Men’s soccer falls to Cal Poly

Jacob Norling, Staff Writer

After the first 45 minutes at Spanos Stadium on this past Thursday night, the unthinkable was in question, with the game still tied at zero. For the entire first half, the Warriors’ defense was able to counter the Mustangs’ attacks and survive each shot on goal, leaving room for optimism heading into the second half of play. But upon the beginning of the latter 45 minutes, Cal Poly adjusted, scoring twice in the first three minutes of the second half, and ultimately handing Westmont its first loss of the season, 3-0.

Cal Poly striker Emmanuel Perez took over the game as soon as play resumed, putting two in the back of the net behind Lalo Delgado, who allowed his first goal in almost a month. The Westmont team faced something they had not seen all season: an absolutely relentless offensive attack. And for the previously impenetrable defense, there was no margin for error. Against previous opponents, the same miscues that Westmont made would often result in nothing but a Delgado save or even a rare corner kick or set piece. But against the Mustangs, when the Warriors’ defense slipped, there were marks on the scoreboard to show for it.

Westmont came into the match ranked #5 in the NAIA after setting a program record with a 6-0 to start the year. But it was no surprise that the team ran into a buzzsaw against Cal Poly.

“Honestly, it was good to get this out of the way,” said junior midfielder Jona Romero. “We got some of our weaknesses exposed and now we can clean it up before GSAC play.”

The same sentiment was echoed from junior midfielder Nick Ruiz, who simply stated, “We got beat by a better team. Now we can move on and get better.”

The mindset for the Warriors looks to be positive following their first loss, and why shouldn’t it be? A team that hadn’t won their sixth game until two weeks into GSAC play last year enters this year’s conference play with a 6-1 record and a very high national ranking. With the team nursing a few injuries against Cal Poly, you can bet that the team is looking forward to having a couple weeks off before heading up to Rocklin to take on William Jessup in its GSAC opener on Oct. 3.

This team has proved that, when healthy, it is a lethal opponent. Of course some questions will still arise. The biggest question is: which GSAC team will perform when it matters most, and automatically punch its ticket to the round of 16 in the National Tournament? So, following the most auspicious start in program history, we have to wonder — why not Westmont?