Warriors Tame Ninth-Ranked Lions

Submitted by: Ron Smith - September 28th, 2016

 

Matt Lariviere

Matt Lariviere

Two early goals and another to cap it off with just over a minute to play gave Westmont Men’s Soccer (5-3, 2-1 GSAC) what it needed to knock-off #9 Vanguard (6-2, 1-2) in Wednesday’s Golden State Athletic Conference match-up. The win was the first on the road this season for the Warriors.

“We obviously had a very good start to the game,” said Wolf. “To score any goals against Vanguard is noteworthy. To get a couple as quick as we did was very positive for us.”

Westmont went up 1-0 in the sixth minute when junior Josh Constant headed in a corner kick from junior Augie Andrade.

“Austin Lack did a great job to win the corner initially with a great individual effort,” said Wolf, “and Augie delivered a great ball. (Assistant coach) Johnny (Whalon) has been working very hard with the group on set pieces. I think all that time and energy really paid off.”

The second goal came in the 13th minutes when freshman Sean Nakaoka scored the first goal of his collegiate career while playing near his hometown of Irvine.

“The second goal was also initiated by Austin,” report Wolf. “He got loose on the right flank and served the ball to the back post. Matt Lariviere won the header at the back post and nodded the ball back across the six-yard box. Vanguard’s keeper got a hand to it, but Sean was there to finish the rebound with his head.

“Historically, it’s a little bit unusual for us to score a lot of headed goals,” noted Wolf. “We have a few of them this year now, so who knows, maybe it is a new wrinkle for us.”

The challenge for the Warriors now turned to defending a 2-0 lead against a team that had scored 15 goals in its first seven games. The challenge was intensified by the absence of senior center back Genaro Hurtado who was serving a suspension due to the accumulation of yellow cards.

The defensive challenge would only get more difficult as the game progressed. In the 42nd minute Clifton Guillory, who started in Hurtado’s place, left the game with an injury. Then in the 60th minute Gabe McEwen was taken from the game with another injury.

“I moved Nate Ruble inside to play center back with Josh Constant and that is a place I have never played him,” said Wolf. “Nate stepped in and did a terrific job.”

Still holding on to a 2-0 lead, the Warriors faced another obstacle when starting goalkeeper Lalo Delgado was injured and left the game.

“Lalo made an outstanding save and landed inside the goal,” said Wolf. “He caught a part of the metal standard of the goal and had to come out of the game.”

Spencer Petty came in to take Delgado’s place as tender of the net.

“Five minutes later, Nakaoka picked up his second caution of the day and was dismissed from the game, leaving the Warriors a man down. With the manpower advantage, Vanguard upped its tempo. After taking just 10 shots in the first 63 minutes, the Lions pounded out 13 in the final 27.

In the 72nd minute, Vanguard nearly scored on a shot by Nahum Paz that deflected off the post and back into play. Eight minutes later, the Lions narrowed the margin to just one when another shot from Paz deflected off a Warrior defender and scored.

“Defensively, I thought we were very good,” assessed Wolf. “That premise obviously got test a lot when we went down to 10 men. Then it became survival mode at that point. There is probably a different kind of proud relative to the performance that I felt in the first half, but it was still a demonstration to survive the onslaught that we were facing at that point.

“I think that we had developed a good bit of confidence up until that point of the game in the defending that we were doing. I think we not only had confidence in Spencer coming in but also in the team overall.

“Before I could even alter the shape of the team once Sean got sent off, Augie had already done it. He was moving the chess pieces. That ownership and leadership allowed the team to adjust. This is indicative of where the group is at right now.”

The Lions’ hopes of attaining an equalizer were dashed when Lariviere scored the Warriors’ third goal in the 89th minute.

“Vanguard was pushing hard for the equalizer,” said Wolf, “Austin and Matt ended up linking up on the third goal.

“The common denominator in all three goals, and the guy that is making us go right now, is Austin Lack,” offered Wolf. “He is on top of his game right now. He was involved in every positive sequence that we had and showed not only his quality but also some terrific leadership.”

Westmont has a bye this weekend but will return to action next Tuesday when the Warriors host #15 Biola (6-2, 1-1). Kickoff at Thorrington Field is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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