October 20, 2012
Santa Clarita, CA - Austin Michelson tallied two first-half goals and Taylor Shahi added the clincher later on to lead The Master's College to its second consecutive victory, a 4-2 decision over visiting Arizona Christian Saturday afternoon on Reese Field.
The win, which improved the Mustangs to 7-8-1 overall and 3-4-1 in the GSAC, gave them a sweep of their two-game, season series with the Firestorm. With two conference games remaining, the Mustangs, who started the day sitting in the sixth and final playoff spot, have a real shot at improving their seeding with the GSAC Tournament starting in 11 days
MIchelson (Scotts Valley, CA), who started the campaign as a valuable defender on the club's back line, has developed into of its top weapons, making a much-needed transition to spark the offense. He came out firing against the Firestorm, putting one past ACU goalie Joshua Chelpka at the 7:11 mark of the first half for his fourth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Almost eleven minutes later (18:04), the senior did it again, this time taking a Kevin Scheunemann pass and shooting it past Chelpka to double his squad's advantage.
But, the Firestorm weren't about to go down without a fight or be shut out again as they had at the hands of the Mustangs back on September 29 in a 4-0 loss. A little over two minutes (20:33) after Michelson's tally, ACU's David Hernandez beat Mustang keeper Andrew Bussell (Bakersfield, CA) to halve the deficit.
The Mustangs had a couple of other opportunities in the first half but couldn't convert and went to the break with the narrowest of margins. Over the opening 45 minutes, the Mustangs outshot the Firestorm 6-4 and Bussell picked up three saves.
Although the scoring in the second half mirrored that of the first, the Mustangs really never felt comfortable until the very end. It helped, though, when James Obimbo (Nairobi, Kenya) tallied his first goal of the season 9:06 into the final stanza, giving the Mustangs some breathing room at 3-1.
However, the Firestorm refused to go away. Just about eight minutes (62:05) later, Jesse Gerkey's free kick from long range sailed past Bussell and into the net, narrowing the Mustang lead to just one goal again.
But, it didn't take long for the Mustangs to respond and help settle some nerves as Shahi (Santa Rosa, CA) scored off an Obimbo assist at 67:14 to hand the Mustangs a two-goal edge. It was Shahi's team-high eighth goal of the year.
Although there were still over 22 minutes left to play, Shahi's goal seemed to put a dagger in the hearts of the Firestorm and capped a second half in which the Mustangs outshot their opponent 12-2.
Now, the Mustangs put their two-match winning streak and a desire to move up the GSAC ladder on the line Wednesday when they travel to Irvine to take on first-place and No. 4 Concordia. The Eagles trounced the Mustangs 6-1 in the clubs' first meeting of the year back on October 2.