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Soccer

Westmont Books a Spot in GSAC Soccer Final With 3-1 Win Over Master’s

Augie Andrade of Westmont wins a head ball against a Master’s player during the GSAC Tournament semifinals. Westmont won 3-1. Click to view larger
Augie Andrade of Westmont wins a head ball against a Master’s player during the GSAC Tournament semifinals. Westmont won 3-1. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)
Augie Andrade of Westmont wins a head ball against a Master’s player during the GSAC Tournament semifinals. Westmont won 3-1. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Westmont put together two nice scoring plays in the first half and went on to defeat The Master's 3-1 in a semifinal game of the Golden State Athletic Conference men's soccer tournament on Thursday at Thorrington Field.

The result advances the Warriors (9-4-3) to Saturday's championship game against Hope International at 2 p.m.

It only took Westmont nine minutes to get on the scoreboard. Jonathan Romero switched a ball across the field to the speedy Jeremiah Anderson who whipped in a cross to the far post, where Yazi Hernandez made his run. Hernandez one touched the ball past the keeper for a 1-0 lead.

“I was looking for that back run and I knew Gabe (Thurner) was in the middle and if he didn’t get to (Anderson's cross) then I’d be in the back to finish it," Hernandez said. "It was a good run by Jerry and he gave a good cross, and I was lucky to be in the right spot to put it away.”

Francisco "Panchito" Castro made it 2-0 just before halftime. There was a loose ball in the box and a Master's defender slid to clear it away. But he kicked it right to Castro, who fired a shot to the upright corner of the net.

The Master's (12-6-2) struck for a goal in the 53rd minute. Dan Smith fired a shot that was blocked by the Warrior defenders and Trevor Mangan gathered the rebound and ripped a shot through traffic and past Westmont goalkeeper Lalo Delgado to make it a 2-1 game.

The Warriors responded immediately as Tim Heiduk fired a shot destined for the top left corner. But it was punched away by a diving Mustangs' keeper Casey Phillips. 

Panchito Castro of Westmont battles Justin Ikeora of Master’s for possession of the ball. Click to view larger
Panchito Castro of Westmont battles Justin Ikeora of Master’s for possession of the ball. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

“I thought the response after the goal was a little more of what I had in mind prior to the goal being scored," said Westmont coach Dave Wolf.  "In this sport, sometimes it takes a little bit of a jolt to get you where you need to be.”

The Warriors regained a two-goal lead in the 80th minute. Dash Wulterin played a ball out wide to Anderson who passed to Hernandez at the top of the box. Hernandez turned and played a ball softly in front of freshman Jose Vasquez who hit it with his left foot past the keeper for the first goal of his young career, giving Westmont a 3-1 lead.

“That was a good feeling because I’d been trying to get Jose a goal all season," said Hernandez. "Finally I got him that pass and he was able to finish for us and give us the game.” 

Said Wolf: “Yazi’s a senior who’s playing good at the end of his career and doesn’t want it to end. You can really see that and hear it in his tone. He’s intense in all the right ways right now.”

Westmont is set to play Hope International for the GSAC Tournament Championship on Saturday. The Warriors won the only meeting between the two teams by a score of 2-1 in overtime. 

“When we got together for training camp on August 4 in our orientation meeting we said, ‘November 11, somebody is going to lift a trophy on our field. Let’s make sure we give ourselves an opportunity to be that team.’ I give them a lot of credit for reaching that point.”

Said Hernandez: “I don’t want to end my season at home on a loss, so we’re going to give it everything we got and get that championship on Saturday."

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