climb up from there. And so, we knew it’s a little bit more maintainable if we’re 2-3 in conference,” Welch said.

After the Kingsmen win and a University of La Verne loss, the team moved up a spot in SCIAC rankings. After a 1-0 loss to University of California, Santa Cruz, on Saturday, Sept. 22, the Kingsmen remain in the number seven spot in conference.

Manny Lira