SANTA BARBARA — When Master’s and Westmont College get together in men’s soccer, fans know to splash on a little extra sunscreen and push off postgame plans to late evening.
Overtime, of late, is all but a sure thing. And the two schools needed more than 90 minutes again Saturday to settle a Golden State Athletic Conference showdown in Santa Barbara.
The Mustangs led early, Westmont tied it late, and Yazi Hernandez scored a golden goal six minutes into a second overtime to break a deadlock on the scoreboard and in the conference standings.
Master’s and Westmont — part of a three-way tie behind first-place Vanguard entering Saturday — have gone to overtime four times in the teams’ last six meetings. The Warriors (6-3-3, 5-2 in GSAC) have won the last four matchups, highlighted by a 1-0 overtime win in the conference semifinals last year.
It was the Mustangs (9-4-2, 4-3), though, who took a one-goal lead early Saturday, when Daniel Smith one-timed the ball into the back of the net ten minutes before halftime.
“Someone deflected it, it was in the air and I just volleyed it in,” Smith said.
That was the extent of the scoring for the next 52 minutes. Had it not been for a trio of athletic saves by Lalo Delgado, the Mustangs might have led 4-0 at the break. Instead, Master’s clung to a 1-0 advantage into the 88th minute.
By then, goalkeeper Casey Phillips had left the game after colliding with a Westmont attacker. Brayden Campos, who scored the Mustangs’ golden goal last week against Hope International, shed his No. 12 in favor of a gold No. 95 jersey and settled in between the pipes.
He went mostly untested.
But then, with less than three minutes to play, the Mustangs’ Achilles’ heel struck again: Master’s committed a foul just outside the 18-yard box.
“Westmont has big trees who can head it in, and it puts us under pressure,” said Master’s coach Jim Rickard.
Warrior Jeremiah Anderson didn’t need anyone to redirect his free kick. He booted the ball inside the far post from 20 yards out.
Westmont couldn’t capitalize on the momentum and nearly played the Mustangs to a tie. That is until the sixth minute of the second overtime when Master’s committed another foul, this one around midfield.
Zach Godeck launched the ensuing free kick deep into the Mustangs’ box, and Blake Homan headed a cross. Hernandez finished it, sending Warrior players sprinting onto the field in celebration.
On the other side of the field, Mustang Dylan Bielanski communicated one consolation.
“We get them at our place,” he said.
The Mustangs host Westmont in the regular season finale on Oct. 28. In the meantime, Master’s will travel to the Bay Area to take on William Jessup and Menlo.
“We have to win those or we’re going to drop,” Smith said.
Here’s the box score.