MSoc: McCarthy wins it for Warriors in OT

SANTA CLARITA – A surging Westmont Men’s Soccer squad (8-5, 4-3 GSAC) is making the most out of their last cluster of contests in Golden State Athletic Conference play. Once again, the Warriors mustered up some magic in a thrilling 2-1 overtime win over The Master’s (3-9-1, 2-5 GSAC) in Santa Clarita Tuesday afternoon.

In the 97th minute, two senior captains secured the decisive score as Marcos Lopez launched a set piece into the box where Rick McCarthy rose up and nodded it home.

“The Master’s is a really difficult place to play,” voiced Warrior head coach Dave Wolf. “Teams don’t often leave here with victories. I think the fact that we were able to do just that is a real positive.”

Although each crew had their respective opportunities, neither team struck pay dirt in the initial half of play. Westmont finished the first half with six total shots (three on goal) and two corners taken. The Master’s concluded the first 45 with four shot attempts (one on goal) and four corners taken.

“We had a lot of the ball in the game – especially in the first 30 minutes – but we never really produced anything of real danger,” remarked Wolf. “The first time that we showed a desire to really go at them was the run that sparked our first goal.”

The second half of the match revealed much more offensive and defensive showmanship, starting with Westmont’s diminutive sparkplug and leading goal scorer Nana Akyen.

Akyen recorded his fifth goal of the season when, in the 56th minute, Jonathan Yeeles played a ball to him out wide. Akyen corralled the ball, beat his man on the dribble, and curled a shot past the Mustangs’ keeper.

The Warriors were taken by surprise just 19 seconds later when The Mustangs knotted up the match after a quick display of passing spawned a goal by Jorge Serrano.

Over the course of the last 35 minutes of the match, the Warriors withstood a fusillade of shots from The Master’s. The Mustangs more than tripled their total number of shots from the first half, churning out 13 in the second, as well as increasing their corners taken to nine on the contest.

The Warriors also overcame an attempted penalty kick in the 80th minute after the ball missed the frame and went sailing over the cross bar. “We definitely felt like the penalty itself was harsh,” commented Wolf. “However, to concede a PK in the 80th minute on the road and still find a way to win the game is great for us.”

Westmont goalkeeper Josh Glover recorded six saves alone in the second half, the most any Warrior keeper has chronicled in a single half all season.

Upon completion of the match, Wolf said about Glover, “He was big time – just big time on a couple of occasions. He made one play that was just a fantastic reaction save, and also had another save of the highest quality. As much as anything else, having his performance in goal today contributed to our positive result.”

At the conclusion of 90 minutes, overtime was in order. Fortunately for the men in maroon, victory came a calling.

“This is a big moment for us relative to our season and postseason prospects,” articulated Wolf. “It doesn’t seal the deal by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it puts us in a great position. You want to be controlling your own destiny. I think that’s the best part of today’s win. Hopefully we can go down to San Diego this weekend and keep this going, because right now the team is playing with a good level of confidence and belief.”

With two consecutive wins in conference play, the Warriors are now in solid position within the GSAC, standing in third place behind first place Concordia and second place San Diego Christian, whom Westmont plays next.

The match against the Hawks will take place in El Cajon this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. as the Warriors seek to avenge their homecoming day overtime loss and once again disrupt the GSAC standings.