MSoc: Seniors help Westmont earn home playoff game

Three second-half goals by junior Jonathan Yeeles and senior captains Rick McCarthy and Sean Siemens propelled Westmont Men’s Soccer (10-6, 6-4 GSAC) into the double-digit victory club, as the Warriors defeated Vanguard 3-1 on Senior Day in their final Golden State Athletic Conference match of the regular season.

Although Westmont outshot the Lions (8-7-1, 4-5-1) six to five in the first half, it was the Warriors who found themselves in an early hole 15 minutes into the game. Nevertheless, Westmont persevered through their static first half, ultimately rewriting their postseason passage in the final 23 minutes of the match.

In the 68th minute, Yeeles struck first for the Warriors. Off of a rebound 10 yards out, he corralled the ball and directed a quick volley toward goal that went screaming past the Lions’ goalkeeper.

“The key moment in the game was obviously the first goal that John Yeeles scored,” exclaimed Westmont head coach Dave Wolf. “It was a very good ball strike and a difficult finish. He beat a very good goalkeeper, one that I actually recruited to come to Westmont. That moment really raised the belief level of the team and got us back on track.”

Yeeles’ goal forged a shift in momentum, as two additional goals were scored in the ensuing 15 minutes to salt the game away.

McCarthy converted next, this time with Yeeles and junior Cody Howen as his assistants. From the left flank, Howen fit a pass through a tight window of defenders that eventually settled at the feet of Yeeles. Yeeles then made a swift turn and played the ball back to McCarthy, who fired a shot into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal.

Finally, in the 83rd minute, it was Siemens who slammed the door on the Lions. Fellow senior Nana Akyen played a crafty ball forward to Siemens. Siemens, from the left side of the penalty area, faked out the goalkeeper and bent a right-footed shot into the lower left corner of the goal.

“For those two men to score and for our seniors in general to experience what they experienced today, it just made for a truly cool day,” sai Wolf. “When he (Siemens) scored the third, and the team got to go celebrate with the fans, I thought to myself ‘all the trials and tribulations that they’ve gone through have been wiped away.’ As their coach, I was really glad to see that.”

Senior goalkeeper Andrew Singer made his third start on the season between the posts for the Warriors. He continued his winning ways, as the Warriors have won each game he has started during the 2013 campaign.

Saturday’s victory cemented the Warriors into the fourth spot for the upcoming GSAC postseason tournament and presented Westmont with the luxury of beginning the tournament with a match at home on Thorrington Field.

Westmont will once again face off against the Lions of Vanguard on Wednesday, November 6 at 2 p.m., a team that the Warriors have defeated twice this season by an aggregate score of 5-1.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve won 10 games, and played a home playoff game (both in 2008), so I think there were some real breakthrough components to the regular season for this group,” remarked Wolf.

“My hope is that we can keep it going.”