Prime-time players come through when games and seasons are on the line.
Humphrey Mahowa is one of those players. The two-time All-American, sensing a must-win game getting away from his team, scored two crucial goals in the second half to lead The Master’s University past William Jessup 2-1 Thursday afternoon on Reese Field.
The victory improved the Mustangs to 9-4-2 overall and 4-2-1 (13 points) in the GSAC where they hold sole possession of fourth place after leapfrogging Biola (12 points). With three matches remaining in the regular season, the Mustangs hold the inside track on hosting a first-round GSAC Tournament game in early November.
Mahowa got them there, it just took some time. The Warriors, breathing down the neck of the Mustangs in the GSAC standings (a win would have tied them with TMU), struck first in the 31st minute (30:54) when Alexander Thompson beat TMU goalie Kyle Cunningham in unassisted fashion.
That was one of three shots the Warriors put on goal during the opening 45 minutes with Cunningham saving the other two. Meanwhile, the Mustangs managed just two shots total (the Warriors had seven) in the first half, one of those on goal by Luis Garcia-Sosa at the 26:12 mark that was turned back by Warrior keeper Robert Harmelink.
In the first 12 minutes of the second half, Mahowa (56:47) and teammate Benjamin Tembo (57:22) attempted shots that went high and wide left, respectively.
Then, Mahowa found the range. Awarded a corner kick, the Mustangs turned to Garcia-Sosa, who promptly placed his left-footed corner right where Mahowa had a chance to capitalize. And, that’s exactly what the junior from Malawi did, beating Harmelink at 60:12 to even the match. It was Mahowa’s team-high 12th goal of the season.
The Mustangs continued to pound away at the Warrior net over the next 20 minutes with Mahowa and Tembo just missing on a number of occasions. One of those off the foot of Tembo was saved by Harmelink at 75:50.
Just over six minutes later, Mahowa didn’t miss. Taking a cross from Zach Klindworth, Mahowa put it by Harmelink in the 83rd minute (82:21) for what turned out to be his fourth game-winning shot of the campaign. Mahowa’s 13th goal equaled a career-high set in 2014 and his 30 points this year mark a career-best.
Following the match, Mustang head coach Rickard described Mahowa’s goal this way: “The game-winning goal was a fantastic sequence. Brandon (Davy) hit a ball to Zach (Klindworth), who used great acceleration to get past his defender. A perfectly-timed run and cross to an exquisite finish from Humphrey.”
The assist was Klindworth’s team- and GSAC-high ninth of the season, one off his career-high established two years ago. His 34 career assists put him at No. 10 on the program’s all-time list.
Mahowa’s goal was all the Mustangs needed with the Warriors failing to register a shot the rest of the way.
Now, 6-1-1 at home this season, the Mustangs go looking for another win on their home turf this Saturday when first-place Menlo (tied with Westmont) visits Placerita Canyon for a pivotal GSAC match. A win would tie the Mustangs with the Oaks. Kick-off is slated for 1:30pm.
Looking back at the win and ahead to the final week of the regular season, Rickard said, “We’ve had a hard time with Jessup this year (losing 2-1 in double overtime at Jessup on October 8) and today was no different. Hopefully this game gives us momentum for a strong conference finish.”