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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 4:24 pm | Fair 63º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Westmont Can’t Hold Off Marymount, Falls in NAIA Men’s Soccer Opener

Westmont struck first, but Marymount responded with three goals and defeated the Warriors 3-1 in an opening-round game of the NAIA National Tournament on Saturday in Torrance, 

It only took the Warriors seven minutes to kick off the scoring. Jeremiah Anderson headed a ball to Augie Andrade, who had gotten through the defense. Andrade was one-on-one with Marymount’s keeper Ramon Garcia and slipped the ball under Garcia’s left hand for an early 1-0 advantage. 

“In some ways, the early goal maybe woke them up," Westmont coach Dave Wolf said. "Then they blitzed us. I think that their physicality, size, and talent overwhelmed us for a period of time. We definitely wobbled. We conceded two goals quickly and had a spell of about 10 or 12 minutes where we couldn’t answer them at all.”

Marymount hit a ball off the crossbar in the 23rd minute before tying the match in the 29th minute on a free kick just outside of the box. The free kick sent Westmont keeper Lalo Delgado diving to his right and making a save. The ball was deflected into the air and Enrique Amador followed with a header and sent the ball to the back right corner of the net to equal the score at one.

Just over two minutes later, the Mariners scored again. A ball was sent to the right side for Tristan Wehner. He then whipped in a cross, finding the head of Josep Morego who sent the ball past Delgado for a  2-1 lead.

Westmont had a few chances early in the second half to equalize, none bigger than when Anderson caught a defender sleeping on a back pass. Anderson sprinted past the defender and met the ball before it got to the keeper and slid, attempting to slip the ball in the goal. But Garcia made a terrific save .

“I think the back pass that Jerry almost got to was probably our opportunity. He did great to get to that ball, and their keeper did really well to keep that out. That was a very critical moment,” said Wolf.

The Mariners added on to their lead in the 73rd minute. They had a crisp passing play that finished with Barak Moshe assisting Amador for his second goal of the evening.

This is the first time since 2008 that Westmont has played in an NAIA National Championship game. It is also the first time since the same year that the Warriors have won the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. 

“I told them before the game that regardless of how things went today it wouldn’t change the way that I feel about them, the year they’ve had, and in some cases the careers they’ve had," Wolf said of his team. "I think they’ve been terrific this year. It’s been awhile since we’ve been in a national tournament. When you haven’t been to one in a while,  getting back is hard. It takes a special team to break through. These guys will be remembered as the team that did that.”

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