October 22, 2013
Santa Clarita, CA -- Sudden death sounds so final. So emphatic, so heart-rending, so final. That's the way it was for Coach Jim Rickard and The Master's College men's soccer team Tuesday afternoon after Westmont's Rick McCarthy kicked in the game-winner 6:46 into overtime, lifting the visiting Warriors to a grueling 2-1 win over the Mustangs on Reese Field.
The heartbreaking loss was the club's second in a row and its first overtime defeat of the season, dropping the Mustangs to 3-9-1 overall and 2-5 in the GSAC. More importantly, the defeat kept the Mustangs from tying the Warriors for fourth place in the conference.
Following a back-and-forth, 90-minute duel in regulation, the end came without much warning in the extra period. Neither team had a shot on goal until McCarthy took a pass from teammate Marcos Lopez and sent it by Mustang keeper Kyle Cunningham. And, just like that, it was over.
It could have been over in regulation as the Mustangs dominated play over the final 45 minutes, putting seven shots on goal but only making one count. That one, coming off the foot of Jorge Serrano (Sylmar, CA) in the 56th minute (55:22), knotted the score at 1-1. The club's leading scorer, Zach Klindworth (20 pts. on seven goals and six assists), assisted on Serrano's sixth goal of the year.
Just prior to that Serrano and Brett Croft (Hesperia, CA) had shots turned away by Westmont goalie Josh Glover. And, as what usually happens when a team can't capitalize on opportunities, it opens the door for the other squad which Westmont kicked in when Emmanuel Akyen scored the game's first goal just 19 seconds before Serrano tied things up.
The Mustangs had several golden chances in the final 10 minutes of regulation and none was bigger than the penalty kick that Serrano attempted at the 80:52 mark. However, Glover was up to the task, stopping the shot and then adding two saves a few minutes later on tries by Klindworth.
Although the squads combined for just those two goals in the second half, it seemed like an offensive outburst compared to a very ho-hum first stanza in which the Warriors registered a 3-1 advantage in shots on goal.
Despite the loss, Rickard said, "I can't complain at the quality of soccer we are playing. Westmont played hard and was eager at every chance they had and their belief turned into reality. Congratulations to them for taking a game that was in our grasp."
The Mustangs wound up outshooting the Warriors 18-13 overall and 8-6 in shots on goal. Cunningham wound up with four saves.
With three games left in the regular season, the Mustangs will continue their quest for a postseason berth this Saturday when they travel to Phoenix to take on Arizona Christian in a battle of sixth-place clubs.