Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
PASADENA, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Soccer team suffered their toughest loss on the season Saturday falling 3-2 in OT to Caltech.
The Poets needed a win in order to finish 5th in the final Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) standings. They were coming off a 2-1 overtime victory against Pomona-Pitzer and looked like they were going to win their second straight leading 2-0 at the break but couldn't hold on as the Beavers came back to pull off the stunner.
The last time the Poets lost to Caltech was back on October 20, 2007 in a 1-0 OT loss.
Whittier now finishes in a tie for 7th with the University of La Verne in the final SCIAC Standings. They finish 2018 6-10, 5-9 SCIAC and lost four of their last five.
The Purple & Gold scored both of their goals within three minutes of each other in the first half. The first coming from Matteo Loi (Kirkland, WA) in the 23rd minute who centered a ball from back post off a feed from RayRay Roberson (Albuquerque, NM) before finishing with a volley. Soon after in the 26th minute, Gonzalo Martinez Zorzi (Necochea, Argentina) connected for his first of his career converting a volley back post off a free kick from Devin O'Donnell (Anthem, AZ).
Starting off the second half, Caltech came out firing and they cut the deficit in half quickly from Kevin Yu who took a deep strike from straightaway connecting to the upper left corner of the goal.
Twenty two minutes later the Beavers found the equalizer this time from Samir Johnson who converted a PK after getting taken down in the box. Whittier looked to go back on top on their next possession with Daniel Sandoval (Yorba Linda, Calif.) taking a strike, but his shot would end up hitting the crossbar keeping the game tied. Freshman Hayden Barnouw (Seattle, WA) then got into the mix and had a great look on frame in the 77th minute but his header would be denied by Beaver keeper Joe Como.
Over the final five minutes, Whittier had three opportunities for the game-winner. The first off a corner kick, which found the head of Scott Clark (Foothill Ranch, Calif.) back post, which was saved by Como. The next two coming from Devin De Leon-Dowd (Santa Fe, NM) and Luis Espitia (Paramount, Calif.) who both were denied forcing OT.
In the first session of overtime, Caltech got the opening shot coming from Johnson, which ended up high. Roberson came down on the Poets next possession and got off a great look but his shot would be turned away by Como. The very next minute, Caltech would provide the golden goal coming from Chad Thut. Theo Yang took the ball following a Caltech corner kick and dribbled through three defenders, drawing Poet keeper Teddy Nickerson' (Seattle, WA) attention to the right side of the field, while positioning Thut onside over to the left to hammer home the golden goal from point blank range.
Whittier outshot Caltech 22-13 and held the 5-4 advantage on corner kicks. Nickerson played all 96:34 and finished with six saves. On offense, Loi got off three shots and seven other Poets got off two each.
The Poets played 16 games on the season totaling 21 goals averaging 1.31 goals per game and a .077 shot percentage. They averaged 16.9 shots per game and allowed a 1.56 goals against average.