Tara Aalem sure chose the right time for her first collegiate goal.
The junior defender took advantage of a failed clearance by San Diego Christian 3:10 into overtime and booted the ball into the net to give The Master’s University a much-needed 1-0 victory over the host Hawks Saturday afternoon.
The win snapped a two-game, GSAC losing skid for the Mustangs and gave them their first conference win (1-2 GSAC, 5-4-2 overall) of the 2016 campaign.
Aalem’s winning shot, which got past San Diego Christian goalie Shelbi Horner, capped off a somewhat frustrating afternoon for the Mustang offense which outshot the Hawks 11-4, including a 3-0 advantage in shots on goal.
Complimenting Aalem following the match, Mustang head coach Curtis Lewis said, “It was fun to see a defender grab the game-winning goal.”
Two of those shots came in the first eight minutes of play as Horner turned back one by TMU’s Michaela Rickard at the 2:16 mark and another by Stephanie Albright at 7:33.
After that, the defenses took over. If the Mustang offense struggled, the defense flourished, holding an opponent without a shot on goal for the first time this season. Mustang keeper Jessica Zubia was the direct beneficiary of the excellent play of those in front of her, improving to 5-4-2.
In the aftermath of the victory, Lewis said, “It was really important for us to get some points today. I felt we came out in the second half and did a good job of creating opportunities against a very physical side.”
Lewis and the Mustangs will rejoice in this victory and then get ready to play William Jessup in Rocklin next Saturday.
It took awhile but The Master’s University made the most of its scoring chances in the second half Saturday afternoon and went on to beat San Diego Christian 3-0.
The victory was a nice bounce-back from Wednesday’s loss at Biola and moved the Mustangs (7-3-1, 2-1 GSAC) into a three-way (Biola and Westmont) logjam for second place in the GSAC.
The win led Mustang head coach Jim Rickard to say, “We’re relieved to get a nice win and a shutout at a tough place to play.”
Following a first half that featured no shots on goal (although they owned a 6-2 edge in total shots), the Mustangs went off in the second stanza. The onslaught started innocently when Hawk goalie Josh Epstein stopped a Zach Klindworth shot at the 47:21 mark and a Humphrey Mahowa attempt was turned back by a team save at 53:52.
However, less than five minutes later (58:18) there was no stopping Christopher Logan, who put one past Epstein for a 1-0 lead. Logan’s third goal of the season was assisted by Jonathan Brown.
The Mustangs had several more opportunities to create some space over the next twenty minutes but that slightest of leads held fast until the 84th minute (83:14) when Benjamin Tembo, off an assist from Trevor Mangan, shoved his seventh goal of the year by Epstein for some much-needed insurance.
Then, the Mustangs put the match out of reach just over four minutes later (87:21) as Joseph Hess, taking a feed from Lloyd Virgill, put his third career goal past Epstein for the last score of the afternoon.
From then on, it was just a matter of finishing out the shutout for Casey Phillips (4-2). Making his first start since September 16, the junior goalie notched three saves en route to his third blanking of the year.
Before the three-hour ride back home, Rickard recognized his team’s gutsy performance, saying, “I’m proud of the guys to keep focused and to keep grinding even when things weren’t going our way.”
Winners of four of their past five, the Mustangs stay on the road next Saturday, traveling to Rocklin to take on William Jessup.