September 1, 2016
Santa Clarita, Calif. -- Freshman Justin Ikeora scored one goal and assisted on another and Casey Phillips posted another shutout leading The Master's University past Whittier 3-0 Thursday afternoon on Reese Field.
The win was the Mustangs' second in a row and elevated their record to 3-1.
Ikeora, a local product from Valencia High School, ignited the Mustang attack in the match's 29th minute (28:43) when he headed in a cross from former high school teammate and fellow freshman Luis Garcia Sosa. It was Ikeora's first collegiate goal and Garcia Sosa's second assist of the season.
The Mustangs held on to that slightest of leads and appeared headed to halftime with the 1-0 lead. However, with just over three minutes left in the stanza, a Mustang foul in the box gave the Poets a chance to even the match on a penalty kick.
Phillips came up big, though, smothering Matteo Loi's shot at 41:58 to maintain the lead and keep the shutout intact. It was one of three saves the junior keeper made during the match.
Clinging to a one-goal advantage coming out of the break, the Mustangs wasted little time in giving themselves some breathing room as Ikeora fed Chris Logan with a nice pass that the senior put between the pipes with just 25 seconds gone in the second half. It was Logan's first tally of the season.
The Mustangs had a couple of more scoring opportunities over the next 30 minutes but missed high or wide. However, in the 77th minute (76:16), Taylor Howard didn't miss after taking a Nicholas Thayer pass and putting it past Poet keeper Jorge Rivas for a 3-0 lead.
Neither side generated any more offense the rest of the way and the Mustangs had their third victory in four starts. The Mustangs enjoyed a 15-6 shot advantage, including an 8-3 edge in shots on goal.
Phillips' shutout was his second of the season and the fifth of his career.
"Grateful for a shutout win and a chance to play everyone," head coach Jim Rickard added after the match, "I was really excited for Justin (Ikeora) and Chris (Logan), who each scored their first goal of the season, and for Taylor (Howard), who got his second goal."
The Mustangs have little time to dwell on this win as they turn around tomorrow to host UC Merced, capping off a very busy three games in four days' stretch. Friday's match will kick off at 4:00pm on Reese Field.