Dramatic day for both Warrior teams

Westmont Men's Soccer

Westmont Men’s Soccer

It was high drama at Russ Carr field on Saturday afternoon.

Westmont’s 23rd-ranked men’s soccer squad opened Golden State Athletic Conference play with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss on a Vanguard breakaway with just 1:15 left in the second overtime. Then the women took the field, having lost three consecutive games by  a one-goal margin. They also went into overtime, but broke through on a Vanguard (5-1-1, 0-1) own goal to pick up the 2-1 win.

Athletic director/women’s coach/men’s coach Dave Wolf could use a vacation right about now.

“I don’t think I’ll survive many more days like today,” he said. “It’s my heart. That’s about as tough a day as you can have. Thankfully it ended on a positive note.”

Senior Amy Lawson scored the game-tying goal on a left-footed 15-yarder in the 85th minute, sending the match into extra time. The team was ready to boil over on the sidelines during the overtime, realizing that a win to open conference play would be critical in forgetting the streak of hard luck.

“We’ve battled so hard in each of those losses and we just needed to validate that we are a good team,” said an elated Lawson. “Coach just really got on us and said that we’ve gotta keep talking and chattering throughout the whole game to keep our spirits up, even when we felt like things weren’t going our way.”

It sure went their way when 19th-ranked Vanguard’s goalie deflected a corner kick off the foot of Taylor Callan right into the back of the net, triggering a Warrior dog pile.

“To have lost today would have been devastating, but this really brings that validation. People can tell you you’re good, but you’re not really going to buy that until you see it in the win column,” said Wolf.

Four of Westmont’s seven matches have gone into overtime on the year, and the team is now 2-4-1, 1-0.

The day’s first game also ended in a dog pile, but it was Vanguard who created it.

Ryan Kenney assisted Eric Nutter on a three-man breakaway late in the second overtime, and the Lions’ celebration made it feel like a national championship game. Some of Vanguard’s players were even teary-eyed as they hugged one another.

Wolf said that the increase in emotions was likely due to the fact that a potential game-winning penalty kick for the Warriors was stopped in the 74th minute. Jonathan Schoff put a low bullet to the bottom left corner,  but Lions goalie Trevor Herrera guessed correctly on the dive and prevented Westmont from going up 2-1.

“The drama obviously got heightened by the penalty-kick save,” said Wolf. “I think any time there’s a penalty-kick save, that ramps up the emotions of a contest, and that definitely happened today.”

If it happens again anytime soon, Wolf might need to have a cardiologist ready for him on the bench.