MEN (TMU 3, Menlo 0)
It was only appropriate on a day The Master’s University seniors were honored for their career contributions that two of them fueled a 3-0 shutout of 20th-ranked Menlo.
Christopher Logan converted a penalty kick less than three minutes into play and Kyle Cunningham notched a shutout as the Mustangs won their third in a row to create a three-way logjam (Menlo, Westmont and TMU with 16 points) for second place in the GSAC behind front-running Hope International (17 points). The Mustangs are 5-2-1 in conference play and 10-4-2 overall.
Calling it “the first real complete game we’ve played all year,” 26th-year head coach Jim Rickard “emphasized coming out strong.”
That’s exactly what the Mustangs did. Following a Menlo yellow card, Logan lined up his penalty kick at the 18-yard line and put it into the lower left side of the net at the 2:28 mark to give the Mustangs a lead they would never relinquish. The goal was Logan’s career-high fifth of the year.
The Oaks challenged that a little over six minutes later (9:08) but Cunningham stopped an Eli Bunton shot to preserve the Mustangs’ one-goal edge.
Then, in the 14th minute (13:47), the Mustangs doubled their advantage when sophomore Benjamin Tembo, taking a pass from senior Zach Klindworth, put one past Menlo keeper Nathan Bachand from 10 yards out. Tembo’s score was his ninth of the season, the second-best mark on the squad behind Humphrey Mahowa.
Meanwhile, Klindworth’s assist was his tenth of the season, tying a career-high and keeping him at the top of the conference in that category. It was also the 35th of his career, good for ninth all-time.
Cunningham, who ran his record to 6-2-2 with his second shutout of the season, kept the Oaks off the scoreboard again in the 36th minute (35:05) when he turned back another Bunton shot.
Just over three minutes later (39:43), the Mustangs expanded the lead to 3-0 when Mahowa took advantage of a drive by Luis Garcia-Sosa, taking a pass from the freshman and booting it past Bachand for the game’s final score. It was Mahowa’s career-high 14th goal of the season.
The Mustangs finished the first half with a 4-2 edge in shots on goal.
They would add three more in the second half. However, Bachand was up to the task in stopping all of them. Cunningham was equally stingy at the other end of the field, notching two more saves over the final 45 minutes to give him four for the match.
The senior keeper was aided by a strong team defense that Rickard called “tremendous.”
The Mustangs’ late-season rush now has them in a position to challenge for the GSAC regular-season crown that would guarantee home-field advantage through the conference tournament that begins on November 5.
Getting there will be an arduous task for the club which hosts Westmont next Wednesday before closing out the regular season at Vanguard next Saturday.
WOMEN (Menlo 2, TMU 0)
The Master’s University women’s soccer team’s three-match winning streak was snapped Saturday afternoon as Menlo College beat the Lady Mustangs 2-0 on Reese Field.
With the loss, TMU’s 2016 record moved to 8-5-3 and 4-3-1 in Golden State Athletic conference play. Menlo’s record improved to 8-5-2 (3-4-1 GSAC).
Before Saturday’s match began, The Master’s University Athletic Department recognized the Lady Mustangs’ four seniors (Stephanie Albright, Jessica Zubia, Kinley Kane, and Whitney Gomollion) and the contributions they have made for TMU both on and off the field.
After a scoreless first half where TMU outshot the Oaks 5-2, Menlo’s Sydney Richardson-Gorksi bested Jessica Zubia, TMU’s goalkeeper, by connecting on an assist from Danielle McCarthy at the 46:24 mark.
11 minutes later (57:11), Menlo extended its advantage to 2-0 when McCarthy scored an unassisted goal from inside the box.
Despite outshooting Menlo 9-3 in the second half, the Lady Mustangs were unable to get on the scoreboard for the rest of the match, resulting in their fourth shutout loss of the season.
TMU’s Lynnae George, Victoria Gama, and Hannah Bahr each fired three shots. Zubia recorded one save. Collectively TMU outshot the Oaks 14-5.
Commenting on the match, TMU’s head coach Curtis Lewis said, “Credit to Menlo for being clinical on their five shots and two goals. They have a good keeper who was able to withstand our pressure, and we need to learn how to give more pressure on a team with a keeper like that. We were unable to really test their keeper, as our shooting and final touch was just a bit off today. We will fix those things and get another chance to see how we adjust against Westmont. I was proud of our work ethic and proud of how we were able to honor our seniors before the game.”
On Tuesday, the Lady Mustangs will compete in their final regular-season home match when they host No. 11 Westmont College (14-2-1, 7-2 GSAC) at 3:00 p.m. on Reese Field.