MSoc: Glover saves Westmont 1-0 victory

Westmont guaranteed itself a promotion into postseason play after capping off a turbulent 1-0 shutout victory over Golden State Athletic Conference foe Hope International (3-13-1, 1-7-1 GSAC) at Thorrington Field Wednesday.

Four minutes into the second half, the Royals went a man down after a red card was issued for a thrown elbow.

In the 72nd minute, 16 total shots and 11 corner kicks later, two veterans – senior Sean Siemens and junior Jonathan Yeeles – teamed up to deliver the only goal of the contest. Just two yards outside of the penalty area, Siemens blasted a shot that hit the Royals’ goalkeeper. It ricocheted back out to Yeeles who polished off the finish from 10 yards out.

“We weren’t sure what he could give us,” said Westmont assistant coach Johnny Whallon in reference to Siemens, who hadn’t played in the Warriors’ last three matches.

“It was clear that having him on the field as a leader and captain paid off as he provided a big spark for us, capped off by the great finish from Yeeles. Sean’s playing time and performance today was a good sign, one that will definitely serve as a building block going forward.”

Over the final 18 minutes, the Westmont defense fended off multiple runs by the Royals. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Josh Glover came up huge with two monumental saves.

With 4:21 left on the clock, Hope International’s Jesse Sandoval caught the Westmont defense by surprise when he fired a bending shot from 32 yards out. Glover reacted instinctively, punching the ball over the crossbar to prevent the score.

Then, with just 37 seconds remaining in the match, Glover came up clutch again, stopping a penalty kick. He threw himself right to the far post and disposed the ball wide.

“The way the game ended was disappointing – giving up a penalty kick – but Josh Glover came up big to make the save and I think that shows his emerging confidence,” stated Whallon. “Josh really had to work to stay sharp mentally today. He didn’t see a lot of action but still tracked down two huge saves. He definitely deserves to be praised after an effort like today’s.

“In the end, I think that the importance of a win always trumps everything else,” continued Whallon. “We now have our first nine win season since 2010, and that’s a positive because our guys need to taste winning as much as possible.”

Whallon also applauded the labors of freshman Rodrigo Diaz-Valdes and junior Pat Wynne.

After the victory today, Westmont (9-6, 5-4 GSAC) remains in fourth place with 15 points, Vanguard resides in fifth with 13, and the Master’s currently hold down the sixth and final playoff spot with nine points.

The Warriors play host to Vanguard on Saturday at 3 o’clock. The match is pivotal because whichever squad arises as the victor will be granted home field advantage in their first GSAC tournament match.