Winning the battle of Warriors
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In a much-anticipated NAIA-matchup, #23 Westmont men’s soccer (3-2-1) defeated the #17 Warriors of Corban University (Ore.) in a thrilling 3-1 win on Saturday on Thorrington Field.
Westmont came out on the offensive, scoring its first goal in the 13th minute. Loyola Marymount transfer Lucky Puengrod scored his third goal of the season after sending a 20-yard volley just over the keeper and into the net.
Despite the early lapse, Corban continued to attack hard, straining Westmont’s defense. Westmont continued to execute offensively, adding another goal in the 18th minute by Jeremiah Anderson. Corban’s goalie charged the ball after Gabe McEwen tapped the ball to Puengrod who then passed it to Anderson. Anderson beat the goalie to the ball and pushed it past him into the net.
Corban’s persistence eventually broke through when Levan Zhividze took a shot off a loose ball in the 35th minute, bringing Corban within one, 2-1, as the game headed into halftime.
In the 82nd minute, transfer Christian Webb scored the third goal of the game when he headed a corner kick from Gabe Thurner into the net, increasing Westmont’s lead to 3-1, the final score of the match.
“We were able to know our moments this game,” said junior goalkeeper Lalo Delgado. “We stayed focused and defended with discipline when we were under pressure and we also transitioned quickly, creating effective counter attacks that helped us get on the scoresheet. If we continue to read and anticipate moments, I think it will allow for our success to continue both defensively and offensively the rest of the season.” Delgado made two key saves to preserve the victory for Westmont.
Returning to the field was senior captain Tim Heiduk, who missed the beginning of the season due to injury. Following the game on Saturday, Heiduk discussed his return from injury: “I definitely had some pregame jitters getting out there with it being my first game back from injury. It was hard to sit out and to have to watch my team from the sidelines, but while I was out injured I tried to contribute in every way I could by encouraging the guys and being a vocal presence on the sideline.”
In regards to moving ahead as a team, Heiduk added, “There were a lot of moving pieces coming into this season, with nine new players in the program, so it took a little while for us to establish chemistry on the field, but we have made massive improvements in that regard so far and I expect that to only improve as the season goes along.”
Westmont is scheduled to take on the Pioneers of Antelope Valley today (Tuesday). The game will take place in Lancaster at 4 pm. They will return to Thorrington Field on Saturday to take on the Cougars of Azusa Pacific at 4 pm.