MSOC: CLU 1, CU 0
(Thousand Oaks, Ca) In one of the most physical matchups of the season, the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen knocked off one of the top ranked teams in the conference with a 1-0 victory over the Chapman Panthers. With his second gamewinner in three games, senior Jared Pischke sent one between the posts in the 80th minute to lead the Kingsmen to another three points.
“These are huge points for us tonight to hopefully continue to battle in this conference. We fixed some things in the midfield that we struggled with in the beginning, and the boys adapted well and we finished strong,” said head coach Miguel Ruiz.
The Panthers opened the contest with a dangerous cross in the first minute that bounced off the right post and nearly rolled past the goal line before being picked up by keeper Antonio Welch. The sophomore finished with six saves on the night and recorded his second shutout of the season.
The Kingsmen responded with a look at goal of their own in the 28th minute started by Pischke who dribbled up into the box, but struggled to keep possession. However, junior Joey Arnold managed to recover the ball and attempted to get a shot off but was blocked by a defender. Again, Cal Lutheran feet were exactly where they needed to be and freshman Igor Lumbrano collected the ball and took a shot from 15 yards with his right foot that finished just left of the posts.
The team threatened again late in the first half, this time by junior Aaron Winsick whose initial shot on goal bounced off the chest of Chapman goalkeeper Chandler Siemonsma, and back into play, but was smothered just in time before Winsick could get another shot off.
Then with less than two minutes in the first period, freshman Adrian Graciano found space from the right side to take the ball into the box himself and sent one in to back left corner, but the excitement was quickly negated by a late offsides call, sending both teams scoreless into the half.
Cal Lutheran were able to increase their pressure in the second half, stepping up and smothering Chapman’s opportunities to score. Frustrated, Chapman received four cautions in the second period, including a red card awarded to Kai Howe in the 69th minute, forcing the team to play a man down the remainder of the match.
The Kingsmen were able to capitalize on the advantage and put one between the posts in the 80th minute. Arnold set up the play with a pass to Pischke inside the box who attempted to chip one over the diving keeper but was deflected. The forward was able to recover, though, and tucked the loose ball away into the bottom right corner for the gamewinner.
Cal Lutheran entered the contest in a three-way tie for fifth in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while Chapman entered in a three-way tie for second. The win moves Cal Lutheran to 4-4-0 in conference play and into sole possession of fifth place, just three points behind the top four teams that qualify for SCIAC playoffs.
The Kingsmen return to the pitch Saturday night on the road against the Occidental Tigers at 7 p.m. PST.
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