Benjamin Tembo scored three times and Humphrey Mahowa added two more goals as The Master’s University overcame the heat to beat the University of Antelope Valley 5-2 in its home opener Tuesday afternoon on Reese Field.
Playing in 100-plus degree temperatures for over two hours, the Mustangs recorded their highest-scoring match so far in the early going of the 2016 campaign and improved to 2-1.
In post-game comments, Mustang head coach Jim Rickard said the heat may have taken its toll on the Pioneers, saying, “They were a solid team that had a hard time with the elements today. Limited subs proved to be too much for them.”
Tembo quickly put the heat on the Pioneers, settling a rebound that Mahowa ricocheted off UAV keeper Jorge Madera and putting it between the posts just 1:03 into the match. It was the sophomore’s second goal of the season.
The Mustangs clung to that 1-0 lead over the next 17 minutes before UAV’s Homer Flores took a cross from teammate Emerson Roque and shot it past TMU goalie Casey Phillips at the 18:19 mark to even the match.
A little less than eight minutes later (26:07), Tembo went back to work with the help of teammate Lloyd Virgill. Controlling the ball on the right side of the field, Virgill found a streaking Tembo down the sideline and then watched the Lilongwe, Malawi native find the net with a scorching shot to the far post.
Tembo’s second goal of the half snapped the tie and proved to be the game-winner as the Mustangs led the rest of the way.
The Mustangs took that 2-1 lead into halftime and then just four minutes (49:16) into the second stanza, they doubled their advantage. This time it was Mahowa’s turn as the All-American junior used his head to give the Mustangs a two-goal edge. Senior Zach Klindworth, who has made it a habit to find open teammates over the past three years, delivered a precise cross from the left side to the middle where an onrushing Mahowa headed it past Madera for a 3-1 advantage.
The lead grew to three goals in the 51st minute (50:39) when Tembo completed a career day with his third score of the afternoon off a pass from freshman Luis Garcia-Sosa.
Rickard praised the production of Tembo and Mahowa, commenting, “I’m proud that Benjamin scored three beautiful goals today for his first collegiate hat trick and Humphrey added two more for a Malawi (Africa) sweep.”
Mahowa’s second goal of the match and his third of the season came in remarkable, unassisted fashion when he niftily navigated along the end line against a Pioneer opponent and right-footed it past Madera in the 66th minute (65:21) to complete the club’s scoring.
The Pioneers, who were outshot 15-6 overall and 10-4 in shots on goal, scored a meaningless goal with 4:56 left to play to round out the match’s scoring.
In concluding remarks following the match, Rickard said, “It was nice to have a bounce-back game (after losing to Carroll of Montana last Saturday). Everyone got valuable time and it was exciting to see the team work and get quality finishes.”
Rickard and his team are hoping for more of the same on Thursday when they welcome Whittier College to Reese Field for a 4 p.m. start.