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Westmont Men Beat Menlo on Penalty Kick in 2nd Overtime

Jeremiah Anderson converted a penalty kick for the golden goal in the 106th minute, lifting Westmont  to a 2-1 double overtime Golden State Athletic Conference victory over Menlo (7-7-2, 3-5-1) on Saturday in Atherton.

Playing against a Menlo team that lost two players in the first overtime, Anderson dribbled the ball across top of the box and was fouled by Fernando Menera who was issued the Oaks' fourth yellow card of the game. That set up the penalty kick. Anderson fired into the left side of the goal as Menloza guessed the opposite direction, resulting in the game winner.

"The team good a job of persevering, something this whole season could be defined by," said Westmont assistant coach Johnny Whallon. "Our experience from the game we had against Master's was important today, being down and getting level."

Fouls and cards turned out to story of the game as Menlo picked up two red cards in the first overtime period. A foul in box by the Oaks in the second overtime provided the PK opportunity.

Westmont (8-3-3, 7-2 GSAC) controlled the pace of the game in the first half, outshooting Menlo 9-4 and placing five of the shots on target compared to just one for the Oaks. 

"I thought we were outstanding in the first half," assessed Whallon. "We struggled against Menlo in the first game this season. We played a much more balanced style of soccer than we did the first time. We were just unlucky not to score"

In the 75th minutes, Westmont clearance of a cross from Menlo's Franco Varga went in the net to give the Oaks a 1-0 advantage.

The Warriors equalized in the 86th minute. Gabe Thurner took a free kick from the left side and sent it across the face of the goal where Jose Vasquez flicked the ball on with his head. Blake Homan, who had been summoned from his defensive position for the free kick, footed it home past Mendoza.

"Blake did a good job of getting in on frame," said Whallon. "Those aren't easy to put in with that kind of pressure on you."

Just over two minutes into the first overtime, Varga was issued his second yellow card of the game, resulting in his disqualification. Two minutes later, Ryan Branigan was issued a straight red after committing a hard foul on Thurner just outside the box on the right side.

Down, two men, Menlo removed its strikers from the game and favor of defensive players in hopes of keeping the game tied at one. While the Oaks were successful in forcing a second overtime period, the Warriors' superior numbers eventually won out.

"We had a couple of near chances a minute or two before that," said Whallon. "Jonah Romero got hold of one and just missed wide. The build-up to Jonah's shot was really good and that gave us confidence on the next play we were able to move it from side to side again. Then Jeremiah settled the ball, drove into the middle, held the ball well and got fouled."

As a result of the win, Westmont has clinched a bye in the first round of the GSAC Tournament and no worse than a tie for second place. With a win or tie at The Master's next week in the regular season finale, Westmont will hold second place outright.

The GSAC Tournament quarterfinals will be held next Saturday, November 4, with the No. 3 seed hosting the No. 6 seed and the fourth seed hosting No. 5.

The semifinals are scheduled for Thursday, November 9 and will be hosted by Westmont. Top-seeded Vanguard will take on the winner of the third/sixth seed game at 11:00 a.m. Westmont will then play the winner of the fourth/fifth seed game beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Westmont will host the championship game on Saturday, November 11 at 2 p.m.

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