Bsoc: Mochel’s clutch save preserves 5-4 Cate victory

Freshman goalkeeper Keller Mochel stopped a penalty kick in the final seconds, and Cate’s offense was firing on all cylinders Wednesday in a 5-4 win over visiting Oak Park in a non-league boys soccer match.

The Rams outshot Oak Park 27-7 and kept the Eagles’ goalkeeper busy all afternoon.

“The Oak Park keeper made some point-blank saves and we narrowly missed on others,” said Cate coach Peter Mack.

But it was the save by Mochel that enabled the Rams to go into the holiday break with a victory. He dived to his left to stop Oak Park’s penalty kick.

Sophomore Geoffrey Acheampong got Cate on the scoreboard 10 minutes into the match, scoring off a throw-in from junior Matthew Firestone.

Oak Park answered moments later when the Rams had a breakdown in their defense.

Cate’s offense then took control of the match and tallied three more goals before halftime. Senior captain Josh Yaro intercepted a ball and drove a shot into the lower left corner from about 20 yards to put the Rams back in front, 2-1. Just a short time later, Acheampong sent a beautiful centering pass to senior Abhay Singh, who turned and lined a shot off the right post, and junior Shuta Kobayashi rushed in to finish the play. Yaro completed the first-half outburst, with Erik Lowe getting the assist.

Oak Park managed to score two goals early in the second half to cut the Cate lead to 4-3.

Freshman Joel Serugo came on at left half and just minutes later turned the corner on the Oak Park defense and drilled a near-post shot to give the Rams a two-goal cushion.

Oak Park cut the lead to 5-4, scoring on a header off a corner kick.

While it was nice to see the offense click, Mack said the game showed the team still has a lot to work on.

“Soccer is a funny game, and for all of our domination throughout the midfield and into the attacking third —displaying some of our best, most unselfish soccer of the year — we had too many breakdowns in our defensive end,” he said. “We had multiple unforced errors across the field that resulted in either missed scoring opportunities or, worse, scoring opportunities for Oak Park.”

The Rams enter their break with a 3-1-1 record against teams in higher CIF divisions.

“We have a few wrinkles to iron out, but we work hard and we continue to make positive adjustments,” said Mack.