Even Dorothy knew the importance of home when she coined her iconic phrase 77 years ago.
Saturday afternoon in Orange County another home was on the line when The Master’s University men’s soccer team took on Vanguard in the GSAC regular-season finale for both squads. To the winner would go a home game in the first round of the GSAC Tournament that starts next weekend while the loser would go on the road.
In a game with so much at stake, it was only appropriate that one goal would make the difference. And that goal was scored by Vanguard’s Juan Arellano in the 57th minute (56:44) to give the Lions a 1-0 lead that translated into a victory.
The loss dropped the Mustangs (10-6-2, 5-4-1 GSAC) into fifth place, a finish that puts them on the road next Saturday at Hope International.
Following the match, Mustang head coach Jim Rickard commented, “We let a chance at a home playoff game slip away today. These were two skilled teams going at each other for an entertaining game.”
The Mustangs had chances to change the venue for next week’s conference tournament opener, however, they couldn’t convert the five shots they put on goal. Four of those came in the first half when Lion goalie Brandon Gomez saved each one. Mustang goalie Kyle Cunningham faced half that many in the opening stanza and turned back both as the clubs went to halftime locked in a scoreless tie.
That changed at the 11:44 mark of the second half when Arellano fired one past Cunningham from 18 yards out. The Mustangs had one last chance on their only shot on goal in the final stanza when sophomore Benjamin Tembo booted one toward the net with 6:17 left to play. However, Gomez stopped it and the Mustangs didn’t attempt a shot the rest of the way.
The Mustangs finished with a 5-4 advantage in shots on goal. Cunningham, who fell to 6-4-2, recorded three saves.
When the Mustangs take on Hope International next Saturday at 2:00pm, it will be the second time they’ve met in 2016. The first time was on October when the clubs played to a double-overtime, 2-2 tie on Reese Field.
Looking ahead to next Saturday, Rickard said, “We’re focusing now on that game. This team (TMU) has a lot of skill and talented players. We are just missing that one moment of brilliance to put the game in our hands.”
The Master’s University women’s soccer team got bad news and good news after Saturday’s match against Vanguard University.
The Bad News: TMU fell to No. 9 Vanguard University 2-1 in its 2016 regular-season finale. The loss moved the Lady Mustangs’ record to 8-6-4 (4-4-2 GSAC), while newly-crowned conference champion Vanguard improved its record to 14-3 (9-1 GSAC).
The Lady Mustangs got on the board first when Hannah Bahr (Santa Clarita, CA) scored off an assist from Sydney Robinson (Ontario, CA) at the 31:32 mark.
Shortly after halftime (52:22), Vanguard tied the match when Madison Lopp scored on a free kick. At the 79:40 mark, Vanguard’s Hayley Gonzalez connected on an assist from Erica Wadell, putting the match on ice at 2-1.
Statistically, TMU’s Lynnae George (Mill Creek, WA), Hailey Gomillion (Lancaster, CA), and Whitney Gomillion (Lancaster, CA) each posted two shots. Lady Mustang goalkeeper Jessica Zubia (Bakersfield, CA) recorded nine saves. Both teams posted eight shots in the first half, but the Lions ended up outshooting TMU 21-10 by the end of the match.
“We had a really good first half as we stuck to our plan,” commented TMU head coach Curtis Lewis. “We had a great work rate and effort from our girls. There was fantastic build up to Hannah’s goal. Unfortunately, being a young team, we just mentally checked out for the second half. Everything that we did the in first half, we seemed to want to do the opposite in the second half, and Vanguard punished us for it. Credit to Vanguard for coming out and really seizing the day for their GSAC regular season title. Today showed that we can play, but we have to stick to the plans that have been set and understand how to play a full match.”
The Good News: Earlier in the day, Hope International University beat Menlo College 1-0 in Atherton, giving the Lady Mustangs the No. 4 seed for the upcoming GSAC Soccer Tournament. Next Friday, TMU will host the HIU Royals at 2:00 p.m.
“We are excited to be able to get another home match, but we must be very careful with a hot HIU team that is riding a win streak,” further remarked Lewis. “If we play our soccer together as a unit, I think we will have a good day on Friday. The question that always remains for is “What team of ours will show up?” We will see on Friday.”
The fifth-seeded Royals enter next Friday’s with an overall record of 9-6-2 and conference record of 4-5-1. The last time the two teams met was on Tuesday, October 11, and resulted with a 2-1 victory for the Lady Mustangs.