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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 8:38 pm | Fair 44º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Westmont Can’t Score in Loss at Hope

A day trip to Fullerton for Westmont Men's Soccer (3-3, 0-1 GSAC) ended in a less than desirable result. The Warriors suffered a 2-0 loss to Hope International (6-0-2, 1-0) in the first Golden State Athletic Conference game of the year.  Both goals came off of set pieces.

"Today was a game that is typical of soccer in which you can do a lot of things right and still not win," said Westmont assistant coach Johnny Whallon. "It's frustrating because we are disappointed with the result, but at the same time there are things we did really well on the field. Finding the final piece - putting the ball in the back of the net - is the one thing we didn't have and we paid for it."

Before three minutes expired from the clock, the Warriors found themselves in a 1-0 hole. A shot by the Royals' Cesar Cruz-Martinez resulted in a call of a handball in the box against the Warriors and a penalty kick awarded to Hope. Cruz-Martinez took the PK and beat Westmont goalkeeper Spencer Petty on the right side.

"The game started off on a tough note to get the hand-ball call," noted Whallon. "That is just the way the ball bounces. It puts you behind early and it is a different game from that moment on."

The score remained unchanged until the 41st minute when Cruz-Martinez scored once more. This time, Cruz-Martinez struck from 40 yard out on a free kick. The ball glanced off Petty's fingertips before landing in the top left corner of the net.

"I thought we played great the rest of the half, and then (Cruz-Martinez) hits a top notch free kick and that was the difference. Other than those two moments, I thought we carried the day. But, soccer unfortunately is a sport in which that doesn't mean you actually win."

The Warriors outshot the Royals 14-10 with each team putting six shots on target. However, Royals goalkeeper Ryan Brown kept Westmont off the scoreboard and earned the shutout. Westmont also held a 6-1 corner kick advantage.

"I thought we moved the ball really well, our spacing was really good, our central midfielders did a really good job spreading out the ball," said Whallon. "The piece that was missing was technical quality in the final third. Our serving wasn't very good and our finishing wasn't very good.

The loss is the first this year for the Warriors against an NAIA opponent.

Westmont will have a chance to even their conference record on Saturday when they take on the Hawks of San Diego Christian (5-3, 0-0) at Thorrington Field.

"This is a group that we have a lot of confidence will respond to this," said Whallon. "We are excited about Saturday. We think this is a group that will be fun to watch as the season progressive. We are just going to keep working through some of the kinks now, but we think this group has a lot of potential."    

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